By now you’ve heard of the semi-new social media site, Pinterest. We reference “semi-new” because the site has actually been around since spring 2010. Pinterest is in invite-only mode and possibly still in its beta version (maybe?), as there are still some kinks that need to be worked out. Regardless, the site has garnered a great deal of attention across the web (like a masterfully planned PR campaign) and even has international fans or imitators* already (however, you choose to look at it).

If you haven’t heard of the site, consider yourself warned, because it’s slightly addictive. You come to realize how powerful visual stimulation is and may become a pinning fool. Pinterest serves as an inspiration or a vision board for some, a showroom for others and another way for people to express themselves.

We know that you may be overwhelmed with all of the available social media tools, however, if this one is right for your business, you’ll find that the interaction is different and rather enjoyable. Who doesn’t like to look at cool visuals or get inspired?

Some quick ways to jump in on the fun:

Share Your Personality
Whether you’re pinning for your business or for yourself, or collaborating on a board, Pinterest allows you to share a little bit of your personality with the world. Who knew you liked tattoos and puppies, right? How does this help from a business perspective? While some may be concerned about sharing too much, sharing things that resonate with your business or personal brand allows you to attract the types of clients who want to work with you and whom you’ll also want to have as customers. Plus, they may serve as great conversation starters!

It’s Not Just About You
As with all social media sites, the goal should be connection for businesses and while you’ll be pinning for your board, don’t just pin about your business or your clients’ businesses. Yes, upload your latest products, but also share the inspiration behind the product, which may make for great visuals. For instance, a fashion designer may share a landscape scene that inspired her new collection. While it’s about her new collection, it’s not just the finished product with a price tag. She’s sharing the story.

Be Creative
You have an opportunity to share quickly with Pinterest and it doesn’t take a lot of effort for people to become engaged with your boards and pins. You can share pictures of your staff when they were kids and have your clients/customers guess which pic belongs to whom or posts pics of your pets or even before and afters.

One question we received from a client is whether they should follow or re-pin images from their competitors. This definitely depends on your business. (Note: Do not get yourself fired! And use good judgment!) You’re probably not likely to re-pin or like all of your competitors’ products, however, if there’s something you like and it’s appropriate, why not? Your Pinterest account, boards, pins, etc. may then be used as a resource or “must visit” since you’ve pinned the coolest, most interesting things, regardless.

How are you using Pinterest?

(*Updated 2-1-2012: Also known as rip-off artists.)

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