Social Animal Week 4 (Part 1) - Instagram, Pinterest, E-mail Newsletters and Competitions

Frances Brown  Posted by Frances Brown, Nov 11th 2013, 19:33

Hello all!  So far we have talked about the big ones; Twitter, Facebook and blogging, how to decide on your content and how and when it’s best to interact with your audience.  This week we are going to look at Instagram, Pinterest, newsletters and competitions and in a special post here we focus on Nikki McWilliams and how she uses a whole range of social media strategies for her business.

Pinterest and Instagram

We know that having visual content on social media improves its success (see 19 reasons to include visual contentand Pinterest and Instagram are brilliant channels to create and share both creative visual posts but also promote your products and activities.

Pinterest is predominantly used by women in the 18-34 age range followed by the 34-54 age group whereas Instagram has a more balanced male/female usership.  Their main market is also the 18-34 group however their second biggest user group is a younger demographic of 12-17.  Instagram is seen as a more personal medium with greater opportunity for businesses to create a more intimate interaction with their customers whereas Pinterest can be seen as more professional and creatively focussed platform with users sharing tips, ideas and inspiration.  Pinterest users like the platform because you can store your own collections as well as learn from others and interact with businesses.  It is very much a two way platform.

Pinterest is a good option if you have a business based on expertise and knowledge and are not actively selling a physical product.  You can use pins to share knowledge from your network, articles and insights that you find and hint and tips.  Your Pinterest can become a hub that your audience can rely on to find the info they need trusting that you have curated it and picked the most useful articles for them.  See the 5 tips to master Pinterest for business.

Both platforms have been successful in driving sales by linking back to the original site and using micropayment systems (although twitter is clamping down on this at the moment) and apps like Sellfy and Chirpify.  This series is not about sales but if you'd like to investigate it further here are articles on Instagram selling and Pinterest selling

Can't decide which, if either are for you?  This post might help.

And remember…

“...these networks are free to use (well technically Facebook still falls into that category…. for now) but they do take an enormous amount of time to do well and see results. This is especially true of Instagram and Pinterest which require the capture or curation of lots of photographic content.” Converse Digital Post

E-mail Newsletters

Now not technically a social media channel but we think a good compliment to your overall strategy.  It may seem like having a newsletter when you already have a blog and twitter etc. Is overkill but it’s important to think about how people work and how they are driven to your site.  You may promote your blog on Twitter already but when a person is busy it is much easier to miss a tweet than it is to miss an e-mail.  Your business name will have registered with them, even if they delete which we hope they wouldn’t if you are crafting interesting and engaging newsletters.  Similarly those of you with blogs may feel that you already have RSS feeds that your audience will use to have your blogs delivered to them but in reality RSS sign ups tend to be quite low.  

Vijay Nath from Shareholic thinks that the e-mail newsletter is about developing a reliable presence for your customers and building relationships...

“With a some up-front work and a little creativity, an email newsletter can quickly become one of the most valuable tools in making your blog even more successful. Grow your readership then convert those passive visitors into active, raving fans. After all, email is for lovers.” Shareaholic Post

On the other hand Jon Morrow from thinks that you shouldn’t have an email newsletter or an RSS feed but should use e-mail sign ups to direct your customers to the blog.  No repetition of content, using e-mails as leaders to your blog content.  Read the full article here.  

If you are already creating newsletters or are planing to do so.  Make sure you check this 6 email newsletter mistakes

The following video by Derek Halpern presents some interesting stats and realities about using email:


Competitions can be a good way to capture the imagination and the attention of your audience and can come in lots of different form, from ones taking little effort like retweet/like and share competitions to photo or written challenges or quizzes.  Before designing your competition you should be really clear about why you are doing it.  To get more followers, to get e-mail addresses, for an insight into your customers to promote a new product or service.  Read this for tips on running a social media competition. Your reasons for running a competition should be linked to your business and you should be gaining something from the process as well as those entering.  This Infographic has some interesting stats on social media competitions and this blog shows some businesses that have had great success with theirs.

Good Luck!

Now go and see how a small business puts all these ideas into practice... Here