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How Pinterest Hooked the Gen-Z Audience

There’s a new wave of Creators on Pinterest—and they’re revolutionizing how people use the platform.

Pinterest has attracted a new wave of creators.

Pinterest has had a makeover. The inspirational photo-sharing platform has been around even longer than Instagram, yet it wasn’t until recently that creators began showing up the app in a big way. What started as a tool for recipe ideas, DIY hacks, and fashion inspo is now a serious competitor to Instagram and TikTok. This is all thanks to platform updates, like Idea Pins, the introduction of a Pinterest Creator Fund, and a large swath of millennial and Gen-Z users breathing new life into the app.

According to Pinterest, over 400 million people use the platform globally every month, with Gen-Z, millennials, and men representing the fastest-growing audiences.

“Pinterest is the home of inspiration and our creators are the most inspiring people,” Colleen Stauffer, Pinterest’s Global Head of Creator Marketing, says to Linktree in a statement. “They are doers, designers, makers, and builders.”

This new wave of Pinterest creators doesn’t stop at just sharing. Many have turned Pinterest into their business. From making money to landing clients, here’s how young Pinterest creators are using the platform in 2021.

Pinterest can grow your audience

“My audience has increased a great amount last year from 2,000 to 14,000 in just a few months,” Fatma, a 17-year-old Pinterest user who prefers not to share her last name, says over DM. She’s been using Pinterest for the past five years to save various inspirations on different boards, but began taking it more seriously when she started gaining followers.

17-year-old Pinterest creator Fatma

“I decided to use the platform to help others, give them something fun to look at, and give them that feeling that they enjoy looking at my account and talking to me,” she says. “Since, in my opinion, Pinterest is underrated, it gives me the chance to talk and reply to small accounts and help them grow their account and an audience.”

In April 2021, Pinterest launched Pinterest Creators, essentially giving creators and small-to-medium-sized businesses a slew of resources and tools to support content creation. Creators now have access to a range of publishing tools like video recording and editing for up to 20 pages of content, interactive design elements such as stickers and tagging, music selection, and more—so long as they follow the Creator Code.

Shortly after, Pinterest rolled out  “Idea Pins” for creators. These multi-page videos resemble Instagram Stories, yet are quite different because they don’t disappear and are long-lasting. Idea Pins also have a “Takes” function, which allows people to interact with Idea Pins by commenting or posting their own Idea Pins, resulting in open-source creative sharing.

We believe that the world is better when you build on each other’s ideas versus break them down,” Stauffer says of Idea Pins. “And our Gen Z audience has noticed. They’ve grown 50% year over year on Pinterest and are creating Idea Pins—from motivational quotes to styling tips to decorating their first apartments and so much more.”

Lifestyle influencer and Pinterest creator Shiquita Hyman

Shiquita Hyman shares an Idea Pin about her nighttime skincare routine showing steps in 3 pages

Shiquita Hyman is a lifestyle influencer with over 13,000 followers and 206,000 monthly views on Pinterest. She often creates Idea Pins for fashion and beauty hacks. In this Idea Pin, Hyman shares her nighttime skin routine in a multi-page video format, tagging the products she uses. With Takes, Hyman’s followers comment with their thoughts or post their own Idea Pins.

Idea Pins are more engaging than standard pins, with Pinterest reporting that Idea Pins receive 9x the average comment rate. For creators, the ability to interact with their dedicated fans results in authentic audience growth, strong relationships that Gen-Z values more than total follower count.

We believe that the world is better when you build on each other’s ideas versus break them down.

Pinterest is the new Google

Unlike other social platforms, Pinterest is really a place to scroll for entertainment. Often, users are coming to the platform with a specific query in mind, generating five billion searches every month, according to the company. That means content from creators, like Hyman, performs better when it’s specific.

“Pinterest users come to the platform to solve a problem,” Hyman says over email. “Whether it be how to style leather shorts for fall or how to bake the perfect apple pie, Pinterest content is meant to answer the user’s question.”

On Hyman’s page, she shares everything from swimsuit recommendations for different body types to natural hair tutorials.

Similarly, Emmy de Leon Jones, a designer who was able to go full-time freelance thanks to exposure to her over 16,000 followers on Pinterest, describes the app as a “visual search engine.”

“Users are there looking for specific things, typing it into the search bar and finding answers,” she says.

Designer and Pinterest influencer Emmy de Leon Jones

Jones creates Idea Pins like “How To Price Yourself As A Freelance Designer” and “5 Reasons To Use Pinterest For Your Design Business” in hopes of being the creator to answer those specific questions. Her work receives over five million monthly views, landing her clients like Anthropologie, and prompting her to craft a course called Pinterest for Designers to help others find similar success.

Drive traffic to your other platforms

One of the biggest ways Pinterest has been useful for this new crop of creators is directing traffic to their other platforms. In 2021, it’s not enough to be on one social media. Content creators have established themselves across a number of income streams, and many credit Pinterest for the success of their other projects.

“I will say that 90% of my clients are from Pinterest and 10% are referrals,” Jones says of her design business. “Pinterest is my No. 1 marketing tool.”

German graphic designer Julie Wieland receives over one million impressions per month for her Pinterest content. She says Pinterest not only directs people to her personal website, but helps connect her with up-and-coming artists.

German graphic designer and Pinterest influencer Julie Wieland

“I have a lot of beginners in the design field reaching out to me for guidance, which has always been my main priority rather than profiting from the content I’m doing,” Weinland says.

Hyman also has her own website—a personal blog called The Unconventional Southern Belle, and has noticed a similar result. “I consistently get the most traffic from my website from Pinterest or as a byproduct of my content popularity on Pinterest,” she says.

“Pinterest is my No. 1 marketing tool.”

Leading social media tool Linktree took note of the rising popularity of Pinterest amongst its users, and recently introduced a new feature for it. This integration gives users the ability to embed Pinterest boards and pins in-app, so that visitors can interact with pins right on their Linktree or click through to view more.

Tori Rec, the designer behind Trec Crochet, creates custom handmade crochet pieces, which she shares across social media. As a Linktree PRO user, Rec uses the Pinterest preview tool to embed her designs in app, while also sharing her other fashion inspiration pins.

Designer Tori Rec designer and Pinterest creator

Designer Toni Rec utilizes the Pinterest integration on her Linktree

New ways to monetize content

Pinterest has been ramping up its monetization efforts this year, giving creators the ability to make their content shoppable and collaborate with brands through affiliate links and sponsored posts. This month, the brand also announced the launch of the Creators Rewards program, which is its first in-product monetization program for creators.

Hyman says she’s taken advantage of these monetization tools.

“With the reach that I’m able to achieve with my Pinterest content in addition to my status as a verified creator on the platform, I’m able to provide a unique service to brand partners,” she says. “This service can turn into monetization opportunities on and off the platform,” adding, “Pinterest is also amazing for helping to boost affiliate traffic.”

The Unconventional Southern Belle Pinterest Creator

Pinterest profile for The Unconventional Southern Belle, displaying the feature image, bio, and avatar image.

For Hyman, these partnerships have included work with brands like Shoptagr, Artesands, and Knappy Hair.

Pinterest frees Gen-Z from social media stress

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons creators are attracted to Pinterest is because they view it as a more positive, relaxed place, especially compared to other major social media platforms.

“There is no pressure to be ‘on’ all the time,” Jones says. “I don’t feel social anxiety. I don’t have to stay on top of trends. I simply create what I love and pin it and I know it will reach the right people.”

Wieland appreciates that Pinterest prioritizes evergreen content, rather than things like Instagram Stories that disappear after one day.

“While your posts on IG or even TikTok have to perform ‘in the moment,’ Pinterest has more of a long term effect on your posts,” she says. “Which is great, considering the time and knowledge spent on one Idea Pin usually.”

"I simply create what I love and pin it and I know it will reach the right people.”

For 15-year-old Alexis Babakitis, who has almost 7,000 followers on Pinterest, the platform is a savior for her mental health.

“Pinterest is an escape from all of the negativity and is an outlet for creativity,” she told Embedded in an interview. “The vibe of my account is non-judgemental and is a guide to becoming your best self. Turning on some good music and scrolling through Pinterest is like free therapy. It’s my sanctuary away from my anxious thoughts.”

As the social media landscape changes, it’s more important than ever for a creator to have multiple platforms. With Linktree’s new Pinterest integration, plus the rise of monetization tools on the platform, Pinterest has emerged as a serious player for creators looking to make money and build a positive community.

Now that younger audiences are flocking to the app, users can expect Pinterest to continue to evolve, reinventing itself as a creative hub for casual users and career creators alike.

Share your favorite Idea PinsEmbed Pinterest boards in your Linktree