Pinterest is the worlds fastest growing social network. Having achieved 2000% growth in 2012, with 28 million US visitors as of December, up from 25 million in September, Pinterest is achieving a trajectory comparable to Twitter a few years ago. However, for businesses it has not been the easiest social network to get to grips with. They recently launched Pinterest for Business, but they are still holding back on unveiling a long awaited public API.

According to the LA Times it is “ranked by Experian as the third-most-popular social network behind Twitter and Facebook.” Its real strength for businesses lies in the demographics. Forbes reports Pinterest is very popular with “college-educated females between the ages of 25 of 44.” Known as a ‘sweet spot’, for brands, due to their purchasing power, and prolific use of e-commerce and social networks.

Wired notes that “a Pinterest user is 72 percent more likely to have found an item to buy on the site than a Facebook user.” If you are an e-commerce company, or drive any significant amount of your revenue from these demographics, then Pinterest for business is something you are going to want to dedicate time to in 2013.

It all comes down to marketing. Going somewhat against the hacker culture of Silicon Valley, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, credits marketing, not algorithms, as the reason behind the websites rapid growth. Silbermann deployed a content marketing strategy designed to engage people who shared similar interests, and organized get togethers, both on and offline, so those who wanted to work on creative projects could do so. Thus better engaging, and successfully increasing the number of active users they had.

Pinterest has gone far since those halcyon early days, which now gives Pinterest for business account users a chance to interact with an audience which often admits to being addicted to Pinterest.

Images are key. Written content works, within the framework of images, so ensure what you are pinning has visual appeal. Seasonal content, contest, lists, and tutorials are all examples of strategies which work well for high ranking users and brands alike. A fashion designer, Joy Cho (83 boards, 12.4 million followers, and counting) is a Pinterest power user which Pinterest for business customers can learn a lot from. Images are key, but so is authenticity and passion. Those are two ingredients a campaign on Pinterest needs to succeed.

Sharing real life images, like the photo of President Obama being caught by the son of a White House staffer in Spiderman’s net, can form emotional bonds between a brand and an audience. Anything which projects humor, or a real ‘wow’ factor will go far on Pinterest. As will keeping up with trends which your brand can join in on and influence.

Pinterest for business is an excellent way to be involved with one of the most lively social networks in the world, providing your campaign is underwritten by a desire to be as fun and authentic as the customers you are connecting with. Happy pinning!

About the Author: Dominic Tarn is EMEA Head of Marketing for Pinster, a Socialrithmic product. Supercharge your Pinterest efforts. Follow us on Twitter @pinsterme and @socialrithmic