Pinterest logoHave you been to Pinterest? If so, odds are you spent a lot of time there, compulsively looking at just-one-more page of beautiful images. If not, ask a few people in your life about Pinterest. You’ll get some animated responses, particularly from women, as they talk about their boards and pins and exactly how they are going to re-do the bathroom, travel through Italy or layout the garden.

What is Pinterest? It’s a virtual cork board, upon which you can “pin” images and words. If you like something someone else has pinned, you can re-pin it on your board. You make friends by following other “Pinners” and they can respond to our re-pin your images, and, well, you start to get the idea.

What’s in it for you? I’m a big fan of visualization and have always put “vision boards” together to help me set goals and make things happen. You, too? Then you will love creating boards for “Vacations” or “My dream home” or “Family Reunion.” So far, only 13% of Pinterest users are men. However, a 25 year pal of mine has started boards for his favorite sports images and for motorcycles he would like to ride and buy. On a personal level, Pinterest can be a fun, positive way to clarify your vision and intentions. Cool, right?  Here’s more on Pinterest statistics.

From a business standpoint, Pinterest may be the next best social media community and an opportunity to connect with your customers in a powerful way. If women are your target market, you are in the right place. A flat out sales pitch is not a good first approach. Consider instead how to make friends and influence people. Social media is replacing the backyard fence. Relationships first. Then, add some relevant, entertaining images of what you do, why and how.

What to Pin? If you do bathroom remodeling, you could pin before and after photos of your projects. Re-pin and upload other’s images, too…and comment on cool images they put on their boards. Ask for Pinners to share they best bathroom ideas with you…and see what emerges creatively. Start a board that illustrates the community outreach work you do, or tips for do-it-yourselfers. Pin pictures of clients and include their glowing testimonials. Remember to include your website address as, according to columnist, Marla Tabaka…
“I heard from more than 50 small businesses when I reached out for Pinterest success stories. Most of them indicated that Pinterest is among their top-10 referring sites. These entrepreneurs feel that their consumers are expressing higher levels of loyalty due to the community being built around the brand. And, many claim that traffic generated from Pinterest far exceeds traffic numbers from Facebook and Twitter combined—not bad for a newbie forum!”

If you are already overwhelmed by Facebook and twitter and Linked In, etc., Pinterest may be the next “should do” on a long a moldy list of social media good intentions. However, think again if you think social media is a fad or doesn’t pertain to you. Ask the next 5 people you encounter how they find a new restaurant…or a service provider. You’ll get Google or Yelp or Around Me. Ask them how they would learn how to change the battery on their phone if they needed to. See if they don’t steer you to YouTube.

Who can help me? Have a young person – a Customer Service Rep who is under 25? – help you. They are on these sites everyday anyway…they can show you the ropes or lead the charge on your company’s social media presence. Start a Facebook page. Get Tweeting and Pinning. According to ComScore, Pinterest hit 11.7 million unique monthly visitors in January, making it the fastest stand-alone site to cross 10 million visitors. Find Lowe’s and other heavy-weight companies and see how they are playing. Consider how another