Driving more traffic to company websites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, Pinterest is forcing marketing professionals across the globe to stand up and pay attention.

The concept, of sharing images via a ‘pin board’, means that the best images (usually those that are funny or interesting) have the potential to go viral just as they may on Facebook. Currently, it is still necessary to request an invite to join the service.

The platform allows individual users to post images to their ‘pin board’ that they wish to share. You can also set up multiple pin boards in order to categorise your images. Other users can then share your images with their followers (this can be likened to a retweet on Twitter).

So what does this mean for small businesses, I hear you ask? Well, if you are a retailer or someone who has a particularly visual offering, then Pinterest is a great way of showcasing your products. You can post images of new ranges, and include details of price and product descriptions. If you are a service organisation, however, Pinterest should still not be underestimated.

Like most social media platforms, Pinterest is a great way of maintaining relationships with existing clients, as well as building relationships with prospects. Many of the businesses that are currently using Pinterest are posting images that are associated with their brands, or that they believe will be appealing to their target consumers, rather than focusing on product images.

They are also following the images posted by their customers. Most marketing professionals have already concluded that the constant focus on sales messaging over social media does not work.

Is it measurable? Of course it is! Start tracking Pinterest as a referral source on your website analytics, and consider a promotion that is exclusive to followers on Pinterest. After a few months, you should start to notice referrals and/or sales which have originated from the site.