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Twitter vs. Pinterest: The Battle for Better Business Marketing

Twitter vs Pinterest

Working in social media marketing, I’ve been getting two questions a lot lately:

  • What’s the deal with Pinterest?
  • Who actually uses Twitter?

Let’s start with a basic breakdown.

The Deal with Pinterest

Pinterest is a wonderful new-ish social networking/sharing tool that has exploded recently. The idea is that users create themed “pin boards” on various subjects and then pin things to them.


You love making sandwiches, so you create a Sandwiches board. You proceed to post pictures of your creations, recipes you find online, videos of the correct way to place tomatoes, notes on your sandwich cutting philosophies and questions for your ever-growing audience regarding the presence or lack of crusts. If you share the board openly, your followers can contribute all of these things as well, and before you know it, you’ve got a veritable encyclopedic database of sandwich-related goodness.

The site is visually appealing, friendly and versatile. I’ve heard of online business schools and design schools encouraging students to share ad designs and pin what inspires them. I’ve eaten delicious cookies with recipes straight from the site. It’s a great way to get lost in things you love and share what drives you.

SEE ALSO : WTF is Pinterest: Interesting Facts & Figures (Infographic)

Who’s Actually Tweeting

Twitter is an interesting animal. For users of Facebook, I like to describe tweets, the 140-character info-bursts that make up the site, as “those things you thought or did that weren’t quite important enough to post as status updates” (i.e., you might not post a passing irritation about the length of the line at your favorite coffee shop as a status update, but that’s perfect fodder for Twitter). Every social network attracts a different kind of person, and Twitter attracts people with minds on the go. It’s instant; it’s addicting; it’s used to coordinate revolutions, share links and spread irreverent and clever interpretations of daily life.

Down to Business: Twitter vs. Pinterest

With those things in mind, let’s get down to business.

Marketing on Twitter means:

  • Gearing your posts to an audience with a short attention span. This isn’t meant to be insulting to all the tweeters out there; it’s just the truth. You only have 140 characters to capture the attention of your audience. Throw in a link or tag someone and that number goes down. You can’t pontificate. You need to be short and enticing – every time.
  • Embracing the ephemeral. With a constant stream of tweets, things get missed by your audience – constantly – so you have to post several times a day for results.
  • Posting and engaging. On Twitter your followers can retweet, reply, and message you directly to get your attention. Engage with your audience by retweeting clients and authorities in your business’ vertical, responding to replies quickly, and not simply spitting out your own stuff tweet after tweet.

Marketing on Pinterest means:

  • Being visual. The first thing you see when you get on Pinterest is everything. It’s a delight for the eyes. The content that makes it is beautiful, plain and simple.
  • Sharing and caring. Just like with any other social network, you shouldn’t be just one-way posting your own product. For service-based companies, this won’t work anyway – no one will share, pin, or follow a board full of your ads. Post engaging things that your company does or has done; show personality.
  • Allowing creativity. Pinterest is more about nurturing creativity, which is why its visual format works brilliantly. Create a board for customers to post what they’ve done with your products. Show pictures of happy customers attached to glowing reviews. Have contests relating to all of the above.

Brass Tacks – or Rather, Pins: Our Winner

The simple truth of the matter is that Pinterest will work wonders for some companies and flop for others – and the same goes for Twitter. Consider your audience and your brand, and act accordingly.

The more complicated truth is that Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter and it does it with fewer users, so if you’re doing it right, your Pinterest successes could get you further than your Twitter successes. If you’re looking for a completely out-of-context winner, you’ve got it: Pinterest. If you’re looking for a successful marketing strategy, think about who – and where – your clients are.

Guest Author : Karl Fendelander has been plugged in to the newest technology and trends since the nineties. With an eye for design in his educational background from computer schools training, and an ear for language, Karl has created content and managed digital media for startups and established companies alike. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.

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  • I think you make good points about both Twitter and Pinterest, but one comment in particular called for brainstorming — “no one will share, pin, or follow a board full of your ads.” What if we shift the paradigm to a very established company with a reasonably long tail of ads showing the evolution of the brand? A clothing or automotive brand would be great for this, for example — if they were willing to get called on occasional lapses in judgment (like “GQ Regrets”) over the years. Pin the ads showing the changes in styling across decades, and diehard fans of various eras might engage. Another direction could be social collaboration on components of a new ad for a brand: the company creates a pinboard of assets (people, settings, products, etc.) and invites anyone to create their own pinboard based on these options that could ultimately lead to a new ad — engaging all participants with the brand in the process. (I think GUESS did something along these lines recently, for example.) Bottom line may be, even ads — or prospective pieces of them — could succeed on Pinterest if nostalgia or creativity are involved, not to mention numerous supporting tweets, of course. @chrishandzlik:twitter