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Home Planning Directory Planner Resources Meeting Site Showcase How The Social Media Site Pinterest Builds A Buzz For Meetings By Carlos Carbonell Pinterest has become the latest rage on the Web. But, what exactly is it and how can you use it to build a buzz for your next meeting or event? At its core, Pinterest is a social forum where you use and create pins and boards to organize topics you are passionate about and subjects you want to keep track of. The boards are where your pins—or images—are located. Each board can have a separate topic or subject and is designed to keep or show- case your information or interest. The pins can be either images uploaded directly by the user or links from the Web. The pins can also include captions. Other users can repin your pins on their boards and, thus, spread content virally. Before you chalk Pinterest up to simply yet another social media tool that might not fit into your marketing strategy, think about this. Pinterest became one of the top 10 social networks in less than two years, it was named one of the top 10 gaining Web properties earlier this year (increas- ing its number of users by 54 percent just from January to February), and it is one of the top 50 websites in the number of unique visitors. Pinterest has been described as highly addictive, so time spent on the site may soon rival some of the larger social media sites like Facebook and YouTube. With Pinterest generating more referral traffic to websites than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, it is no surprise that the phrases "pin it" 10 ConventionSouth MAY 2012 Pinterest Poised To Stomp Facebook? Carlos Carbonell is not the only social media expert that thinks Pinterest may soon rival sites like Facebook and YouTube. Ken- neth Wisnefski, founder/CEO of WebiMax, said "Pinterest's ease of use makes it more attractive to small businesses and we have already seen small business marketers shift toward using Pinterest and divert away from Facebook. If this is sustained, consumers may gravitate toward Pinterest versus Facebook." or "pinteresting" are becoming as mainstream as "tweet" and "retweet." What started as a fun, visually appealing way to categorize things you love and inspire others to follow users' interests, has become the next giant in social media, so it isn't surprising that brands are now finding a way to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. Pinterest's Acceptable Use Policy discourages spam and promotional use of the serv- ice, so brands have to be particularly careful in the message they choose to send to Pinterest users. As such, brands are using Pinterest as a way to express their beliefs and values rather than to di- rectly try to sell their products. This follows suit with the underlying mission of social media to build relationships with potential and current customers above and beyond trying to sell a product or service. One such example is Whole Foods Market. In February, the online trend guide www.Mashable.com featured an article illustrating how Whole Foods uses Pinterest to connect with people by creating boards that express the values behind the company: "To make a lasting connection, the goal is not to promote the shampoos, strawberries and steaks that are sold in the actual stores but to communicate the lifestyle that the Whole Foods team aspires to—an appropriate ambition, given that Pinterest has often been likened to a digital inspiration board. And by creating an 'aspirational' www.con v entionsouth.com