Many people have been talking about Pinterest lately and are not quite sure what it is or if it can be an effective marketing tool. It is a social media site that has dramatically increased in popularity over the last several months. It can be a great tool for any business, given it is utilized correctly.

Like other popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is also a social media site. The name is derived from the fact that it is based on a basic board that has pictures pinned to it. Users can add and share pictures as well as like their friend’s pictures. Items, such as coffee, and businesses can also be liked and shared as an interest. Designed several years ago, it was an invitation only site. In December 2011, it has been opened up to the general population. Time Magazine called the site one of the greatest of 2011. It currently has over eleven million views on the site per week.

Like other social media sites, Pinterest can become a powerful marketing tool. As more people like the business, it will view on the individual’s page. That individual’s friends and acquaintances can see the association between the person and the business. An individual’s likes can also be shared on Facebook, broadening the audience even farther. By March 2012, the company had sent more business through advertisements or other referrals than either LinkedIn or YouTube. These are two of the more popular social media sharing sites.

When considering a social media site for online marketing, it is imperative to create everything correctly. While a social media site can make a business entity boom with new business, it can also break a business. For example, doing a small giveaway to promote a business can be a great idea. Samples will keep customers buying the product. However, when the giveaway is unorganized or otherwise not ready to start at the given time, individuals become disillusioned with their time being wasted. Many people have boycotted companies for this very reason.

This pin up style social media site can be useful for online business ventures as well as for recreation. Using this tool can bring much business to a company or website when used correctly. As the site continues to gain national attention and gains new users every day, it is a great opportunity to be seized.

Have you started using Pinterest for your business? Do you think it has certain advantages that other social media sites don’t?