Pinterest for Consumers and Business Alike

With 2 million users, Pinterest is generating more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined. The latest darling of the social media universe is undoubtedly Pinterest. Although the company of 16 people has a following that is 97% female, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg just joined. First, a refresher for the newbies.

Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard” that lets users organize and share everything they find on the web in the form of photographs and video primarily. People use their “pinboards” to plan events, organize otherwise scattered visual ideas, help decorate their work and play spaces, and generally organize, in visual context, their their favorite interests. Get it? Pin + Interest = Pinterest. One of the most viral features of Pinterest is the ability to browse and follow pinboards created by other people, a la Twitter. Browsing pinboards allows users to discover new things and get inspiration from people with similar interests.

The rub: to get started, users need to request an invite and install small footprint web tools onto their devices of choice. How do they make money? Oddly, not via heavy doses of ad serving on the portal but rather a quiet affiliate marketing strategy that generates payments for Pinterest from the retailers if someone clicks through and buys a product featured in the pin. More details on the Pinterest business model here. Interesting, yes. Disruptive, certainly. Look for Pinterest to quickly skate toward the next social media finish line—viral, user generated content that crosses over into the consumerization of IT, and systematically monetize the strategy as their user base grows. For more on the Pinterest revolution to date, check out this insightful infographic, and read this article for insights on how to boost your business with Pinterest.