Edinburgh Web Development

Instagram and Pinterest

Take advantage of more social media

by Iain Wilson

30 August 2013

If you're in Scotland and interested in social media and things Internet, you should check out the New Media Breakfasts, run by fatbuzz.  They have monthly events in Edinburgh and Glasgow and also run them in Lanarkshire and Fife.

I was at the Glasgow New Media Breakfast today and the subject was Instagram and Pinterest.  You may well know of them as photo sharing social media sites.  

I've used both, but not to any real extent, and it was really interesting to hear how these platforms can really be leveraged for business.

Gordon White of fatbuzz took us through them, outlining their distinguishing features and differentiators.  What was a real surprise to me was the extent of how much they are being used.

Here's my take on the key things that came from Gordon's presentation.


instagramGreat for sharing photos 'on the move'.  Instagram was bought for a $1bn by Facebook in 2012 after only being launched two years prior - nice work, boys.

Its value proposition is in its ability to apply styling 'filters' to smartphone/tablet photos that change the photo's look and feel, then quickly upload them to social media.  Judge how popular it is from these two stats:

  • 45 million pictures are uploaded to it every day
  • There are a billion 'likes' of the Instagram pictures each day

Apparently most Instagram pictures are also shared to Facebook - I suppose you need to get some return for a $1bn!  But the sharing has not been restricted to Facebook - you can also send the photos to Twitter, Tumblr and more.

Getting the most out of Instagram is similar to getting most social media platforms working for you.  You've got to 

  • Post interesting content (pictures)
  • Do it often
  • Encourage comments and engage with other Instagram users

In other words, you need to work at it. Once you have enough good content indexed and have worked the Instagram 'room' for a while, your community will grow and hopefully florish.

But there are a few basic techniques you can use to get yourself a fast start.  

  • Make sure your profile description is decent, with enough information to be interesting.
  • Invite all your Facebook friends, Twitter followers etc.
  • On every post, use hashtags liberally (some people use 20-30 tags)

For business, strategies that seem to work to create brand interest are competitions, e.g. requesting people to submit photos to best advertise your new product.  Or just inviting people to take pictures of something they like and including a #hashtag that you promote.  Whether these kind of activities actually generate revenue is up for debate, but 'brand aware' marketeers love them.


pinterestCertainly on the face of it, Pinterest perhaps has more value for business than Instagram.  It's more of photo bookmarking platform that has a permanence to it rather than the instantaneous sharing of Instagram.  

Interestingly, it's also the fastest growing social network ever, reaching 10 million unique monthly visitors last year quicker than any other site.

On Pinterest, you can have your own 'board' pages and 'pin' photos and content to them.   Those 'pins' can be viewed by the public and they can 're-pin' it if they think it is worthwhile - in fact 80% of pins are re-pins.

It's also got a great smartphone/tablet app.

Having your own business pages means that you can focus on product areas or certain aspects of your business.  For example, have a look at the Dean's Shortbread page.  Every post has a link back to their website and this can drive a whole lot of referral traffic.  

If you've got an online e-commerce site, you can use Pinterest to showcase products and drive visitors directly to a 'buy' page.  In fact, Pinterest drives as much e-commerce referral traffic as Twitter and more than Facebook, and the average value is higher.

The guidelines for using it successfully are pretty much the same as the other social media platforms:

  • Good quality content - especially pin headings and descriptions
  • Use hashtags
  • Use good quality photos
  • Re-pin others photos
  • Engage with other users by commenting and 'liking'

Rich Pins
Something recently announced on Pinterest provides a very useful feature; Rich Pins dynamically get information from your own website.  So, you could have a product board which shows off some of your company's products and includes pricing information.  However, the pricing information is actually located on your website, not on Pinterest.  The huge advantage of this is maintainability.  If your price changes, you don't need to go to Pinterest to change it - just change it on your site and Pinterest will be up to date!

Sound interesting?  If you've got products and services that naturally lend themselves to photographs, these platforms could be just what you need!

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