My love affair with Pinterest began last June after my friend raved about the site. I was instantly hooked on searching for fashion, recipes, interior décor, and other sources of inspiration. I felt as if there was a wealth of information at my fingertips that I would have never been exposed to before.  I’ve never been one to read fashion blogs or search the Internet for recipes and design ideas, but with Pinterest I find myself captivated by all of these subjects because they are so accessible. The site makes it easier for me to imagine days when I won’t live in a shoebox apartment in New York with worries of financial aid and laundromats—oh to dream.

Ever since we rang in 2012 I’ve noticed a tremendous increase in media coverage of Pinterest and in my personal followers on the site. Many more of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers are adopting the (relatively) new form of social media. These trends are supported by TechCrunch’s announcement that Pinterest recently broke the record for unique website visitors. It appears as if Pinterest’s success and popularity will continue to grow, which makes it even more important for businesses to get involved. But how can company’s use Pinterest to their advantage? What are the best approaches?

One business currently using Pinterest is Nordstrom. The company has pin boards based around fashion trends, New York Fashion Week, designers, weddings, and much more.  The variety of content its’ boards offer keep visitors entertained and provide them with links to purchase the items from Nordstrom’s website. I think Nordstrom is using the site effectively; and many businesses could learn from them. Any user could repin one of Nordstrom’s photos, therefore sharing the photo and link with all of their personal followers. The opportunities for sales and growth are truly astounding.

One of my friend’s pin boards displays how far-reaching Pinterest can be. She began a collaborative board called “Stache Bash” with a couple of her friends as a place to pin all of the hilarious mustache memorabilia they could find. The board soon caught on, and now it has over 800 followers (the majority of which the curators do not personally know).

I believe Pinterest is unique, refreshing, and a vital site for companies and PR professionals of all types to pay attention to. After all, just yesterday Pinterest was used as a channel to attack presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Who knows where Pinterest will take us next.

The "Stache Bash" pin board