The latest hot social media platform is Pinterest, which is the fastest growing web site ever and already has over 10 million people visiting it each month.
The site allows users to post, organize and share pictures of things they are interested in. Think of it as an online, photo-sharing pinboard of interesting pictures - hence the name.
Users can "pin" their own pictures, or easily "pin" pictures they find on the web. Doing this creates a virtual bulletin board that can be viewed by others.
One of the more popular applications of Pinterest is wedding planning. Future brides, grooms, friends and family members can add and comment on pictures of things they may want as part of the wedding.
One of the key reasons Pinterest is so successful is its ease of use. Great quote on this from a New York Times review:
"There are several keys to Pinterest’s success, but one of them is the simplicity and pleasure of adding a photo to one of your boards. As you surf the Web each day, whenever you see something that looks interesting or inspiring or funny, you click the Pin It button on your bookmarks bar."
Another interesting quote comes from a Washington Post article, which calls Pinterest "digital crack for women".
Not surprisingly, businesses are starting to discover Pinterest. Two good articles covering the how's and why's of small businesses using Pinterest are:
1. Duct Tape Marketing's How and Why to Use Pinterest for Business.
The hype cycle around Pinterest is just beginning, so expect to hear a lot about this service in the near future.
Pinterest is a very cool service and can be useful even if you're only sharing with yourself or your work group. We use it to store and share interesting visuals we see on the web. For us, it's kind of a picture-based Evernote (which we've used for years). But given our business, it's unlikely we will use it with our customers or as a lead generation tool.
Our Pinterest advice to small businesses is the same as all social media - it's a great tool but it's not going to be effective for all small businesses. Small businesses should learn about Pinterest, explore and test it as a business tool. If the tests show a strong ROI (remember to include time spent in your ROI calculations), use it. If not, don't.