Pinterest or Instagram for Pharmaceutical Marketing? (SPOILER: It's BOTH!)


Yes, it’s true that you’re a busy pharmaceutical communications exec: Why would you add another online channel to your already-loaded pharma marketing toolkit? Especially since Pinterest and Instagram are basically the same: Both are image-driven social media platforms, using visuals in marketing that encourage sharing and engage your target audience.


Pinterest or Instagram for Pharmaceutical MarketingIMG.pngBut that’s where the similarities end. Pinterest and Instagram have distinct purposes and applications, so a better question is: Why would you limit your reach and capabilities by choosing one over the other? Consider the primary function of each…


  • Pinterest: A platform that enables you to curate visual content that you’ve found online and would like to share with your community.


  • Instagram: A platform that enables you to capture visual content that you find engaging and would like to share with your community.


So, it’s curate versus capture. But when you dig a little deeper…


  • A Pinterest user focuses on discovery of other user’s content in common areas of interest. The platform is similar to a search engine that can be customized to seek out specific content, how-to’s, inspiration, and products. A user gathers the content by “pinning” it to their visual idea-board in relevant groups. Pinterest incorporates the classic characteristics of social media, so users can share their boards, follow the boards of others, and comment on content.


  • Instagram users seek to share pictures and videos that they’ve captured from their own mobile device – which they can first enhance by incorporating special effects, applying filters, and adding captions. The content isn’t just shared on the platform; rather, a user can transition Instagram visuals over to Facebook and other social networks.


Now you can see how the distinction between the two is quite profound. You can also understand that different types of messages and images will resonate with users on Pinterest as compared to Instagram – because they’re active on these platforms for entirely different reasons. You can’t optimize engagement, raise brand awareness, and develop a loyal following without understanding which one to use, for what reasons, and when.


When to Use What


Linking: When you pin an image on Pinterest, it will include a link to the source of the content on an external site. If that external site is yours, you drive website traffic every time someone clicks on the pin, increase that traffic potential exponentially every time someone re-pins it, and boost SEO.


When you post an image on Instagram and share it across other social media channels, they’re directed to that content’s individual link. That person isn’t heading to your website, but to the Instagram-generated link and your profile.


  • Linking Advantage: Pinterest


Storytelling: You tell your stories on Pinterest through the stories of others, on the themed boards you create to gather your pins. It’s possible to distribute promotions and hold contests to engage your audience and invite them into your story.


Instagram users are seeking a more personalized experience when they engage with brands on the platform. Because you’re posting content that you create yourself, you can establish a more individual connection between your company and the user. Instagram content is consumable through quick captions, images, and video clips – unique content that communicates information about the products you offer.


  • Storytelling Advantage: Instagram


Target Audience: Woman account for roughly 85 percent of Pinterest users, a figure that represents that largest gender differential on all social networks. When you consider that women are more likely to seek health information online as compared to men (85 and 75 percent, respectively), SEO becomes a factor – making the advantages of Pinterest clear.


Still, Instagram has more active monthly users, at 500 million compared to Pinterest’s 150 million according to 2016 figures. So if it’s breadth you seek with pharma marketing, Instagram may be your best bet.


  • Target Audience Advantage: Too Close to Tell


There’s no clear winner between Pinterest and Instagram, but there is a clear point: You want to use one over the other, depending on your goal. The key is understanding the different users of each platform and why they’re hanging out there.  

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