Pinterest 101: How Does Pinterest Work?

How does Pinterest work? How do I work Pinterest or get it to work for me?

These are some of the many questions I get every day on Facebook, Instagram, etc about Pinterest.

So you’ve probably heard of Pinterest, have used it to get inspiration for your next project, or plan and dream about your life.

But every now and then, you put it on the “it’s just another Social Media” tag.

The first thing I see businesses, coaches, bloggers & freelancers do wrong on Pinterest is to try to work it like Instagram & Facebook– focusing on getting more followers, likes, comments, views, etc.

Pinterest is not social media.

P.s. Check out related and latest posts while you read. 

P.P.s. If you would like to share this post on Pinterest, there are perfect pinnable images at the bottom of the post.

P.P.P.s. This post may contain Affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I earn a little commission if you purchase an item through my link. Please Read my full Disclosure.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a visual SEARCH ENGINE. AKA SEO-powered, Keyword-loving, and Image-obsessed.

Pinterest is a place that people go to plan and dream about their lives. They are looking for ideas.

Pinterest is a giant Pinboard (think old-timey cork board with push pins) for all the ideas and products people like to save.

Of all places people can search for content on the web, Pinterest ranks just behind Google & YouTube. And beyond that, You can use Pinterest to search for and find visual ideas, DIYs, and inspiration for your next project.

This means that as a blogger, business, coach, or freelancer, you can use it to get your content in front of users who are already searching for what you have to offer and are ready to click/buy…

Pinterest has the highest ROI than almost any other channel out there. I have a client that within a few weeks of managing her account, Pinterest has already become her top traffic source and her Kenyan-based blog and digital products are now read and purchased globally…

I’m talking about more traffic being driven by Pinterest than Instagram and Facebook COMBINED!… If you aren’t using Pinterest to drive global traffic to your blog or business website or landing/sales page and increase sales or leads then you are missing a huge opportunity.

But I’m here to help. So, if you are wondering: “how does Pinterest work?” In this post, I will walk you through exactly how Pinterest works and how to use Pinterest to grow your blog’s traffic and get visibility for your business/brand.

How Does Pinterest Work? Pinterest 101

How does Pinterest work?

Although it is often referred to as a social media channel, Pinterest is actually more of a search and discovery engine with a few social aspects.

Bloggers are using Pinterest to get traffic to their blogs. And when they’re intentional about it, they see incredible results! They create images for their content (pins) and upload/share (pin) them to their Pinterest boards (think of categories).

When people are browsing and searching Pinterest and find an idea or content they like, they click on the Pin and go to the site that it came from to read, buy or take whatever action they want to.

Pinners spend hours looking for ideas! But, they’re not JUST hoarding those ideas. The people who use Pinterest are doers and buyers. They try new recipes, experiment with DIY projects, collect money-saving tips, learn about just any topic they are interested in (and this isn’t just cakes and crafts) and plan everything from remodels to purchases and parties.

Pinterest for Dummies.

To be clear, You are not a dummy. But a lot of people use “for dummies” in their search when looking to learn something new.

I don’t want you to feel that way! I want you to be confident and capable on Pinterest – which is why I’m providing this section. To help you understand some terms that are often used when talking about Pinterest.

Pinterest has its own set of words and terminology. To an outsider, the words might seem a bit odd…

The Pinterest dictionary,

  • Pin (n) – an idea on Pinterest; comprised of a video or an image, with a description, and a link back to the image’s source (usually a blog, website, or landing page) online.
  • Pinterest (n) – an online app and website that helps people discover and save things online that interest them.
  • Pinnable (adj) – content that is worth saving to Pinterest, sometimes referenced when best practices are involved, sometimes pinnable is subjective.
  • Pinner (n) – a person who uses Pinterest
  • Save (v) – the act of creating a Pin, this is used when content is saved directly from a website URL or from inside Pinterest on an existing Pin.
  • Repin (n) – a pin that is created from existing Pinterest content, not the Pin URL source (when you repin a content, you are basically pinning to your own board what has been pinned before by another).
  • Boards (n) – the place Pins are saved. Boards are a group or cluster of related Pins. Boards are usually topical and reflect the tastes and interests of the Pinner. To make it simpler, think of boards as the categories you have on your blog for specific and related posts.
  • Group Boards (n) – boards where multiple people are contributors and save Pins
  • Rich Pins (n) – Pins with extra information (metadata) right on the Pin. There are four types of Rich Pins: Article, Recipe, Product, and App Rich Pins.
  • Promoted Pins (n) – these Pins are ads that businesses pay to be displayed on Pinterest.

(psst… make sure to save this blog post to Pinterest so you can reference often!)

How Does Pinterest Work for Users (Pinners)?

People use Pinterest to save ideas, products, to collaborate with friends, and to bookmark things to read later. Pinning is typically a solitary activity where Pinners browse and save ideas and products that will help them improve the quality of their lives, their work, health, and even their wardrobe or hairstyle!

It’s different from truly “social” networks where people share information and images about themselves and their personal or professional lives.

Facebook and Instagram are about presenting the best version of you to the world and constantly engaging with your audience.

Pinterest is for inspiration to transform yourself into the best version of you. You are not here to engage with anyone (like or comment etc). You search, find what you want, and go (leave the platform to the source of the content you clicked).

How Does Pinterest Work for Marketers, Coaches, Businesses, E-commerce, and Bloggers?

People save and click on Pins up to 90 days before they are ready to act. What all this early planning means for marketers is that their products and services can become an option for consideration very early on in the buying process.

This means you can begin posting and pinning your Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas content between August-September so that people who are already searching for and planning for the holidays can find your content and save for later (often to make a purchase).

With 75% of all the content on Pinterest coming from brands (blogs, businesses, etc), people are very open to branded content as long as it is useful and attractive.

Product Pins allow Pinners to purchase right inside of Pinterest. You’ll need a Pinterest catalog that pulls from your product feed to take advantage of these.

Pinterest is the number two driver of traffic to most websites (It is my second traffic source after Google). When you and others share Pins that link to your website content, you’re adding more and more opportunities for people to find you and come to your website.

There’s no reason to feel like you’re too late to the game, either. While some well-known bloggers and businesses are having great success with their Pinterest marketing, 97% of all searches are unbranded – meaning even a relatively unknown and newbie blogger or business can be discovered by new readers and customers who are ready to buy!

What is a Pin on Pinterest?

A Pin is an idea on Pinterest, a visual representation of a product or content which someone saves on a Pinterest board. Each Pin is composed of three elements:

  1. An image (we now have video pins)
  2. A link (usually)
  3. A title
  4. A description

When someone clicks on a Pin, it will enlarge to show the full image and description. If they click again, they will be taken to the link associated with the Pin – usually a blog post or product page with more information than can be included on the Pin. Your Pins can be saved to other boards owned by other Pinners.

What is a Pinterest Board?

Pinterest boards are a way to organize ideas.

Boards are usually topical and reflect the tastes and interests of the Pinner.

To make it simpler, think of boards as the categories you have on your blog for specific and related posts.

For example, you might create boards to organize ideas about copywriting, affiliate marketing, a business you want to start, or a trip you are planning, books you want to read, or recipes you want to try.

Pinterest boards are always owned by one Pinner, but they can be shared. A shared board allows pins from other Pinterest users.

Secret Boards and the Pins on them are visible only to you and anyone with whom you share the Board. They’re perfect for planning surprise parties, sharing research, or for any other “just between us” purpose!

A Pinterest Profile can hold up to 500 boards – though it’s hard to imagine how anyone would keep track of that many boards!

What is a Pinterest Profile?

Your Pinterest Profile holds all your Boards, your Pins, and all your settings. Some of the information that appears publicly include:

  • Your username appears as the words after https://pinterest.com when you go to your profile.
  • Your profile name: appears in bold letters at the top of your profile.
  • Your profile description (bio) and website URL also appear prominently on your profile.
  • Impressions (a stat that shows your Pinterest reach — how many people see your profile or pins), and Followers.
  • Your picture.
  • Showcase boards: choose between one and five boards to create a moving slideshow at the top of your profile.

How Does Pinterest Work When I Follow People or Boards on Pinterest?

When you follow a Profile or a board on Pinterest, you’re telling Pinterest you want to see more of that. So, their Pins will start to appear in your home feed. These signals you give to Pinterest also allow it to show you “picked for you” Pins it thinks you may like.

What Does it Mean When Someone Follows Me on Pinterest?

See above. 🙂 It’s great to have followers on Pinterest – your Pins will likely get more exposure and the social proof can be powerful, but Pinterest doesn’t serve up everything that is Pinned by the people and boards you follow in the order it was Pinned. Not anymore.

Also, your Pins are seen by people searching – whether or not they follow you.

Followers are good – but traffic from Pinterest is better. You might have very little or no followers but still get huge traffic from Pinterest. So, try not to worry too much about your follower count and make sure your Pins are optimized for search instead.

How Does Pinterest Work If I Have a Business Account?

If you’re using Pinterest for your business, you should have a business account. You can convert a personal profile into a business account to get detailed analytics on the performance of your account. and to advertise on Pinterest. It’s free to have a business account and aside from enabling analytics and the ability to advertise, it functions the same as a personal account.

How Can I Make Pinterest Work for My Business?

So many things! Optimize your account for search, Pin regularly, have a strategy, utilize group boards, and Tailwind Tribes for greater reach, and keep an eye on your analytics.

These activities can be very tasking and leave you feeling overwhelmed, especially if you have to juggle them with creating content for your blog, marketing your business, and other important aspects of your business.

This is how I come in and help. Check out my Pinterest services and see how we can work together to help you get the most of Pinterest.

How Can I Set Up My Account For Success?

This is an entire blog post on its own, so go over and read how I set up and optimize my client’s Pinterest account.

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If you have been wondering: “how does Pinterest work?” or looking to learn more about the platform, I hope this post answers your question or even attempt to help you understand Pinterest more. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Are you already using Pinterest for your blog? Let me know how it is working for you.

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