Pinterest is NOT a Social Network [Why it Matters to Marketers]

Pinterest is not a social network - why this matters to MarketersIn an interview with Fortune magazine, Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann  said of the platform, “I think that’s a very different thing than a social network. The objectives of the two are different. On a social network, you upload photos for other people to like. Pinterest, on the other hand, is self-serving.”

Truth! Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are where we curate the best versions of our lives. Pinterest is where we find inspiration and plan to create the best versions of ourselves.

Pinterest is where we find inspiration and plan to create the best versions of ourselves.Click To Tweet

Pinterest – Leaning Into Search and Away From Social

If you signed up for Pinterest years ago, you were asked to follow several accounts. As the platform evolved, WHAT you connect and engage with became much more important than with WHOM you connect.

Our home feeds are no longer filled with Pins from all the people we follow. Instead, you’ll see a mix of “picked for you,” Promoted Pins, and Pins from people you follow.

Pinterest home screen shows only Rich Pin data

The current Pinterest home feed.

For many of us, the latest changes to the home feed display only images and Rich Pin data. So, you cannot see who Pinned an image unless you click on the Pin. Love or hate the changes, it’s clear that Pinterest wants us widen out to explore and discover ideas from new people.

Pinners do use the platform as a search and discovery engine. Its 200 million monthly active users perform 2 BILLION searches a month and 97% of searches on Pinterest are unbranded – meaning the searcher isn’t looking for a particular brand and may be open to discovering YOURS.

Pinterest Has Some Social Features – But It’s Not a Social Platform

Recently, Pinterest removed the ability to “Like” Pins, taking away the easiest way to engage with a Pin. I used them to thank people for Pinning my content, which was a little bit social!

While Pinners can still follow people or boards and can comment on Pins, I would argue that those are not truly social actions. How many genuine comments have you seen on your Pins lately? How closely do you pay attention to who has followed you?

Messaging on Pinterest is a handy feature that allows you to send a note or a Pin within Pinterest and some do use it, but it’s more often used as a means to share a Pin than have a conversation.

Pinterest Tried It

Pinterest “Tried It”

What about “Tried it”? Isn’t that social? You know, it is a bit. Recipe Pins is where you’ll see the most genuine feedback. It’s helpful for the people deciding if they want to make it, the recipe creator, and to the person who leaves the feedback.

I know I’ll never remember which low-carb poundcake recipe I made if I don’t leave a Tried It. And if I made a tweak to the recipe, this is the perfect place to note that. If someone else finds it helpful, that’s great – but that’s not why I’m doing it!

You won’t generally see a lot of back and forth on these reviews, which is why it’s kind of a social feature, but doesn’t put Pinterest into “social media” territory.

Understanding How Pinners Use Pinterest – a Must for Effective Marketing

Pinning is largely a solitary activity. Pinners are collecting for themselves – what interests them, what they want to try. As regular Pinners (not as marketers or bloggers), they don’t particularly care if anyone follows them, saves their Pins, or clicks to visit a website.

They’re looking for ideas and products that inspire to action. They’re not looking to learn about you, your office, your employees, or your workplace. That’s for later on in the sales cycle – and not for Pinterest at all.

Let people find you because of your inspiring content. Build trust by continuing to provide value. Then make sure your website allows for a smooth transition from Pin to page. That means a beautiful and engaging Pin should link to a beautiful and engaging web page.

The best way to understand the mindset and behavior of a Pinner is to become one yourself. If Pinterest isn’t somewhere you’ve spent a lot of time, choose one topic that interests you. Create and fill a board dedicated to that topic. Trust me, it’ll be fun. 😉

The best way to understand the mindset and behavior of a Pinner is to become one yourself.Click To Tweet

Pay attention to how you find relevant Pins, why you choose to click one Pin instead of another, and what makes you save a Pin to your board. Most importantly, take notice of what makes you click on a Pin to visit a site.

Likely you’ll start to notice that you don’t care who Pinned a Pin. Rather, the Pins you’ll click or save are some combination of relevant, helpful, beautiful, and inspiring.

You’ll also find that you’re not there to learn about a particular brand or company (remember, 97% of Pinterest searches are unbranded). So you’ll discover brands, products, and ideas that are completely new to you. This is the fun of Pinterest – and the reason that every product and brand has a chance to succeed here.

Keep Pinning as a user so you don’t forget the way they think and the way they Pin and your Pinterest marketing will succeed!

Longing for a Sense of Community on Pinterest?

Pinterest group boards do provide a way to collaborate on Pinterest. A board owner invites one or more Pinners to add to their board. Any Pin added to the board may appear in the home feed of any Pinner who follows any of the board collaborators. This is a great way to expand your reach on Pinterest. Some Pinners also use group boards to find high-quality content to share on other boards.

Tailwind Tribes Were Built for Community on Pinterest!

Tailwind Tribes allow any Pinner to create a group of like-minded bloggers. Each Tribemate adds in their own best content, or content from another blogger they wish to support. All Tribemates share out content that is relevant to their own followers. Large or small, new or established, the activity of each Pinner in the Tribe contributes to the success of the group.

The Tribes dashboard allows Tribe Owners and Admins to see if Tribemates are actively sharing other members’ content. If someone doesn’t follow the rules, Owners and Admins can remove them from the group. Even if the Tribe is public, they won’t be able to rejoin if they’re not a good Tribemate.

Tribe chat allows Tribemates to communicate within the Tailwind dashboard. You never know what kind of collaborations may result – on Pinterest or beyond!

This short video explains how they work:

In Conclusion

While Pinterest is often called a “social network,” its social features don’t change the fact that it is a visual search and discovery platform and that Pinners use it for solitary inspiration and planning.

As a marketer, understanding the difference between Pinterest and social networks is essential. The best way to reach this understanding may be to use it yourself! 📌

But, if you want to make your OWN Pinterest marketing experience a bit more social and you’ve been looking for a way to build more community on Pinterest, join a Tailwind Tribe today!

*No credit card required

If this was helpful, please Pin me!

Pinterest is not a social network - why this matters to marketers. #pintereststrategy #pinterestmarketing #pinterestips

Pinterest is NOT a social network - why this matters to marketers. Knowing how Pinners use Pinterest is your key to success. Here's a look at what it really IS and how you can tap into its strengths to promote your business.#pintereststrategy #pinterestmarketing #pinteresttips

About Alisa Meredith

Alisa Meredith is the Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind. She is slightly obsessed with Pinterest, dogs, cats, and the beach near her home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

10 thoughts on “Pinterest is NOT a Social Network [Why it Matters to Marketers]

  1. Cla Bju
    November 9, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    First time in a year of receiving Tailwind newsletter that Ive opened to read. It was truly a gem and timely in my stage of learning about Pinterest marketing, preparing for my gemstones jewelry business to launch next year. Hereon I will read every newsletter. I certainly relate to the behavior of a typical pinner which clearly illustrates Pinterest marketing process IS NOT like FB or any social plaftorms and the Video on Tailwind Tribes is very clear that I need to find my tribe, join and contribute as my main marketing platform. Now I’ve decided to set aside a day to read up and make a list of actions I must undertake to leverage Pinterest as a marketing channel. THANK YOU ALISA! Fantastic article.

    1. Alisa Meredith
      November 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad! Best wishes on your upcoming launch. It sounds like you are on the right track! ~ Alisa

    2. Alisa Meredith
      November 20, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Hi, Cla! I’m so glad it was helpful to you. Wishing you loads of success! ~ Alisa

  2. November 9, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Very innovative and inspiring article, thanks a lot !!! It makes me want to give Pinterest (and Tailwind) another try. 😉

    1. Alisa Meredith
      November 9, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      I’m so glad it spoke to you, Nathalie. You’re welcome and thank you for stopping by! ~ Alisa

  3. November 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    nice post! i’m one of your users and Tailwind is very useful both for pinterest and instagram.

  4. November 11, 2017 at 9:01 am

    As a person who wants to learn more on Pinterest and the usage of Tailwindapp, I love what you said here:

    “The best way to understand the mindset and behavior of a Pinner is to become one yourself.”

    It goes straight to my heart.

    1. Alisa Meredith
      November 14, 2017 at 10:25 am

      I’m so glad it spoke to you, Elisa!