Why Pinterest is NOT “Social Media”, and Your Followers Don’t Matter

By Christie Jones

If you are considering Pinterest for your business (and you should be), there is one thing that we’d like you to understand from the get-go: Pinterest is NOT Social Media, so you therefore don’t need to worry about how fast your followers are growing like you might on say, Facebook.

Let’s back up a little bit first though. If Pinterest isn’t “social media”, then what the heck is it?!

Pinterest is… a search engine. Yep, it’s a beautified version of Google. Because after all, we aren’t going on Pinterest to look at photos of our second cousins Bat Mitzva, we are there to find a recipe, look up outfit inspiration, read how-to’s… name it, and it’s on Pinterest. It isn’t as much about personal communication, but for finding inspiration in its beautiful mosaic of categorized imagery. Essentially, a search engine.

So now that we know this fact, it becomes easier to understand why your followers might not matter as much.

But as a business, you might be thinking, “well, if Pinterest is about searching for what you want and not about follows, then how can people get inspiration from my account (and turn into customers) if they aren’t following me?!”.

We’ve seen pins that have gone viral on Pinterest, and when you look on that person’s account, they only have 15 followers. On the outside, it wouldn’t look like they have a successful Pinterest account, but in actuality, they are driving people to their websites, where the conversions are made.

The reason why a viral pin like that can happen is that since Pinterest is like Google, you don’t have to be following someone to see their pins.

The exposure of your photos, articles, and videos is not limited to just who’s following you, all because Pinterest uses what they call a “Smart Feed”.

This Smart Feed is the search algorithm Pinterest uses. In other words, the way it gives you the search results that you type in.

With this system, Pinterest tailors the users home feed to their interests, what’s trending, and shows the highest quality pins for whatever is searched. What it doesn’t do, is show the pins of people you are following in real time. As an example, these results popped up on our home feed, but we aren’t following any of the users that pinned them there.

So… you could have 10,000 followers, but those people won’t be seeing your pins as you post them. They’ll be seeing a curated feed of popular, high quality pins.

The only reason why it is good to collect followers on your account, is because of social proof, which means that people trust an account more easily if they see that other people follow them too.

But if you don’t see a huge number of followers on your Pinterest account, rest assured that you don’t NEED that to have success on Pinterest.

The reach your Pinterest account can have is truly unlimited thanks to this Smart Feed, if you know how to create pins that make it into the top search results. Stay tuned for our next blog post where we’ll give a few easy tips on how to make that happen.

 

 

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