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Pin It to Win It: Harnessing the Power of Instagram’s Pinning Feature

Published August 11, 2023

Modern Instagram users, be they huge brands, small brands, influencers, or even everyday folk, want to grow their profiles. That entails getting as many followers as possible, and in order to do so, you’ll need a main page that stands out.

Well, let’s take a look at what loads when you fire up IG. What do you see? There’s the profile name, the profile picture, the standard prompts for follows and messages, the number(s) of follows and followers, and roughly the first six posts. Maybe fewer if you’re using a smart device and can only see the top halves of the first three. That part, right there, needs to entice the potential follower.

So, aside from your profile pic, what’s the section that stands out visually the most in that one area? Why, it’s the first three posts. Logic, therefore, dictates that these three ought to contain something that will always draw the viewer in, that will make your profile unique and instantly recognizable. In 2023, you can make that happen by pinning posts. This article will help you learn everything there is to know about IG pins and how effective they can be in growing your page.

What Are Pinned Posts?

As the name suggests, pinned posts are images or videos that you make “stand out” by pinning them. Of course, those posts will remain on your page even without the pins. But this way, you can feature them prominently for every new page visitor to see.

Pinning posts is nothing new when it comes to social media. Both Facebook and Twitter have been doing it for years now. You’d browse prominent profiles on these platforms, and you’d see either a pinned post or a pinned tweet displayed right under the profile description. Instagram was a little late to that party, but the pinned posts finally appeared in 2022.

Of course, there is one key difference between IG and the other platforms that offer pins. Namely, unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram allows as many as three posts to be pinned at once. It might seem like an arbitrary choice to do so, but if we go back to our opening paragraphs, you can see why it makes sense. Again, the first three posts are exactly what someone browsing Instagram will see the second they open up a new profile, which gives you a perfect chance to show the most relevant content you’ve got.

Though they might be new, pinned IG posts have become extremely popular. Everyone, from the top performers on the platform to the upcoming influencers and regular users, has a pinned post or two on their profile page. And as you’ll see later, not only is it a fun feature in and of itself, but it also presents a good business opportunity to grow and expand, especially if you’re a small creator or entrepreneur.

Rules of Pinning

Naturally, there are some limitations when it comes to pinning posts on Instagram. Let’s list the important ones:

  • As stated earlier, you can pin no more than three posts;
  • Pinned posts are shown in the order of pinning, NOT in the chronological order (i.e., which post was uploaded earlier)
  • You can only pin posts on your phone; browser pinning is not available at present.

Why Can’t I Pin Anything on IG?

One of the most frequently asked questions online regarding Instagram this year relates to pinned posts. Namely, some people can’t seem to do it, and there are several key reasons for this issue.

The first one is fairly simple and is outlined in the previous paragraph — if you’re only using the browser version of Instagram, you won’t be able to pin anything. Right now, i.e., in early 2023, only smartphone users can pin posts via the IG app.

The second reason relates to the app itself. Considering how new this feature is, you will need an up-to-date Instagram app in order to use it. With that in mind, we recommend updating Instagram as soon as possible.

Finally, the third potential reason includes possible glitches and issues post-update. Namely, even after you’ve got the latest version of Instagram, some bit of software might be preventing you from pinning any post. If that happens to be the case, try to consult the Instagram help center for more details or contact their customer support.

How to Pin (and Unpin) Posts

Now that we’ve gotten the introduction out of the way, it’s time to learn how to pin posts. The process itself is fairly easy to learn and requires minimal effort.

Pinning

  • Open your Instagram app;
  • Enter your profile and scroll down your feed;
  • Pick a post you want to pin and open it;
  • Tap the three-dot vertical menu in the top right corner of the screen;
  • Find the Pin to your profile option and tap it;
  • Repeat the process for the second and third pinned posts; they will be listed in order of pinning, so choose in advance which ones ought to go first.

Once you have your pinned posts, they will appear at the top. The little icon in the top-right corner of each thumbnail for the post will also change to a little pin. It will replace all other icons (be they for slideshows, reels, or videos). In addition, every new post that you upload after the process will appear immediately after the last item you pinned.

Unpinning

In case you want to return the post to its original, regular status, the process is as follows:

  • Open the app;
  • Tap on the pinned post you want to unpin;
  • Tap the three-dot vertical menu;
  • Pick the Unpin from profile option and tap it.

This option is incredibly useful since you will want to refresh your profile from time to time. As such, some posts you’ve pinned might not represent you or your brand anymore, and you might want to pin something else instead. Though, if you try to add a fourth pinned post, Instagram will send you a message notifying you that you’ve reached the limit. However, be careful what you tap here. If you see this prompt and tap Cancel, then nothing will change. On the other hand, tapping Confirm will unpin the oldest-pinned post and place the new pin instead of the fourth one you’ve selected.

How to Pin (and Unpin) Reels

Pinning

Just like posts with photos and videos, you can pin Instagram Reels to the top of your feed. In fact, the process is more or less the same. All you need to do is maneuver over to the three-dot vertical menu and pick the Pin to your profile option. Of course, you will only be able to pin reels to the main feed. Your Reels grid will remain as is, and no pinned reel will appear ahead of others.

It’s important to note that reels that are not posted on the profile feed cannot be pinned. So, if you feel like sharing a reel, make sure to pick the Also Share to Feed option. All reels with this option activated will be able to be pinned later.

Unpinning

Once again, the process of unpinning a reel is the same as unpinning a regular post. Following the steps listed above, you merely have to pick the Unpin from profile option, and you’re good to go.

The Best Way to Use Pinned Posts

There are many different useful benefits to utilizing pinned posts as an IG influencer or brand manager. Of course, it will all depend on what you plan to do with your presence on the platform and what the purpose of your pins would be. Therefore, here’s a handy list of all the different methods a pinned post can help Instagram users.

Showcasing Services

Let’s say that you own a small brand and that you want your future customers to know what it’s about. What better way to introduce them to it than via Instagram? And what better Instagram introduction than a pinned reel featuring the services you provide?

A neat slideshow of 10 or so items is perfect as a miniature presentation on IG. Not only is it a fun way of presenting a brand, but it’s effective as it shows your viewers what your brand offers. Of course, make sure that the reel you pin is as all-encompassing and evergreen as possible. That way, you don’t have to come up with new pinned reels every other month.

Recent Announcements

Sometimes, people who follow you on Instagram miss out on a bit of the latest news. Maybe you’re a guest speaker somewhere or are taking a trip, or simply need a hiatus from social media. Whatever it is, you need to keep people in the loop, and pinning can greatly accommodate that.

By putting a pin on the latest update, you’re giving a chance to your passive followers to catch up in case they later wonder why you’re not providing your usual output. Furthermore, if you do this often, i.e., if you pin every single new major update, you’ll show your viewers that you’re dedicated, active, and informative. And that’s what every social media follower wants from the person or brand they follow — the loyalty that’s mutual and constant.

High-Performing Posts

Let’s say that one of your posts goes viral. That’s amazing news for your feed and your engagements, but will it last? After all, the virality of posts in the modern age doesn’t have a long shelf life. But if you actually pin that post, even as a point of pride, you’ll keep reminding your followers of your original success. That way, even if you don’t have any other viral posts, they’ll keep coming back to you for more content.

About Me Sections

Individuals, such as influencers or popular figures, sometimes use pins to highlight an introductory post. Usually a video, but sometimes even a reel; this post tells the newcomers everything that they need to know about the person behind the profile in the briefest of cliff notes. This type of pin also helps if you want to branch out and work with certain brands. They can see what you’re about from the introductory pinned post, and based on that, they can hire you or promote your content. 

Banners

There are times when pinning posts has nothing to do with clout or networking yet everything to do with creativity and self-expression. By using all three pin spots, you can create a banner, or a triptych of sorts, displaying a single image broken into three parts. That way, when a user clicks on your profile, they are greeted by an amazing work of digital art, and they might just become a follower for that reason alone.

New Product Launches

Similarly to news announcements, pinned posts can serve to highlight the introduction of a new product. Major and minor brands alike use this tactic all the time. Once they launch a new item, there will be a pinned IG post about it for a certain amount of time. Soon enough, that post will be replaced with a different product placement. Considering the “prime real estate” of the first pinned post, it’s the perfect method of keeping the customers in the loop regarding new launches and new product updates.

Limited Time Offers

And speaking of launches and new product updates, pinned posts can also be an excellent way of letting the customers know about discounts and giveaways. The best time to pin these is during the holidays and ahead of major sales days, like Black Friday. Of course, the only potential setback is that you’ll have to unpin these posts fairly quickly once the promotion is through, but they’re nevertheless a good means of spreading the word and earning new buyers, as well as followers on IG.

Product and/or Content Spotlights

Now, this might seem similar to the new product launch segment from earlier, but there’s a difference. For example, as a brand, you might highlight a new item, but you can also showcase an old product whose efficacy and popularity are tried and tested. In fact, this tactic might be even better than the previous one since you’re putting your proverbial best foot forward and showing that you’re proud of your own success. The customers already know about that product, so they will be actively looking for it. And once they find it in that pinned post, they’ll gladly see what else you have to offer.

Accolades and Press Time

Sometimes, the person is the brand, and what better promo for a person than good press coverage? What about winning an award or getting a public certification for an achievement? Really, anything that celebrates your successes in an open, (inter)nationally acknowledged way is good PR and deserving of a few pinned posts.

Mix and Match

Yes, each of these methods works well enough on its own, but you’re by no means limited to using just one. Instead, try combining the best aspects of each. For example, you can have one post as an About Me segment, another showcasing your product, and the third bringing attention to your achievements. Alternatively, you can have a banner composed of images that also advertise a product or a service. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Who Benefits from Pinned Posts on IG?

Broadly speaking, anyone who uses pinned posts can benefit from them on Instagram. Though, what we really need to ask is, who might benefit from pinned posts in ways that are legitimately transformative and even life-changing?” The most accurate answer to that question would be upcoming businesses and entrepreneurs.

Established companies, brands, and celebrities all use popular social media tactics for clout, pinned posts very much included. However, they also have a ton of traditional marketing power behind them. On the other hand, businesses that are just starting out don’t have nearly as much financial mobility to actually afford pricey ad campaigns. However, a single person, intelligent and determined enough, can use the pin feature on IG to their advantage. It takes a few well-placed posts to turn that engagement from a few dozen to a few thousand per day.

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Written By:
AUTHOR & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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