Pinterest is the latest in social media trends.  Don’t feel out of the loop if you just found out about it; viral marketing of the website has just recently begun to hit its stride.  In fact, according to a Wall Street Journal article, unique visitors to Pinterest.com have more than tripled since October 2011, and in January the site generated almost a third of the visitors of Twitter.

So what is Pinterest?  Pinterest is a social photo-sharing site stylized after your mom’s old-fashioned pinboard.  Users can share virtually any picture–and even some videos–on their own pinboard page using Pinterest’s proprietary “Pin It” bookmark button.  Visit any website and hit the “Pin It” button on your bookmark toolbar and you’ll be allowed to select any number of graphics from the site and pin them to your own page, complete with a link directly to the picture’s original site.  From there other users can “re-pin” your pictures to their own pages, and vice versa, increasing relevance on Pinterest and among search engines.

Pinterest is free to users and has been active for roughly a year, and to this point no obvious advertising streams have been employed.  However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t marketing opportunities present.  Online sellers can pin a picture on their page and by simply adding a price in the picture’s description Pinterest will emblazon the picture with a price tag, in a sense creating an online sales platform.  Perhaps even more important is the possibility of creating armies of volunteer marketers armed with the ability to share and exchange hyper-linked pictures of trending products.  Pinterest takes the power of the post to the next level.