Now that most people are convinced that Pinterest is not a fad and will be sticking around, businesses both large and small are looking to use it to bolster their online presence.

Pinterest consists of virtual pinboards, which content creators can share image and video based "pins" with others. You can follow other users, and view a feed of their pins, similar to Twitter. Finally, you can "re-pin" pins to your own feed, to share with your own followers.

What Large Companies Can Do

  1. Create an Inspiration Gallery. Create a pinboard and share a topic with relevant beauty shots. For example, a retailer in the home improvement industry might create a pinboard full of kitchens that use products they sell. They also might re-pin images created by their followers to drive traffic.
  2. Tell a Story. If you are a social media manager at a large company, you might use Pinterest to tell a visual story of your company's history.
  3. Know Your Customers. Larger companies have lots of research into the demographics of their customers. They can use this information to make unrelated boards based around the interests of their customers. Pinterest users will appreciate that the company has something to offer besides a hard sell.
  4. Promotions. Your company can put coupons and prices on pins. For example, you may run a contest where every follower who re-pins an image is entered automatically into a contest you're running.

What Small Companies Can Do

  1. Use Pinterest to Connect With Potential Customers. Follow-back the users who follow your account.
  2. Use Affiliate Links. It's wise to disclose that it's an affiliate link, as you can alienate your customers otherwise.
  3. Drive Traffic to Your Website. If you put high quality content on Pinterest, it will get shared by lots of people who are passionate about whatever topic or industry you're involved in. The better the content, the more it will be shared.
  4. Improve Your SEO. You can add anchor text to text in your pins. This is an easy way to build high quality links to your site using the keywords of your choosing.

Pinterest is different than other social networks because it is largely image based. The clean, consistent design makes content easy to share and easy to consume. As a result, there is additional emphasis placed on aesthetics (in comparison to other social networks), which rewards content creators who create high quality content.