Is Pinterest Social Media? How Does It Work?

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is pinterest social media

“Is Pinterest social media – get to know about Pinterest to see how it works and how it differs from other media platforms.”

A valid question to ask is – Is Pinterest Social media?

Isn’t it just like Instagram?

What does Pinterest offer that other social media sites don’t?

This topic has come up frequently, with people asking me to discuss Pinterest’s nature and benefits. They hope to enlighten their business associates who dismiss Pinterest as just another social media platform.

There’s a diverse audience when it comes to Pinterest – from newcomers trying to understand its basics to veterans who haven’t yet explored its potential for their businesses.

So, let’s dive in to uncover what Pinterest really is and determine if it falls under the umbrella of social media.

What is Pinterest?

is pinterest social media

Pinterest is essentially a social media platform from the U.S. that’s all about visuals—think images, GIFs, and videos.

It’s where you go to pin down ideas, whether you’re hunting for a new recipe, dreaming up a home makeover, or looking for fashion inspo. Think of Pinterest as your go-to for visual inspiration, sort of like a visual Google. You’re searching for something specific, and bam, there it is in all its glory.

People love Pinterest because it’s a treasure trove of eye-catching visuals. Whether you’re planning a project or just browsing, you find what you’re looking for and then some.

So, if you are looking for an app for maintaining interpersonal friendships, Pinterest may not be the place for you.

How Does It Work?

Think of Pinterest as a visual discovery engine. When you stumble upon an image or video you dig (aka a pin), you can save it to a collection called a board. Boards are where you curate your finds based on your interests or projects.

Finding pins is a breeze. Pinterest is designed to show you content tailored to what you’re into, whether that’s through searching directly or stumbling upon recommendations. It’s perfect for those times when you’re looking for something new but aren’t exactly sure what.

At its core, Pinterest is like a visual search engine. It’s where you go to spark an idea or find something specific, guided by images rather than words. The platform’s smart algorithm makes sure what you see is relevant and intriguing.

What’s cool about Pinterest is how personal it feels. The content you come across feels like it’s hand-picked for you, especially when you’re hunting for inspiration, shopping, or exploring new business ideas.

And it’s not just about looking. On Pinterest, you can save pins, create your own, shop directly from pins, check out web pages linked to those pins, follow other users, and more. It’s a whole ecosystem for discovery and inspiration.

So, is Pinterest Social Media?

pin images

Honestly, it’s a bit of a mix. Unlike typical social media platforms like Instagramor TikTok, Pinterest stands out. Some argue that Pinterest falls under the social media category, but let’s clear up the confusion.

Pinterest isn’t your standard search engine like Google, Bing, or Safari. It does, however, share many features with search engines, which is why many refer to it as a visual search engine. The key difference lies in the intent and usage. Social media platforms are primarily for social interactions, whereas Pinterest focuses more on serving as a resource for business, marketing, and personal inspiration.

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So, while Pinterest incorporates social elements, its main purpose revolves around discovery, inspiration, and utility, making it a unique blend of social media and search engine functionalities.

How It Serves You

Pinterest, alongside giants like Google and YouTube, stands as a pivotal platform for those on the hunt for solutions. It’s particularly invaluable for marketers. Here’s why:

Pinterest is a powerhouse when it comes to driving traffic to your website. As a marketer, it’s essential to know your audience and the content they seek.

On Pinterest, success hinges not on your connections, engagement levels, or influencer status, but on how well you address a user’s needs.

People flock to Pinterest with a purpose. They’re there to dream, plan, and ultimately, to create or purchase. Your goal is to provide the solution they’re searching for, making Pinterest an essential tool in your marketing arsenal for reaching potential customers right at the moment they’re deciding what to do or buy.

What Makes Pinterest Different From Other Social Media Platforms?

pinterest account

Understanding what sets Pinterest apart from other social media platforms requires a look at the core purposes these platforms serve.

The Instagram Platform

social media platform

Instagram, for instance, is a platform where you can follow people or brands, regardless of prior acquaintance. It allows users to share snippets of their lives through posts on their feed.

Content on Instagram is largely temporal; it’s about the now, with feeds reflecting posts’ original posting times. Instagram also offers stories, brief glimpses into the lives of those you follow, lasting just 15 seconds each.

The essence of Instagram is social interaction. It’s designed to keep users engaged and entertained, with the occasional ad prompting purchases, but the primary goal is to foster connections and interactions among its users.

In contrast, Pinterest’s design and usage intentions diverge significantly from this model. It’s not just about social interactions or staying updated with friends and brands; it’s a platform geared towards discovery, inspiration, and practical solutions.

Pinterest serves as a visual search engine where users can find ideas, plan projects, and explore interests, making it distinct from the more socially-focused nature of platforms like Instagram.

The Facebook Platform

social media platform

The Facebook platform is a multifaceted space where both personal and business interactions occur. On one hand, it allows for the creation of business pages, providing a venue for updates, sharing links, and even promoting content from others. This facet of Facebook caters to the needs of ecommerce stores and other online sites, offering a broad audience for their services or products.

Facebook groups, on the other hand, lean more towards building communities. These groups enable users to gather around shared interests or content types, fostering interactions that are inherently social. The essence of Facebook groups is to facilitate discussion and engagement, making them highly social environments.

Beyond these features, Facebook’s traditional platform encompasses a wide array of functionalities, including personal profiles, ads, posts from friends and their networks, and more. This amalgamation of content has led some users to seek solutions like the “kill news feed” feature to streamline their experience, aiming to reduce the clutter of indiscriminate posts and comments.

While Facebook and Instagram are sought after for their interactive capabilities, allowing users to send personal messages and engage with a wide network, Pinterest operates on a different premise. The drive to use Pinterest is not primarily for social interaction but for discovery, inspiration, and the pursuit of personal or business projects.

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This distinction underlines the unique position of Pinterest in the digital landscape, catering to users looking for a more focused and inspiration-driven experience, unlike the broader social engagement found on Facebook.

Other Differences Include:

  • Pinterest’s content isn’t displayed chronologically. Instead, it surfaces based on relevance to the user’s search queries or interests.

  • Interaction between Pinterest users isn’t the primary focus, unlike other social networks where engagement and interaction are central.

  • Pinterest is about searching for ideas and inspiration, akin to how search engines work to find answers, rather than facilitating interactions among users.

  • Content on Pinterest is evergreen. A pin from years ago can still show up in search results today, unlike the real-time updates common on platforms like Facebook.

Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s co-founder, highlights a key difference: Pinterest is self-serving, designed for users to discover inspiration and ideas for their own projects, whereas other visual social networks are about sharing life moments for friends and family to comment on and like.

Pinterest positions itself as a platform where people plan and aspire to create better versions of themselves, in contrast to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, where the focus is on showcasing the highlights of one’s life.

While some social media platforms may share features with Pinterest, its unique blend of evergreen content, inspiration-based discovery, and focus on personal projects sets it apart from the typical social network model, emphasizing personal relationships and real-time interactions.

Important Pinterest Business Terms Features

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Understanding Pinterest’s unique terminology is essential for anyone looking to leverage this visual social network for business. Here’s a rundown of key terms every marketer should know:

  • Pinner: This refers to an individual user of Pinterest, essentially anyone who engages with the platform by pinning, browsing, or saving content.

  • Pins: The cornerstone of Pinterest, a pin is a post that can include images or videos, often linked back to its original source. It’s the primary way content is shared and discovered on the platform.

  • Promoted Pins: These are Pinterest’s version of ads. Businesses pay to have these pins appear in pinners’ home feeds, category feeds, and search results, marked with a “Promoted” label to indicate their paid status.

  • Repins: Similar to sharing on other social media sites, a repin occurs when a pinner saves someone else’s pin to their board without making any alterations.

  • Rich Pins: These pins pull extra information directly from the source website, providing pinners with more details like real-time pricing and product availability, enhancing the browsing experience.

  • Video Pins: As the name suggests, these are pins that feature looping videos, adding dynamic content to the mix.

Additional pin types expanding Pinterest’s functionality include:

  • Carousel Pins: Allow pinners to showcase multiple images within a single pin.

  • Collections Pins: Enable brands to feature a main image with several related products.

  • Idea Pins: Designed for creators to share high-quality, multi-page content.

  • Try On Product Pins: Use augmented reality to let users virtually try products.

  • Audience Insights: A tool for understanding the demographics and interests of your audience.

  • Pinterest Lens: A visual search tool allowing users to search for items by taking a photo.

  • Pincodes: Unique codes that can be scanned to discover curated boards and profiles.

These features underscore Pinterest’s role not just as a social media site but as a powerful visual social network and discovery platform for individuals and businesses alike.


is pinterest social media

In wrapping up, the debate over Pinterest being classified as social media stems from its unique blend of social features and its core identity as a visual search and discovery platform.

Pinterest places a strong emphasis on searching for new ideas, finding inspiration, and aiding users in planning projects, which distinguishes it from traditional social media platforms.

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Despite incorporating a social aspect, such as allowing users to see pins from people they follow within their home feed, Pinterest has shifted away from purely social features.

The platform’s decision to remove the “Following” tab, which previously enabled users to view pins directly from those they follow, further underscores its departure from the conventional social media model. This move highlights Pinterest’s focus on being a source of inspiration and a tool for discovery, rather than a network for social interaction.

Thus, Pinterest carves out its own niche, offering a unique value proposition to its users that goes beyond the social media label.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I use Pinterest as a search engine?

To get the best result in using Pinterest, you must have a proper understanding that Pinterest is a search engine and it must be used accordingly.

Follow these steps to use Pinterest as a search engine

  1. Create content that is searchable( in a way, referring to content that other people want to see).

 Why? Search engines are mainly about making provisions for people what they want to see and creating the type of content other users want to see.

  1. Optimize your boards, pins, and profile for Pinterest SEO.

Pinterest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your pins, boards, and profiles with keywords optimized to inform  Pinterest exactly what your content entails.

Just exactly the same way articles with keywords will be optimized to rank in Search results, keywords are also been checked in an algorithm, to tell what your content is about.

The moment Pinterest can understand what your content is all about, it will be easy for your pins to rank and be distributed where they are most relevant.

How do I find out what Pinners are searching for?

For you to find out what pinners are searching for or have an interest in, it is important at this point to do keyword research on Pinterest. Here are other ways:

  • Pinterest keyword bubbles

  • Pinterest search

  • Pinterest topics sitemap

  • Pinterest categories

  • Popular pins

  • “More like this” feed

  • Pinterest ads keyword research tool

  • New boards

  • Pinterest trends

  • Pinterest predicts

What is Pinterest marketing?

Pinterest marketing refers to the strategic use of Pinterest to promote a brand, product, or service. It involves creating and sharing visual content, such as images and videos, tailored to catch the attention of Pinterest users. The aim is to raise awareness, engage with a target audience, and drive traffic back to a website or ecommerce platform.

Marketing on Pinterest is particularly effective because the platform is designed for discovery. Users often come to Pinterest seeking inspiration, ideas, and solutions, making it an ideal place to showcase products or content that meets those needs. By aligning with the interests and search habits of potential customers, businesses can use Pinterest to attract and convert users into customers, leveraging the platform’s visual nature to highlight their offerings compellingly.

What is Social media marketing?

Social Media Marketing is defined as a means of using social media and social networks to advertise or market a product and services, and also get existing customers engaged, and also ensure that new ones are reached.

What do you understand by Online Communities?

An online community is also known as an internet or web community which is a type of community that acts similarly to an information system.

Here, members of the communities can post personal messages, join group boards, make comments on discussions, and offer advice, which also includes medical advice as well.


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Oladejo Elisha

I'm a Digital Marketer, Blogger, Content marketer, and SEO expert with proven results. I’m detail-oriented, results-driven, and dedicated to helping my clients achieve their goals.

Whether you're looking to increase your website traffic or boost your online revenue, I can help you achieve your goals. Let’s work together.

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