UPDATE: Please read the bottom comments about the legalities of “pinning” before applying any ideas in this post.

If you haven’t accepted an invite to Pinterest yet, you’re already late to the most recent Internet craze that’s driving consumers to some retailer (+ other) websites.  From an article in Entrepreneur.com that boasts how Pinterest will be important to your business says:

Pinterest already is driving buyers to some websites. In the last six months, the retail deal site ideeli.com has seen a 446 percent increase in web traffic from Pinterest and sales resulting from those visits have increased five-fold.

So, what is it? 

Basically, Pinterest.com is a bulletin board of sorts for each user on the web.  People either post a new “pin” (aka photo) into their boards and then other people can see them as they’re pasted on the general board.  And if you’re following someone, you’ll see photos from their boards in priority (I believe).  So, literally random people potentially can see your photos and if they like them, they “pin” them to their boards for keeping or to view again later and may even jump to any websites where the original photo came from.

It’s social because a friend of yours (or someone you follow) might post up something really cool looking and you want to keep it or vice versa.  You basically share cool images of various things from great looks in style to some delicious dish that you would like to reproduce some day.  I just went and posted some really cute pics of babies and kids because they sort of warm my heart.  Immediately, people who were captured by the images (some of them being my boys), they would pin them to their boards or show their interest.  In literally 43 minutes, 20 people repin my photos, 7 likes and one new follower of a board that I called “Cute Baby and Little Kiddie Photos.”

The key here to my success is that I didn’t appear to be doing it for commercial purposes.  You don’t want to be too obvious.  While this specific board has no commercial value to me, maybe a Child Photographer would find more value out of it because it literally gives them not only great models, but they will eventually become “social” with this board and share it or find some way to integrate into it.  As a result, the “social aura” of the board and the pinning activity can lead to someone finding the photographer.

I see this being a great website for many businesses that can produce impressive images and people being attracted to the sources of those photos.  Food related businesses, obviously photographers, companies that have visually stimulating photos and much more.  While it’s not exactly SEO in terms of improving your rankings, it is “social SEO” in that Google and other search engines will have more “signals” in that your website is popular if you get pinned or have traffic directed to your website due to the buzz that may be created by the pinning of photos related to your business.

Frankly, I haven’t been that big on a number of the social media sites that have gained traction on the Internet, but I definitely can understand why it’s one of the hottest Social Media websites these days.  I first discovered it via Alexa, I believe.  I periodically check out hot properties over there to see what’s trending.  It was either that or google trends.

p.s. Another reason why Pinterest will probably continue to gain traffic is because it’s kind of like a social game in a way.  People get a natural “good feel” when someone a) likes them (their photo rather) b) repins their pics or c) follows their pins.  So, I can see people getting off honestly on sharing and creating as much as possible so others can start doing all three of the aforementioned.  It’s like a popularity contest frankly.

UPDATE: It looks like there’s some terms that Pinterest keeps in the details and you had better read them before posting up to Pinterest for your businesses’ needs.  Read this article to find out more: http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2012/02/how-your-business-could-get-sued-for.html  In summary though, Pinterest asks you as the user to give them rights to the images you upload and if you’re uploading images that you don’t soley own or have the rights to, you’re jeopardizing yourself legally.  So, do be careful if you do use this as a strategy.  

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