At this point you should not be asking if you should join social media, you should be asking: which social media platform should I use?
There a lot of social media outlets and each one does different tasks and reaches a different audience. For example, Facebook is used more commonly to keep in touch with friends and family. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is used primarily to expand your professional career. Depending on your business, you would approach each network differently. It is the same with Twitter and Pinterest.
Twitter and its 140 characters have been a social media powerhouse since it debuted in July 2006. Over the last eight years, Twitter has accumulated close to 676 million registered users with 115 million monthly active users. Even those who don’t tweet, which is about 40%, are still watching what others tweet.
In April 2010, Twitter announced that it would begin to allow advertising in the form of promoted tweets — “ordinary tweets that businesses and individuals want to highlight to a wider group of users.” Ever since then, Twitter has become a favorite for businesses. With Twitter Business, brands are now able to reach their customers like never before. Whether it’s running a content, announcing a new product or event or used for customer service, Twitter has proven itself as a great asset for marketing.
And then, everything went visual.
Over the last couple of years, social media has been taken over by high quality images. This shouldn’t be all that surprising when 65% to 85% of people describe themselves as visual learners. Maybe social media took notice of that figure. Or, social networks quickly picked up on the fact that people like images. Not only does it grab the attention of viewers, images can also drive the message home quickly. In other words, it’s just good for business.
For a while, Instagram was the dominant image-based social network, but that may have changed over the last year with the impressive growth of Pinterest.
Pinterest launched in March 2010, but 2013 was its break-out year. Pinterest has now racked up 70 million users worldwide – with 125% growth in traffic last year. Even more importantly for business, about 70% of users are on Pinterest to help them make a buying decision. And, with the recent announcement that brands like General Mills, Expedia and Gap are participating in the first ever paid ads on Pinterest, don’t expect this juggernaut to slow down anytime soon.
With That in Mind, Which Platform Should Your Business Use? Pinterest or Twitter?
Well, that depends. We know that sounds like a cop out. But it’s true. It all comes back to your where your audience is going to find your message.
The Perks of Using Pinterest
Pinterest has a lot of momentum right now, but that doesn’t mean your business should be on the network. However, if your business is related to anything involving food, travel, or DIY crafts, Pinterest appears to be the best option. For example, cooking and dining make up 66% of activity on Pinterest. On Twitter, that percentage would be at 42%. While Twitter still fares better than Facebook in this field, it still doesn’t come close to Pinterest’s impressive figures. Pinterest also seems to be the preferred choice when it comes to DIY & crafts, health info and fashion.
However, the biggest advantage to Pinterest is that 83% of its users are women. This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. First, women have a better retention rate than men do, which means that over time they become more active. If your goal is to have an engaging and interactive social media campaign, Pinterest has a ton of potential. Secondly, 81% of women have stated they trust Pinterest as a reliable source for information and advice. If your social media campaign wants to establish loyalty, Pinterest could be a great place to start since trust can lead to brand loyalty.
The Advantages of Twitter
That’s not to say that Twitter doesn’t have some incredible benefits of its own. For example, when it comes to gender, Twitter is almost divided evenly between males and females. Furthermore, Twitter beats out Pinterest for people who live in cities by 20% to 13%. And, when it comes to the tech industry, Twitter is the preferred choice with 44% compared to Pinterest’s 33% and Facebook’s 31%.
But, the most appealing thing about Twitter is it can be used with other social networks, websites and emails. Because Twitter is more passive than most other social media outlets, it can be used to drive traffic from Twitter to more assertive outlets, like Pinterest. That’s a feature other social media outlets do not have. And, that feature is only strengthened by the ability to use Twitter for customer service. Instead of waiting for an email response, people have often tweeted a brand for questions or concerns.
The Cons of Pinterest and Twitter
Both networks have their strong points. But, what are some of the cons for each platform?
Perhaps the biggest con for Pinterest is also it’s most well-known fact; it’s favored by women. While this is a great feature for some businesses, it won’t reach everyone. Pinterest has a niche, although active and dedicated, audience. So, for example, the NFL or NBA would have a difficult time reaching their audience on Pinterest. Instead, those brands could reach their intended audience more directly on Twitter by providing real time information such as stats, scores or game time reminders.
Also, Pinterest doesn’t drive as much traffic as Twitter, but it does generate more leads.
That’s not to say that Twitter is flawless. Because there are millions of tweets flying by everyday, it’s extremely easy for a tweet to get buried. That kind of defeats the purpose of notifying your audience on something of importance. There’s also the spam concerns and the fact that a tweet is limited to only 140 characters. That can be a headache since you’re constantly brainstorming catchy headlines to grab the attention of your viewers.
Hopefully, we’ve demonstrated some of the advantages and disadvantages for both Pinterest and Twitter. Each platform can be a great resource for a business depending on its audience and intentions, which is why we can’t definitively claim one platform is better than the other. However, in a perfect world, you could use both platforms to expand your marketing reach. For example, if you’re hosting an event at your restaurant, you send out a Tweet reminding people of the event, but post all the images from your gathering onto Pinterest. Both platforms ultimately achieve the same goal: bring attention to your brand and drive traffic.
Which platform do you prefer? Pinterest or Twitter?