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The latest and greatest social network is none other than Pinterest, an online bulletin board system. Founded in 2010, the site already has 7 million unique visitors -- and it's even found a way to start earning money.
The beauty of Pinterest is that it drives traffic to websites that may otherwise see few visitors. If done right, it can also link users to products you sell through your own website or affiliate programs on sites like Amazon.
Pinterest and small business seem like a match made in Internet marketing heaven.
For those who haven't heard of Pinterest, it falls somewhere between a social networking site and an online scrapbook. Users create multiple boards to which they "pin" -- or add -- items from around the web. This includes photographs, products and stories.
Take a woman who is obsessed with food, decor and her wedding. She would have a separate board for each category. When she comes across a wedding dress or recipe on the web, she'll pin it to the appropriate board. It's then shared with all of her followers, who can then share it with their friends.
A small retailer can capitalize on this click-of-button advertising without too much effort.
The first step is to create a Pinterest account and start following users who show interest in products similar to those you sell. Also look for people in your geographic region. At that point, start pinning. Pin photos (with links) of unique items sold in your store and website. Add things relevant to your community and customers. Re-pin other posts.
Once on Pinterest, a small business can gain a massive following. But if yours doesn't, don't worry. The site is still fun -- and kind of addicting.