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Pinterest. Is this a term that makes you scratch your head, or does it describe your latest obsession? I can definitely say around our office, it’s everyone’s latest obsession, and it looks like we’re not alone. In December, 2011, Hitwise listed Pinterest as one of the Web’s Top 10 and Time listed it as a Top 5 social network of 2011. comScore also reports that as of November, 2011, Pinterest had almost 5 million users.

And, according to Biz Report, new statistics, recently released by social sharing tools firm Shareaholic, reveal that Pinterest is pushing up the rankings to drive almost as much referral traffic (3.6%) as Twitter (3.61%) and Google (3.62%). In fact, Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than YouTube (1.05%), Reddit (0.83%) and Google+ (0.22%)!

Just check out this inforgraphic shared by the folks at Monetate:

Pinterest Infographic

So what is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social photo sharing pinboard and online community. It allows you to “pin” anything you find on the web, and organize it into themed image boards that you create. You can follow boards that others in Pinterest have created, find friends who’re already there, or invite friends to join. Anyone can follow what you pin and “re-pin” those images onto their own boards. Recently, more businesses have started to use Pinterest to showcase not only their products, but other items related to what they do or sell.

Below are three ideas to help get your business off to a great start on Pinterest!

1. Create Interesting Boards – Pinterest allows you to create image boards that contain information pertinent to your business. Boards are customizable: you name your boards and select the category they fall under (i.e., apparel, photography, science and nature, travel).


ZaggDaily Pinterest Profile

2. Content – This is the fun part! The sky is the limit and all you need to be able to pin something is a URL. If you sell products, this is a no-brainer: Just add images to your boards, of the products you want people to see and share. But you don’t have to sell products to use Pinterest. If you offer a service, pin that! Add images to your boards that complement the services you offer. The fun part of Pinterest is that you can pin things that are related to your products or services, not just the things you offer. The image to the right has two boards of specific products this company sells, but also a selection of items that are related to their products, and even a few random things they found cool. Pinterest Post

3. Share! – Pinterest has a goodies page where you can get a button to add to your site, blog or products to make pinning easy. Just a few steps will make following your business or sharing your products or services easy. The image here shows a company that’s incorporated different ways for shoppers to share info about their products, including a Pin It button. This may or may not be my managers new headboard found while researching this post.

Dansko Facebook Post

I’ve seen a few of the brands that I follow on Facebook also sharing their Pinterest boards. Using a social media platform to advertise another social platform? Awesome! All those followers you’ve cultivated will love to see more about your company in a new and exciting space. Plus, it gives you more resources that allow you to share and keep content fresh on social media. Also send an email to invite people to check out what’s happening on Pinterest. Just like your Facebook or Twitter pages, you may need to invite your customers to find out what’s going on and email (of course!) is great for that.

In just a small amount of time your business could see a boost via obsessed pinners! Adding a pin or two a week will also move your boards up in views, making it easy for people to find you. I can’t say how many ideas I’ve pinned while researching this blog, but luckily, my manager is just as obsessed with pinning as I am, so we’ll count it as work.

Are you currently using Pinterest for your business, and what other ideas do you have for using Pinterest for your business?

© 2012 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

  • Gift Baskets Toronto

    Thank you for this article, we just started using pinterest, and i must say that it is a very intriguing social network. Very different from Facebook and Twitter. Glad to see that it’s doing so well… we needed something different.

  • Faruk Kaiyum

    How ironic.This AM my wife says ‘check out Pintrest’ it could help your business’. So, I go on Stumbleupon and the first thing I run into is your very informative article. Thank you

  • John

    It should be interesting to see what happens when one of your subscribers gets sued for stealing. Just because they agree to your terms doesn’t mean they follow them. I doubt that you are enforcing them either (Getting permission to use the said image(s)). Google image only saving grace, when they were sued, was they only took the thumbnail picture, your site takes the full size. Hope you got good lawyers.

  • Caprina

    Updated Terms of Service
    Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on an update to our Terms. When we first launched Pinterest, we used a standard set of Terms. We think that the updated Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, and Privacy Policy are easier to understand and better reflect the direction our company is headed in the future. We’d encourage you to read these changes in their entirety, but we thought there were a few changes worth noting.
    Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.
    We updated our Acceptable Use Policy and we will not allow pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse.
    We released simpler tools for anyone to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements.
    Finally, we added language that will pave the way for new features such as a Pinterest API and Private Pinboards.
    We think these changes are important and we encourage you to review the new documents here. These terms will go into effect for all users on April 6, 2012.
    Like everything at Pinterest, these updates are a work in progress that we will continue to improve upon. We’re working hard to make Pinterest the best place for you to find inspiration from people who share your interest. We’ve gotten a lot of help from our community as we’ve crafted these Terms.
    Ben & the Pinterest Team
    Aka, you don’t have to worry about their TOS anymore!!

  • Wolfie_Rankin

    Pinterest TOS
    “By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.”
    Bother, said Pooh.

  • Automobile Accident Attorney

    This helped me to understand pintrest better, it does seem to be an up and coming “etsy” except you don’t have to buy everything, rather you can learn how to do stuff too. I love the site, I just want to know how to use it to my advantage 😉 thanks!


    Their contribution comes at just the right time. I’ve just found out Pinterest began on Saturday, creating a meeting on Sunday and three days later, I have about 10 followers. I am a broker and pass some announcements at this time with incredible views have, so I called my Wall million-dollar views. Thanks for the info, I’m about to do, play with it some more and check out the other lists.

  • Chrissy

    Pinterest was created by women, for women. It should stay that way. Online services, entertainment, and social media in general are just better when they exist in various categories that target gender-specific demographics. Twitter and Facebook, for example, were fun and interesting until they were well known by either sex, because believe it or not, there is a gap in between both genders, and basic biological differences exist within either of them. In lamence terms, the female version of “you” would be in stark contrast to a male “you”. Pinterest should stay full of women. And women should stay the hell away from the next social medium.

  • bknixon

    Pinterest could use more men, 97 percent of its users are women.

  • Judy

    These past few days I have seen a few articles over the issue of copyright and Pinterest terms of service. For businesses that have products to sell and who would therefore be pinning their own products, copyright issues present no problem, but for those of us who provide services it does make it more challenging.

  • Stacey

    I have also recently joined Pinterest and was interested to see how my product pics would go. I found over just a week I had a heap of people re-pinning my pics and being directed to my Facebook Page A great Marketing Rescource! Thanks!

  • Morris May

    Jill… great insight, as I had never really thought of it in that way for business. Their demographics of users is amazing, particularly here in the UK. Mostly women with very high disposable income (more so than the US)… perhaps the opposite of Groupon users?

  • Elizabeth Osborne

    I’m confused. From Pinterest’s “Pinning Etiquette”:
    “Avoid Self Promotion
    Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.”
    I noticed Whole Foods did not list their own products or prices….but Zagg did.
    Do you think all this will change and Pinterest will encourage commercial use?

  • Magdalena Valderrama

    Thanks for keeping us up to date. Someone at our Board meeting mentioned that we have to do this, and I had never heard of it.

  • Mindy Rosso

    New obsessive pinner here! Thanks for the article. Do you know what kinds of processes they’ve put in place to prevent/minimize too much commercialism in their community?

  • Barbara Jacobs

    As with Nancy and Jim above, I’ve had many notices of being followed, and I always ‘follow back” but have yet to actually add anything. Somehow I thought that it was not “allowed” to post one’s own products or services. You’ve encouraged me even more to actually participate! Thanks for your post.

  • Nicole Kowalk

    Very timely article. My blog must be outside the norm. Pinterest drives by far the most traffic to my site. And this before I put a Pin It button on my posts (just did that yesterday).

  • Becky Starr

    One of my employees has been pinning things and I wasn’t sure how it would work for the business. Thanks for the information. My only concern at this point is, as a small business owner, how do I keep up with all of the social media I’m trying to do (Facebook, Twitter, now Pinterest) and still get to things like accounting and selling our product?

  • Claudia Buchanan

    We are getting great traffic from Pinterest.

  • Diane Silverman

    Your article comes at the perfect time. I just found out about Pinterest on Saturday; started to create a board on Sunday and 3 days later I have about 10 followers. I am a Real Estate agent and happen to have some listings right now with incredible views, so I called my pinboard Million Dollar Views. Thanks for the info, I’m going back now to play with it some more and check out other pinboards.

  • Barbara

    Very interesting. Have seen several sites with the little “PinIt” button and was wondering what it was all about and how it works. Now I have a better idea and want to look into it more.
    Thank-you for sharing!

  • Denise Clappier

    Thanks for the article Jill. We have just gotten on board with this in our webstore and excited to see if it takes off –

  • Val


    Very excited about the opportunities Pinterest presents!
    Great article and infographic – I pinned it of course!

  • atomni

    Pinterest will quickly become an absolutely requirement in web marketing strategy, it’s already surpassing YouTube and LinkedIn in daily traffic – interesting stuff!

  • Jim Grillo, CMP

    It seems that one must be invited to join pinterest. I just requested. Great article and thank you for motivating me to join!!

  • Nancy Cohen

    Thanks, this is helpful information. I’ve recently joined Pinterest but have yet to get involved.

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