There are a lot of articles that say, “Which should you pick to use for your business? Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest, etc…” The majority of brands shouldn’t be asking ‘which?’ but focusing on ‘how.’ Most businesses should have a presence on all major social platforms in hopes to reach different markets. If you’re starting your own small business or managing a major brand’s social strategy, don’t choose one social platform over another, learn how to use each best to increase engagement and reach different markets effectively. If there truly is a limit to which platforms your business can commit to, then I hope this post will explain why Pinterest needs to be on that ‘must have’ list.

Pinterest has one of the most unique majority audiences in the social media world: adult women of all ages with a college degree and a high household income. Did you know that women generally have stronger purchasing power than men? An article by Digital Sherpa shares that ‘85% of purchases and purchase influences are made by women.’ Since Pinterest is so well-designed for sales with pins all attached to links, the platform makes it easy for pinners to turn into shoppers, even if they originally didn’t have the intention to buy anything.

Primary Users
– 28% of internet users in US
– Women
– 18-64
– Graduated college
– Household income of $75k+
– Across regions/neighborhoods

It’s been estimated that Pinterest has well over 70 million users. Monthly active users has not been confirmed.

via Pew Research Center

What: Revealing new collections, curating seasonal looks, inspiring customers, and sharing any and every aspect of the brand’s main consumer lifestyle(s).
How: Beautiful images is the focus with good descriptions (text) as support. Links are embedded into Pins so a simple click and it’s easy for pinners to learn more (and shop!) and it’s much more likely that brands reach their goals.
Why: Awareness, sales, and building brand relationships. The best social platform for sales.

Primary Users
– 71% of internet users in US
– Women and men, women a bit more
– Across ages
– Across education
– Across incomes
– Across regions/neighborhoods

Facebook currently shares that it has 1.39 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2014.

via Pew Research Center

Sephora’s Pinterest shoppers are actually 15 percent more valuable than our Facebook leads.” – Sephora’s director of digital business development Johnna Morcus shared.

Sharing seasonal updates, news announcements, commenting back to questions, promotions, events, and contests.
How: Descriptive text is the focus with beautiful images (optional) as support. Paste in a link to add a call to action.
Why: Awareness and building brand relationships. Good for reaching a large audience,

Bloomreach shared on ReadWrite that their 2012 analysis consistently showed that Pinterest has a higher concentration of people who are in that ‘buy’ state of mind, while Facebook users are more interested in interacting with friends and brands. Although this data is a little outdated, it still is significant. Even before Pinterest got as large as it did, it still had the power to attract people with spending in mind or evoke that mindset. Bloomreach’s other findings in that study include:

– Pinterest traffic spent 60% more than did traffic coming from Facebook.
– Pinterest traffic converted to a sale 22% more than Facebook.
– Facebook traffic bounced 90% of the time, compared to 75% for Pinterest.
– Facebook users viewed an average of 1.6 pages. Pinterest users saw an average of 2.9 pages, an 81% difference.

Primary Users
23% of internet users across US
– Women and men, but men a bit more
– 18-29
– College graduates
– Household income of $50k+
– Urban and suburban neighborhoods

Twitter currently shares that it has 284 million monthly active users.

via Pew Research Center

Twitter (and Facebook) were testing ‘Buy’ buttons, but according to a
Bloomberg journalist that spoke with execs, the feature “won’t be introduced widely for now.”

What: Sharing daily updates, holiday ideas, trends, news announcements, promotions, events, answering questions, and Twitter chats.
How: Simple text, hashtags, @ mentions, and links are the focus (all within 140 characters – or less, with photos added as support, which we recommend).
Why: Keeping consumer-brand communication open. Good for sharing products and updates around current trends.

There are more online American adults on Pinterest than on Twitter.

Primary Users
26% of internet users across US
– Women and men, but women more
– 18-29
– College graduates
– Household income of $50k+
– Urban and suburban neighborhoods

Instagram recently announced that they have 300 million monthly active users.

via Pew Research Center

What: Sharing behind-the-scenes photos, showcasing new products and looks, photo styling, celebrity endorsements, showing office culture, and contests.
How: Beautiful photos is the focus with hashtags, short descriptions, and @ mentions as support.
Why: Gives that exclusive feel. Builds brand awareness and consumer-brand relationships. Good for behind-the-scenes shots fans can’t find anywhere else.

Since Instagram is also a platform based on images, it’s the most often compared to Pinterest. The main difference between the two is the lack of action taken by viewers due to links not being clickable. This is not good for sales and makes a call to action much less likely to be acted on by fans. Reposting also isn’t as easy as it should be. When a fan sees something they like on Instagram it’s great, but not being able to share that stops the image’s virality from its full potential, like it probably would on Pinterest.

There are more online American adults on Pinterest than on Instagram.

via Pew Research Center

As you can see in this chart above from a September 2014 study by Pew Research Center, from 2013 to 2014, Facebook saw no significant growth of usership, although the amount of existing users is much larger than the compared social platforms. Linked In, Pinterest, and Instagram all saw big jumps and Twitter wasn’t far behind.

via Pew Research Center

This chart shares how most users are on Facebook and Instagram daily and on Twitter and Pinterest less often. Pinterest is still not as frequently used as some other platforms. By increasing the number of posts you share for your business for those less-used platforms, like Twitter and Pinterest, you’ll be more likely to be seen by followers and potential/current customers. On those daily-used platforms, stick to one or two posts a day so you don’t overwhelm your followers which can lead to unfollows.

Facebook: 1-2x a day
Socialbakers recommends 5-10 posts per week.

Twitter: 3-5x a day
BufferApp recommends three tweets a day.

Instagram: 1-2x a day
Forbes shared that UnionMetrics said the average brand posts 1.5x/day.

Pinterest: 12-25x a day
We’ve seen that 15-25 pins a day results in higher engagement if pins are spaced throughout the day. Try to share a minimum of at least 12 pins a day across categories, with the ideal amount between 15 and 25 pins.

Between 1-4 pm is best (source)

Twitter: All day, but M-Th between 1-3 pm is best (source)

Instagram: Anytime – it varies! According to Iconosquare, HelloSociety should post at 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm, or 9 pm for highest engagement.

Pinterest: Anytime – the Smart Feed changes when (and if) your pins will show. HelloSociety’s research before the Smart Feed showed that the late evening was a good time to post (~8 pm – midnight).

(How long it takes for half of engagement to occur – there are a lot of varying stats on this, but these seemed to be the average estimates)

Facebook: 90 minutes (source)

Twitter: 24 minutes (source)

Instagram: 2.23 hours for comments (source)

Pinterest: 3.5 months (source)

Facebook: Men and women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Twitter: Men and women in their 20s.

Instagram: Men and Women (more-so women) ages 18-29.

Pinterest: Women ages 18 – 64.

(See specifics above)

Facebook: Timeline and Right Column ads: either sponsored posts, link, or account (very common). I haven’t heard of Facebook influencers.

Twitter: Sponsored Tweets, Sponsored Hashtag (Trend), Sponsored ‘Who To Follow’ (very common). Influencers that tweet seem to usually be supporting another sponsorship.

Instagram: Sponsored Instagram posts (fairly rare). Influencers on Instagram is very common.

Pinterest: Sponsored Pins (fairly common) – either in categories, searches, home feed. HelloSociety’s exclusive Pinterest Influencers are collectively the largest voice on Pinterest with an average following of 1.8 million. Several are highly-followed bloggers, creators, moms, and photographers from all over the world.

With Pinterest as the third most-popular social media network, behind Facebook and Twitter, it’s clear that this platform should be included in every major social strategy. It’s one of the most unique and influential social platforms to date. Pinterest not only attracts women with higher incomes, it usually gets them in that ‘shopping’ state of mind where if something grabs their attention, they could buy it on a whim online or let it guide them to the actual store to check out. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are each very important pieces to a perfectly balanced social strategy. It’s all about knowing what to post, when, and how often.

What’s your favorite social platform for your business? What’s your least favorite? Why?

Read more: What is the Difference Between Facebook and Instagram?