Pinterest: The Next Social Site For Small Business?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Facebook, followed by Twitter, have always been the go to social media websites for businesses.

This year, we saw the rapid rise of Pinterest, which is now the third largest social media site today. The website continues to attract plenty of users and enthusiasts – including small and big businesses alike.

What Is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual pin-board that lets people organize and share photos that they find anywhere on the web. They can create specific boards and pin any photo that they come across – in case they need it for inspiration.

The website is often touted as a digital dream collage, or a corkboard with magazine clippings and recipes.

Users can create boards about anything, and pin any photos they like ranging from recipes to gifts to fashion to food.

The website is image based only, except for the small captions on the photos, thereby taking away the clutter of texts and webpages.

Users can also view the most recent pins or the most popular ones, follow other users, like other photos and even re-pin them on their own boards.

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where accounts can be made private, all pinned photos on Pinterest are available for public viewing, so anyone can basically comment or re-pin your photos. Likewise, you can like and pin anything that catches your attention as well.

Who Is Using Pinterest?
Pinterest has indeed grown over the past year, with a total unique visitor increase of 2702.2% since May 2011. It averages around 1.36 million users each and every day and is driving more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and even Twitter, and the number continues to rise.

Top businesses have also taken to Pinterest to reach out to potential clients. These include mobile phone carriers such as Verizon and AT&T, mobile phone manufacturers like Motorola, LG, Samsung and Apple as well as other brands such as Whole Foods, Krogers, Nordstrom and the like.

Why Should You Consider Pinterest?
Pinterest is something worth considering because it is a website that inspires action in people. It serves as a recommendation engine, or a repository of ideas, purchases and sales waiting to happen.

Pinterest users constantly visit the site to look for ideas, inspiration and other things that are out of the ordinary. Likewise, they visit the site to look for things they or their friends might find interesting or to remind themselves what they need to buy, use or revisit.

Many users also visit the site to recommend and share products that they like; and they can serve as potential buyers.

Remember that millions of users do these on a daily basis – and some of them might just end up as your near-future clients, long term buyers and potential product advocates.