Are you using Pinterest and Instagram for your business?

Pinterest and Instagram are two of the hottest social networks at the moment, and this is reflected in the huge growth of their market share. Between July 2011 and July 2012 Pinterest’s market share has grown by 1489 percent in the UK, while Instagram has grown by a whopping 2028 percent in the UK over the same time period.

So, is it time to wake up and smell the potential for driving traffic? Well, yes and no. While both sites offer the opportunity to entice a wider audience and grow the reach of your brand, they also offer another unique opportunity, which I think is far more important than making an impact on your Google analytics. Visual brand development. 

What exactly do I mean? It’s all about building an ‘idea’ or ‘lifestyle’ around your brand that will attract your target audience. The following brands are already doing a great job of this:

Nike 

Asos

Starbucks

Starbucks is probably the best of the three examples to illustrate my point. They sell coffee, but through instagram and Pinterest they also sell the young and carefree lifestyle that is attached to being a starbucks slurper.

To do this for your own business, you have to help make the missing link for your customers; why should they have to do all of the work? You have to demonstrate to your audience why someone who is interested in beauty products may also be interested in fitness products; and the missing link is the lifestyle.

Luckily, instagram and pinterest can help you do all of the hard work, as they’re essentially a snapshot of your target customers lifestyle. If used well, you can build another line of communication with your audience and really listen to what they want.

Sounds good! Tell me More!

First off, you have to find your fans. On Pinterest you can find people who are pinning things from your site by typing the following into your browser:

http://www.pinterest.com/source/YOUR DOMAIN

You now have a list of people who make your products part of their lifestyle.

Follow as many of your fans as possible, don’t worry about your follow/ following ratio, as Pinterest and Instagram are all about what you bring to the mix.

In the early stages you should aim to be an observer; follow and comment until you’re comfortable that the content you post will be tied in to your business. When thinking about the lifestyle attached to your brand it can be easy to go off topic, or miss the mark completely.

Follow other brands and look for trends and things they do that are successful. Try to think of ways to adapt these methods for your business.

And finally, share your content far and wide! Just because you posted something on Instagram, it doesn’t mean the fun should stop there, share the fun on Facebook and Twitter to