Pinterest is an online vision board for images that inspire you or that you just love. Users can organise images into boards like food or animals into categories. When you pin something new, your followers will see it, they can then like it, comment or re-pin it to their boards so therefore they can go viral.
Brides-to-be can pin pictures of different wedding dresses to review, and people shopping for a new car can pin images of their options. The possibilities are unlimited.
Here's a look at why some business owners -- particularly retailers -- might want to seriously consider starting a business profile on Pinterest now.
How It's Being Used
Perhaps the most powerful business application is the ability to post images of your company's products on your Pinterest board and link them back to your website. It works as a sort of virtual store catalog.
But remember that this is social media. If you simply display images of your products without contributing other content or sharing other users' pins, you'll likely find that people don't pay much attention.
Is Pinterest Right for Your Business?
The site does have some drawbacks for businesses. If your product or service isn't particularly visual, your images may not tie directly back to your brand.
The best way to determine if Pinterest could attract buyers is simply to give it a shot. Set up an account and start pinning things that are relevant to your business but not too promotional.
If you are a landscaper, for instance, pin pictures of landscaping you find online or snap in your community.You also can search through Pinterest's categories and add some inspirational, funny or beautiful images you find.
Then, follow interesting boards and individuals who post images that inspire you. Once you've done some pinning of other people's content for a week or so and attracted a few followers, create a new board of your products. Add descriptions and perhaps the price to the images. Make sure they link back to your website and start tracking pinterest.com as a referral source in your website analytics.
Next, try creating an image of a special deal or coupon just for your Pinterest followers. Upload it to a new board for Deals. Perhaps offer a prize to the person who gets the most likes or comments on a re-pin of the coupon, and then see who shares it the most. Don't fret about creating multiple boards. People who follow you will see them all.
In a month or two, see if you're getting referral traffic or sales. Depending on the results, you may need to tweak your boards with new images and words.
One thing is clear whether you're on Pinterest for personal or business reasons: the best images -- be they funny, beautiful or thought provoking -- attract the most attention and followers.