It seems in the space of just a few weeks Pinterest has risen from a little-known site to a front-of-mind social media platform. It’s certainly now considered one that should be in the tool box of any savvy social media pro.

So what really is the significance of this picture-sharing site, and how are people deploying the use of it as part of the social stack?

For those new to the platform, it can be described as a stylish way to share, like and group, images and infographics. You can ‘pin’ content on boards, categorizing and naming in any way you like. You are able to upload images direct from your phone and computer, or simply use images from other Pinterest users. With an estimated 7.2 million unique visitors already pinning content it’s undeniably growing in popularity, despite still having an ‘invite only’ admission policy. (Not a user yet? Drop me an email and I’ll happily send you an invite.)

Pinterest is being used well by brands like Whole Foods

There are limitations for brands using Pinterest, and it seems that users are prevented from simply sharing images of products that are deemed directly promotional. However, creating communities around the ideas or lifestyle of your brand is acceptable. For example, if you’re a property company specializing in seaside properties in England, then you could create a series of boards showcasing some spectacular coastal scenic views to whet people’s appetites.

A good example of creative use is by Whole Foods who have created a series of boards around recycling matters, art initiatives and more as a way to promote its brand values and demonstrate is commitment to relevant associated issues.

I could imagine a brand like TOMS shoes – who, upon purchase, give customers a branded flag, encouraging them to take a picture of it at a unique location – using the best submitted pictures here, offering incentives to users whose pictures are selected. Or perhaps you might consider a series of ‘how to’ infographics that relate to your product and that cover set-up, Q&As and trouble-shooting.  What will you do with Pinterest?