It may have a reputation for being full of pictures of cute kittens and cupcakes, but Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media sites, with more than 100 million active users
For businesses, it operates much like a shop window and is increasingly driving both referrals and sales.
So, should your business be on Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social sharing website where individuals and businesses can 'pin' images on 'boards' in order to share visual content with friends and followers.
Pinterest allows users to curate images from across the internet under different categories. If users like a particular photo, they can repin it onto their own board.
More and more businesses — especially retailers and manufacturers — are finding that Pinterest allows them to show off photogenic items and bring them to the attention of a wider audience.
With the early influence of arts and crafts on the site, women dominate on Pinterest. However, the latest research shows a changing picture, with men increasingly using the site, especially in the UK. The typical age group is older than some of the younger social media sites like Facebook, but is growing across all ages.
Any category that has visual appeal does well on Pinterest. Retailers and manufacturers, in particular, are finding that Pinterest provides the ideal shop window for their wares. Popular categories include interior décor, design, arts and crafts, food and drink, photography, beauty, fashion, fitness, jewellery and accessories. Infographics are also very popular on the site.
Pinterest creates a lot of online referral traffic so it’s great for attracting attention. And perhaps because it's smaller than the big social media sites, it can be easier to stand out from the crowd.
Major retailers like Ikea, House of Fraser and ASOS are big Pinterest users. But small businesses are also finding ways to attract attention on the site.
Pinterest has introduced Pinterest for Business, a resource showcasing best practices, case studies and creative solutions for companies.
Create a board on any subject that interests you, and then browse the site and get pinning. In the Pinterest Goodies tab there is a Pin It button so you can drag and drop images into your favourites bar.
Pinterest allows you to follow others, like, comment on and repin what they post. As with all social networking sites, there are guidelines to follow — or Pin Etiquette.