Everyone’s been talking about what 2012 will be “the year of” in social networking. Will it be the year of Google Plus, the year of monetization, the year of authenticity?

In all likelihood, 2012 will have all sorts of interesting new networks, developments and changes to social marketing. But if I had to choose one thing to keep an eye on this year, I’d choose Pinterest.

If you haven’t heard of the new darling social network of the moment, Pinterest describes itself as a visual pinboard. I  like to think of it as a visual bookmarks list: it’s made up of images which, for whatever reason, I want to remember. That could be recipes, craft ideas, new logos you love, pictures of places you want to visit or stuff you want to own. It even comes with a handy little plug-in that lets you “pin” images from anywhere on the Internet and post them to the site with just two clicks.

Looking at Pinterest is like taking a mini-vacation. It’s full of beautiful pictures of beautiful things. It lets you engage in escapism and fantasy, while also letting you create a concrete to-do list: recipes to make, things to buy, places to go .

Allison Carter allisonlcarter on Pinterest

Pinterest is experiencing explosive growth–a 4,000% increase in web traffic in the past 6 months. And its growth is very different from other social networks in two ways. First, its early adopters are women. As of December 2011, 58% of all Pinterest users are female. Why? There’s a heavy emphasis on fashion, cooking and crafts on the website. They lend themselves well to pictures, and the organized nature of pinboards makes it easy to compartmentalize. But there’s still lots for guys to love: check out the technology or science and nature categories for some more manly pins.

So what’s the applications for marketers? This is a B2C marketer’s dream. Sharing pictures of your product, both shiny showroom snaps and pictures of your customers using it. Have a restaurant? Pin swoon-worthy pictures of your food. Travel agent? Share photos of the fabulous locations you’ve sent clients to. Marketing company? Pin your newest logo designs or pictures of a great event you threw. To see some great examples of how brands are using Pinterest right, check out Whole Foods and Nordstrom.

The interface is buggy, and there are still a lot of growing pains. But Pinterest’s bold design and beautiful conceptualization of the web make me think it’s going to stick around for quite some time. This is one to watch this year.

Are you on Pinterest yet?


Roundpeg, an Indianapolis Social Media firm routinely explores  new tools, platforms and social networks.