3 Ways Brands Could Use Instagram & Pinterest to Create Brand Awareness

I have discovered both Instagram and Pinterest Recently. And it seems many others have too as both platforms are inreasing massively in popularity.  Visual.  Fun.  Shareable.  It's no wonder we love them.

Instagram and Pinterest
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Making it Visual - Instagram and Pinterest lead the new movement in Social Media

They are fun. Definitely. But what about the potential for brands using these platforms?  If you ask me, the potential is Huge…..

Instagram and Pinterest are growing daily in popularity.    I for one will be using them with clients and brands (and my own business).

















Pinterest Logo
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Pinterest. Rapidly acquiring a huge following. Viral in Nature. Predicted to be a social media platform to follow.

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Instagram. Microblogging. Fun. Visual. Shareable. What's not to love?

















They are both, at their simplest, visual platforms that allow you to feature photos, graphics, or any visual information in an engaging, shareable way.  If you want to find out more about Instagram, go here.

Here are a few ways that I believe these platforms will provide huge potential for promotions, campaigns and brand awareness. Some are just ideas, and some I have already dabbled with:

1     Feature Content:

If you have particular content about your business that you feature regularly, why not post it as an Instagram photo series or pin on a Pinterest board? Here are some ideas to get you started:

On my Pinterest Account, I have just started a board where we will post all the VisualQuotes that we have designed for our clients. A VisualQuote is an original quote, set on a good quality (and highly engaging) stock photo, or original artwork, with the quote and website included (so that it becomes shareable while increasing brand awareness).   I work with a number of public personalities, authors and speakers, and many of them produce quotes, insights or content that we can easily convert to a VisualQuote and post on Facebook and Twitter.  Pinterest has now allowed another platform where we can display this unique content.  This is an example from Pinterest, but you could do a similar thing on Instagram by taking a cool, filtered photo of your image or content and then reposting it on Instagram with a link and hashtag for the content.   Check it out:

Carren Smith VisualQuote
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Making your content visual and shareable can increase your brand awareness

You can do so much with this – you are only limited by your imagination.

  1. Perhaps set up a Pin Board on Pinterest titled “Our Top 10 Blog Posts”.  Pin Boards can be hyperlinked to your blog posts, and all you have to do is take a quirky instagram photo of the blogpost or even something that represents it (sometimes obscure is great for catching the attention of followers). Better still, feature 10 posts or websites that you love – and link to those websites.  You could then post about it on other platforms.  Give a “hat tip” to influencers in your industry.  Share the love!
  2. Or maybe you could do an Instagram Series with a photo a day of something content related – perhaps a photo of a book that is relevant to your niche, with a comment about why you think your followers should read it (a mini-review).
  3. Or perhaps a series of top tips for your niche with a picture about each tip.  A Personal Trainer could feature tips each day about exercise or nutrition but feature a cool photo on Instagram with a comment about it – this photo can then be reposted on Facebook on Twitter.  Not only are you reaching your usual audiences, but you are now tapping into Instagram as well…a picture captures a thousand words, remember!
  4. Even on a simple level you can use the platform to post about your brand and your culture.  A photo a day of your team, your culture (your mission, your values), your projects, your social events…the ideas are endless!  Again, it can all be repurposed for other platforms.
  5. What about featuring your latest product range – on Pinterest, a picture can be hyperlinked back to the page on your website to buy the product!  Perfect for unique and new release products and services.

Play with it!

2     Micro Blog about your Blog

This one is easy.  You are blogging regularly (if not, then try it!) so why not use a visual platform to highlight your blog?  By all means stick to the usual rules of not “spamming” but, every once in a while, using an Instagram photo to highlight your blog is a good way to go.  I did this by default one day, when I decided to take an instagram photo to feature in my blog, then realised it had posted to my Instagram Account and followers were already liking it!  Rather than leave a random photo up without a description, I decided to make a comment about it being featured on my blog.  A few of my instagram followers went over to read it.  So by all means, let people know on Instagram about your primary blog. And besides, photos are a fun way to feature content.  Instagram is really a “MicroBlog”.  So why not use MicroBlogging to Blog about Your Blog?

Let me show you.  Here is one of the photos I took with Instagram, then “microblogged” about the photo and blog on Instagram (with a link to my blog), then used it on my Blog.  Are you keeping up?

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A Blog Post featuring an Instagram Photo which accompanied a Micro Post about the Blog Post?......Are you keeping up?

On Instagram, I added the following comment below this photo:  My favourite app for getting things done – “Action Method”. I just blogged about it over at www.sociallysorted.com.au….

You can take this further with reposting your Instagram photo to Twitter and Facebook. With Facebook now featuring Instagram Photos in their own album and enhancing their size on your Timeline, do I think that Instagram could be a major social media channel in itself?  Heck yeah!

3     Visual Campaigns (Get them Instagramming and Pinning for you!)

The potential for a campaign or promotion using Instagram or Pinterest is Massive.  On Pinterest you can allow others to post on your boards (by choosing “Me + Contributors” as per the settings below). However, at the moment, the contributors must be “followers” of at least one of your boards and you have to give them permission to do so.  This still has some potential for brands that have the time to connect with their followers. Who knows, perhaps in future Pinterest will be opened up to “free pinning” without censored permission first. Think of the potential!

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The Future? Brands could choose to allow followers to Pin on a Board as a Promotion - Engaging Stuff!

Using Pinterest, the possibilities keep coming and coming:

  1. You could have fans or followers pin on a competition “board” (although currently this is limited by the permission needed to allow others to “pin”).  The submissions could also be made through other avenues such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and the brand could then pin the best ones.
  2. Perhaps a best quote competition or a competition to find your next “tagline” where contributors have to present it in a creative way. Pinterest users not only love photos, but also quotes and inspirational sayings.  Words are very powerful on Pinterest, especially when produced with great graphics.
  3. Or you could use the platform to have an ongoing “I love XYZ C0mpany” board – just to create brand awareness…where your pinning followers can contribute.
  4. Or use it as a feedback platform in words and pictures. Simple, but powerful.  Perhaps a food company could have a competition asking for their next product flavour/type. Perhaps there is a real opportunity here for Pinterest to evolve into working with brands in a more targeted way.  Just sayin'.  And of course all of the above can be tweaked to use with Instagram and linked with any of your current social media platforms.
  5. Please note: Currently Pinterest has the following “etiquette” warning, so this is worth keeping in mind:  Avoid Self Promotion: Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love.  If there is a photo or project you're proud of, pin away.  However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.

What about Instagram?

  1. Use it to have fan photo competition – perhaps featuring your brand or product in an inventive way or featuring your logo or product with photos.  Use hashtags to highlight the competition and have it reposted on Twitter as well.
  2. Or a movie theatre could ask fans to post photos about the new film release or to vote with pictures on a classic/loved film they would like to see featured at the cinema for a one-0ff screening (with the winners as guests of course).  Get the fans to post the photos on Twitter (Twitter and Instagram are friends) with a hashtag so you can track them.
  3. Make it about the fans – have them post something about them that reflects your latest product or service.  If a tea company or tea shop was releasing a new line of tea products, they could have a campaign about “me time” and have fans post a photo of their ideal “me time” – whether it be having  a cup of tea or otherwise.  Fun.
  4. A radio station could have listeners post about the station with a picture of themselves featuring the brand but with a link and hashtag back to the station.

Think of the buzz that could be created en-mass with either platform, especially where links are included to websites and products?  The ideas are endless.  You get my drift?

What about you? Have you used Instagram or Pinterest in an inventive way yet?  Are you using the platforms at all?  If not, are you now interested in doing so?

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc. & Entrepreneur and she is a speaker and trainer on visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.

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