Pinning is in. Re-pinning is cool, too.
We're talking about Pinterest, the social bookmark site. The premise is simple: Users browse a seemingly endless pinboard and pin images they like—shoes, cakes, bedrooms, etc.—to their personal boards.
The site, thanks in large part to tablets, is growing rapidly. Pinterest now has more than 4 million active users and has seen site visits increase by 4,000 percent in the last six months.
Businesses are catching on, too. Retailers, museums, magazines, bloggers, and even marketing and PR software providers use Pinterest to drive traffic to their sites and win more customers.
Your business is next! Here are five tips to get started:
1. Pin images from your blog. As soon as you post on your blog, pin your blog post's image. It will serve as a link from your Pinterest page to your blog, which will drive more traffic to, and generate more interest in, your content.
2. Hold a contest or offer a discount. You can drive traffic to your boards, encourage re-pins, and generate buzz with contests or discounts. Like on any social network, figure out what action you want your audience to take, and entice customers with an offer that will encourage them do it.
3. People can be "pinteresting," too. Pin personal images to give your audience an inside look at your staff. You can then link from the image to the company website, a personal bio, or even content that person wrote.
4. Keep everything simple. Pinterest is growing in popularity because it is incredibly easy to use. Keep your boards and pins in line with the rest of the site by making them easy to access and simple to understand.
5. Follow king pinners. Identify the people that are the most influential among your target Pinterest users and follow them. This is a basic rule for social engagement and can help you access that influencer's audience.
Frank Salatto joined the Vocus team as a writer in November 2010. A version of this post first appeared on Vocus.com.