Getting Interested in Pinterest

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NEW YORK—One of the newer social media-driven sites which has been generating a lot of consumer interest in the past year is Pinterest. Consumers can "pin" images that they like, want to remember, suggest to friends, organize and comments are shared with Pinterest's growing number of users. In fact, the site's traffic has exploded—since August, it's grown from one million to four million users today.

Pinterest lets users organize and share "all the beautiful things" they find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, users can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share interests.Among images of collectibles, food, favorite apparel items, restaurants and home design inspirations are a growing number of eyewear images—posted by Pinterest users who like the designs and want to recommend them.

Pins are encouraged to be linked back to their original source; so in addition to reflecting the user's tastes or recommendations, Pins can generate traffic, particularly when posts are linked, which they are, to Twitter, Facebook and other social-sharing sites. Pins and boards can be added from a website or images uploaded from a computer. Registered users can create "boards" to categorize their pins.

Pinterest users can embed graphic red "pins" onto their own website to faciliate pinning by others. This can be done by embedding code and a number of options are provided for this.

Mashable has said, "Expressing passion for a hobby is just as easy as browsing for your next purchase. But what's even more addictive about the site–a collection of collections–is that it's just as much about the users as it is what they've posted." The internet/social media site has provided its own "101" guide to Pinterest which is a good starting point.

The site's rising popularity has led social media strategists and business marketers to see growing opportunities for businesses to take advantage of Pinterest, too.

Brands can use Pinterest to boost customer engagement and some retailers are already using Pinterest to enhance their connections with customers. Bloggers are using Pinterest to add to their visibility. Social media expert Mariam Shahab has created her own Pinterest board with an amalgam of brands from various sectors who are using Pinterest.