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Are you using Pinterest because it’s cool, or because everyone else is? Here’s a business case perspective on why you may or may not need it.

Pinterest.com is a rapidly growing social network where you can share photos and videos and “pin” them to your page. Think of it as a giant corkboard on your wall for the world to see. If you are even semi active on the web I am sure you have seen friends post something about pinning a photo or video on their Pinboards. On top of that every social media “expert” has found a new medium to write about, be excited about, and tell you 12 reasons why you should be doing Pinterest NOW.

The Facts on Pinterest

  • Pinterest is now one of the top 5 social networks according to Hitwise, even above LinkedIn and Google+.
  • Users can pin images from their computer or out on the web to their pinboards or repin images from other users.
  • Pinterest as a company is not profitable but is generating revenue. And they are doing it from YOUR posts. They automatically scan their site for links to retail sites and where possible replace those links with affiliate links without your knowledge. Sketchy? You bet.
  • Though you’ll see the random long written post accompanying an image, by and large the site is all about visual media. So it’s not all that great for SEO.

Who benefits from Pinterest?

Companies with visually oriented products should be on Pinterest. If you own an interior design company and want to show off your latest work, Pinterest is the perfect place. If you own a bakery and do amazing cupcakes for your clientele, Pinterest is for you. If you run an IT shop and fix people’s computers, skip Pinterest.

How Do I Get Followers?

When you sign up for Pinterest you can connect the account with your Facebook account. And when you pin something you can share that on Facebook. This is a great way to start to get followers but the main place they will come from is other Pinterest users. Obviously since Pinterest is all about the visuals the more appealing your photos are the greater the likelihood of someone repinning it.

Who’s Doing Pinterest Well?

Here are some great examples of companies doing Pinterest well:

Is Pinterest Going to Last?

Social media consultants and ad agencies are quick to tell you that you need to get on Pinterest now. But let’s be honest – they are just trying to show you some added value for their services and they don’t have a clue that this is going to help your business.

Pinterest has seen incredible growth but overall the only way they are making money is by skimming off their users’ links through affiliate programs. Most don’t know this and once it gets around I don’t think people will be happy. Overall it’s a fun new medium but feels very much like fad. Use it while its here if your visually oriented products can benefit.