Designer’s social media toolbox: Pinterest or Instagram?

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Social media is a really important marketing tool to build your personal brand. Now, you can take on various tools to do that. I think we can universally agree that social media is a key, core part. Of the many platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram, let’s focus on only Pinterest or Instagram. Now you may ask why? Both can take videos or pictures, but they have different purposes and messaging.

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Key points to consider:

Strategic outcome

Pinterest is a big search engine that has curated content. On the other hand, Instagram is using personal images.

Straight away you need to decide whether you’re after posting curated content that contains images with external links or your personal images with a very personal story. Understanding the difference tells you how to build your personal brand. The is a fundamental step in working towards the building of your strategy. More on that at a later stage!

Audience demographics

As of January 2017, 81% of users are females! On a more moderate difference, 68% of Instagram users are female as of August 2017. That’s quite a big change and something you ought to consider. There are further demographic splits that you can make with 17% of teens saying that Instagram is the most important social media platform. In the end, you need to also consider your audience’s demographics to help you make a better decision.


Storytelling is a core component to your brand. Now, how you want to tell that story depends on the platform you choose. Using Pinterest, you can tell a story with varying, unique boards. In contrast, you create a story with the personal content that you are posting.

I think it’s fair to say that the Instagram story is much easier to build. Easier doesn’t always mean the better option.

SEO Ranking

If one of your core objectives is to improve your SEO ranking, then Pinterest wins hands down. Simply put, the curated content has external links. For example, you can post pics of your artwork with links to your website embedded. It’s a way for someone to look at the content and find out more about it.

In fact, Instagram cannot compete as you can only post a link to an image in your profile. There is no CTA (Call to Action) that you can incorporate. It’s just the way the platform works!


What does value-add mean? Again, that really depends on what your followers want and what’s associated with your brand. Sounds a bit cliche and nonsensical right?

Well, let’s pause for a moment – if you’re after having intimate engagement with your followers, then Instagram is the way to go. In this way you can get in touch with them and they can see this engagement as a value-add for themselves.

On the other hand, what if you created related boards with pins unrelated directly to your products. For example, if you are designing jewellery. You can have your boards with your jewellery pics, your videos of how the jewellery can be worn, and a board about makeup. Reason here is that consumers can get some information about makeup that compliments the jewellery that you are selling. Sure, you’re not in the makeup business but you can enrich and educate your consumers.

In the end, there may be other factors you should consider. I find these the most important ones.

I challenge you to find another key point to help you decide whether to use Pinterest or Instagram.

Key Takeaway: You can create a strong social media presence using Instagram or Pinterest. To create that presence, you should decide the desired outcome you desire – curated content with external links or very personal content and engagement. In addition, you need to also consider specifics – audience characteristics, SEO ranking, storytelling, and value-add associated to your brand. Remember, you should always align the social media platform with your strategic marketing objectives.

Author: Adam E. Badenhorst

Adam E. Badenhorst is a corporate professional and entrepreneur with operations and marketing experience who also writes articles about various topics.