Brans are increasingly turning to visual content to engage with their fans on social media. Larger cover photos on Facebook, more pictures on Twitter, and visual specific mediums such as Instagram and Pinterest are the hot trend right now in the social media landscape.

Recent studies have shown that people on social media engage more with pictures and video than just written text. The rapid popularity of Pinterest and Instagram reaffirm that people want to see visual content.

Quick Facts: Pinterest hit 10 million monthly unique users faster than any sight in history. Instagram went from 1 million accounts at the start of 2011 to 27 million in just three months.

In the social media world it might actually be true that “pictures are worth a thousand words”. It makes sense that in today’s fast paced and mobile world, people are drawn to look at a quick picture for a concise yet descriptive depiction of a product or event. Pictures are allowing brands to create a visual story that consumers are drawn to engage with.

Food is one of the biggest and most popular categories on Pinterest, with food connoisseurs being some of the first users of the visual social media site. “These foodies used boards to plan dinner parties, collect holiday baking ideas, and create their own virtual cookbooks.”

On Pinterest, Starbucks’ page is entitled “Starbucks Loves” and consists of seven different boards, 546 total Pins, and 116 Likes. Their boards consist of “Coffee Moments”, “Real Food”, “Coffee DIY”, “The Way I see it”, “Inspiring Spaces”, “Beautiful Objects”, and “Coffee Roots”.

Starbucks uses their Pinterest to not only post pictures of their own products, but to create a brand personality and share with consumers what Starbucks actually “loves”. Whether it’s a recipe or a picture of a bunch of coffee beans, Starbucks shares with others what inspires and interests them, giving fans an intimate look into what the brand stands for.

Dunkin Donuts’ Pinterest consists of 16 Boards, 362 Pins, and 72 Likes. The Boards include: #DDPumpkin Effect, Our WorlDD of Donuts, DD Swag, Creativity Runs on Dunkin, The DD Mothership, Keeps Us Running, All-Day Every day, Cuppy & Donut, Words of WisDDom, Dunkin Offers, Keepin’ It Cool, What Are You Drinkin?, DD Time Capsule, DD’s Around The World, Cooking w/Dunkin’, and Dunkin’ Chicago.

Just like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts uses Pinterest as a vehicle to create a personality for their brand and to get consumers engaged and interested in what the brand has to say. Re-pinning other’s pictures as well as pinning things from various sources makes Dunkin Donuts seem more accessible and more human. They have a specific taste that is represented in their pins.

Unlike Pinterest, Instagram is a medium for people or brands to take and create their own unique pictures and content. By creating interesting scenes and photo opportunities, brands are able to take pictures and then use filters to make each photo special and look “cool”.

On Instagram, Dunkin Donuts currently has 24,000 followers and 88 photos. Starbucks dominates over Dunkin with 871,000 followers and 221 photos. Both brands have implemented Instagram driven campaigns to engage with their followers as well as post pictures of their products (coffee and donuts) in interesting places or unique situations.

When comparing these two brands on Pinterest and Instagram, they are both doing the right things and producing content that is interesting to their fans. I personally follow Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts on both sites and I have to say I thoroughly enjoy looking at both company’s pins and Instagram pictures. By numbers alone, Starbucks is the obvious winner with more followers and both sites.

After reviewing each brand closely I have to pronounce Starbucks as the winner in this battle of coffee brands on visual social media. Although it was an extremely close race, Starbucks beat out Dunkin by a thread. I think their Instagram pictures accurately depict the brand and their pins on Pinterest are stand out and give followers a mixture of interesting things to look at and read about. Even though I chose Starbucks, I still recommend following both brands on Pinterest and Instagram, as they are both exemplary at using these visual sites.