Step by step how pinterest works

How Pinterest Works- Is it a Social Media or Search Engine?

TweetShareSharePin3535 SharesMany marketers, bloggers, social media users, and serious web-users rarely understand how Pinterest works. What is Pinterest? It is a website that allows users to upload images and videos known as “pins & pinboards.” It is a platform where…

Many marketers, bloggers, social media users, and serious web-users rarely understand how Pinterest works. What is Pinterest? It is a website that allows users to upload images and videos known as “pins & pinboards.”

It is a platform where you can organize your pins using boards through various ideas, plans, and interests. Pinterest functions differently from any other platform. For any share, posting, and search is done visually.

So, Is Pinterest A Social Media Or a Search Engine?

I would say both. The reason it is a Search Engine, Pinterest deviates from the usual norm of a social media platform where users engage each other and post updates about themselves or their activities. It is different the way users do it on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.

On the other hand, users are able to create visuals that interest them using graphics/images/ videos/ in form of (pins). Also, there is a messaging option where users can invite each other to privately share pins & contribute to group boards though rarely used.

The idea behind Pinterest usually confuses most of the users visiting the platform since they have a mentality that the features will easily connect just like other social media. In fact, I used to avoid Pinterest before, as I could not understand how to maneuver around.

However, Pinterest is an interesting place if you have a business/marketing mentality. Even though it is not populated like other platforms, the conversion level for those selling products is very high than anywhere else.


Since its inception back in 2010, the growth rate started picking momentum all through to 2012 when the Pinterest idea was the talk in most quarters across the globe.

Women over the years have dominated the platform, but the statistics are changing with men increasingly getting on board. It is said the total number of male actively using Pinterest currently stands at 35%. Which is an increase from the numbers recorded in 2016…

The statistics below show Pinterest growth from 2011 to 2012


source: Statista

Now, you can see how things have changed statistically from 2015 to 2018

The growth of pinterest from 2015


source: Statista

How To Create A Pin

You create the (plus) sign on the upper right side and a drop-down “create pin” appears


The next step you do is to

> Upload your image or drag n drop

> Next you add your description plus the URL where you want to link your pin


You click “Choose a Board” after you click “Select” next to one of your boards in the menu

Process of creating pinterest pin

Finally hit “Save”

This is the kind of pin that we created


Pinterest pin sample


Pinterest recommends an image that is (2:3) size, that is 600 x 600, 600 x 900. Before you could surpass that size and everything goes well until this year August 2018 when Pinterest changed how new images should look like.

If you upload anything extra than the agreed size, your pins get scaled to a preferred level. That may affect how pinners engage with your pins, so it’s better to stay within the platform guidelines.

For first-timers, note that long pins (tall in shape) tend to do well than any other type of dimension. To make it simpler here are the three dimensions and Pinterest preferred sizes.


Pin size


source: louisem


As you can see those are the dimensions, but the highlighted ones are the kind of pins you can never go wrong around the dimensions given.

When creating your pins make sure they have beautiful images, avoid wide dimensions, & to drive more traffic share pins with thoughtful description.


How To Create A Board

Just below your profile, you will find a menu where you pick the one that you’d like to use. This is how they look like and our interest is Boards:

Board area



Then below the menu a square with a (plus) sign + appears.

Pinterest board type


Then the next step is like it appears here below.

Board creation



When creating a board, Pinterest provides you with more ideas through various samples to see what others are posting. So, if you see your board requires some edits after going through the samples, you can change to something either more appealing or improve from the earlier one.

Also, you can get ideas before you create a Pinterest board by going to the search area.

What is Repinning?

Sometimes Pinterest terms cause some individuals to avoid the platform because they understand nothing on the platform. Believe me, its just recently I started to gain interest on Pinterest and the only way to do so was to learn how.

Probably the word “Repin” is not a new term, only that you don’t know what it means and how to apply it practically on the Pinterest platform.

To Repin is to add an image you find on Pinterest to your own board. It is advisable to add images that are relevant to your topic. That way, other users can easily identify your pins by topic/category.

When you repin, the one who had pinned the image gets credit and no matter how many times the image gets repinned, Pinterest maintains the source link of the image.


Repin sample



The way that arrow indicates is the place you repin the image you like to your board. You can pin as many images as possible.

Something to note, it is good if other users find you have various images even though they may be relevant in terms of topic, but having only pins pointing to your website is not something encouraging in the Pinterest family.

Therefore, it is good to support others by liking their pins, commenting, and following which in return can cause your traffic increase for that simple engagement. 

What to Include in Your Pins

Having a plan on what to include to your pins is important to attract the right traffic and more of it. Some of the things to consider are:

Posting long description

According to a study carried out regarding the length & shortness of pins description, it was discovered that pins with (longer) description received more repins than the short ones.

Pinterest description is about length


source: SWM

The way you make it longer, the more it gives users time to digest what your pins say or suggests before even they hit that “repin”

Use of Keywords & Hashtags

Including keywords and hashtags in your pins can increase the chances of being found during searches. Though it is better to provide value in your pins by offering a solution to users and not focusing on search results only. 

Keywords and hashtags is just a technique, though if used professionally within your description it can make your pins to be found often. 

Include Call-to-Action

Finally but not least, don’t leave users guessing. Include CTA in your pins which prompts users to engage. Probably you are directing them to your blog, to buy your products, services, sign-up, or just to follow you on Pinterest. Whichever way just place it on your pins. 


With the highlighted points you can’t go wrong on how Pinterest works whether on phone/PC. If it is your first time, you will realize Pinterest is a goldmine that can scale your business to another level. 

As to whether Pinterest is a social media or search engine, just figure out and share your findings below. Next will be delving deeply about how many onliners are showing Pinterest some love especially in the marketing world. Should Google be worried about that? Share your thoughts below…

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