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If you’re in an office cubicle, peek your head up and check out how your colleagues are spending time at work.  If you’re in school, glance around the room and see how your classmates are making the most of their tuition money.  There’s a pretty decent chance several of the people around you are pinning, pinning, pinning away.  Whether it be for purposes of self expression, curiosity, the need for attention or all of the above, millions of internet users are taking to Pinterest to share their favorite things.

But what exactly is Pinterest? And what is pinning?

Pinterest is rather simple.  In fact, its simplicity is a factor in the recent surge of Pinterest activity in the social media world. Pinterest allows users to post images of the things they like online onto their own virtual pin-boards, so that everyone else can take a look.  Like Twitter, you can follow others’ pins and they can follow yours.  This way, your friends can know which beaches you’re considering for Spring break, Mom can get you the right color scarf you wanted, and your boyfriend can know the exact cut of diamond you’re expecting.  Or become aware that you’re a little more serious about the relationship than he is and promptly call things off.

Pinterest is taking off because users enjoy sharing what they like on the web and discovering what their friends are looking at, too. No surprise there.  But Pinterest’s presence on the web has become remarkably significant in a short time, with a growth of 4,000% in visits the last six months, making it one of the top 10 social networks on the web according to Hitwise.Users have the option of re-pinning, meaning they can take a pin from another’s board and post it to their own.   So there are no boundaries for how far images and videos can be spread.  And since pins are linked back to the original source, this is the perfect opportunity for businesses to market their products virally and traffic users to their online store.

There are many strategies for companies to market their products by having a board on Pinterest.  First, add a price to your pinned item.  This will list the item under the site’s Gifts section, as well as direct users to your online store.  A good way to personalize your brand is by displaying images of your office and team members on your company’s board.  You can also inspire users by offering creative ideas on your board, like images of decorated rooms if you’re selling home decor.  Whatever type of product or brand, getting it circulating on Pinterest is a great way for potential customers to discover, buy, and share your products or services with others. With a little creativity, Pinterest hosts a great amount of potential for businesses looking to gain visibility through the online world

The best way to truly understand Pinterest is by devoting some time to playing with the interface. So go ahead, request an invite, make your account, and set up some boards. Then, make sure to let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Great post… besides using a quality camera, is there any data that shows shared characteristics of some of the most viral or popular pins?

    • Michael Flores says:

      Right now the leading trends on Pinterest are oriented toward fashion, crafts, photography, and architecture.  The most pins tend to be stunning, unique, or useful.  A good way to grab attention on Pinterest is to organize content around a theme or project. Wedding planning, for example.

  • Laraialflores says:

    Great insight into a new diminsion of cyber living!