When Pinterest first came onto the social media scene, we couldn’t get enough of the platform. Suddenly, we had a way to collect and organize most of our favorite things in one place. Recipes, home improvement ideas, and recommended reading lists were only a few of our first boards. As we pinned—and shared—during those first few months, we couldn’t have truly anticipated how important the virtual bulletin board would end up being for small business owners. While shifting another social media platform from the “personal” side of the aisle to the business side might seem unnecessary, we believe there are several reasons your small business needs Pinterest.

Pinterest drives traffic

Pins link back to your original content, which leads to more website views. All of those links back to your site are no follow links, but they do add value to your site, even if it’s not paying off in a higher SEO ranking. No follow links still drive traffic to your content, whether that’s in the form of a blog post or an e-commerce landing page. That content can then be shared in other ways, which can include follow links. Not to mention, a site that only has follow links can be suspicious. Reputable sites inevitably wind up with both link types, so a 1:1 follow link ratio looks suspicious.

Engagement drives the platform

Unlike many social media platforms, where many users have their own content to produce, Pinterest users are happy to browse, re-pin, and share. The ease with which Pinterest allows re-pins (one of the best parts of the platform) means many users don’t bother to pin directly from sites. They browse Pinterest and follow links back to the source and not the other way around. This ease of use means once your content starts being re-pinned, it’s going to be in front of many eyes—possibly for years. Pinterest even offers something called a “buyable pin,” which allows users to purchase a product or service directly from a pin. Talk about convenience, which remains a crucial factor in social media conversions.

Pinterest offers a high conversion rate

Pinterest users flock to the platform to shop. The bottom line is that Pinterest is the greatest window shopping platform in the world. Whether you’re looking for DIY home ideas or book club recommendations, Pinterest works best for tangible items and ideas—and they sell. Even if the conversion doesn’t follow immediately from the re-pinning itself, users go back to their boards all the time to add decor to their homes or to contact a local photographer that takes eye-catching family photos. The low number of clicks needed to get from a pin to an e-commerce site makes it all the more helpful for small businesses.

See trends emerging in real time

One of the challenges small businesses face involves staying on top of trends, whether those trends involve items you sell or ideas about how to grow your business. We understand small business owners work with a small but mighty staff, a staff that sometimes means a sole entrepreneur. Market research doesn’t always make it onto task lists. Pinterest allows users to see trends emerge without doing a ton of additional research. Quick searches in categories related to your business offer a glimpse into what’s growing in popularity.

The visual nature of the platform means you can spot emerging trends, from shifts in aesthetics to shifts in what people want to read. You might notice memoir and short story collections pop up during book recommendation searches, for example, along with specific color trends that translate from fashion to home decor and textiles.

Take Flight Pinterest Tip: Use the business account option

Take the time to set up a business account for your brand or business. No one really wants another log in to keep track of, but a business account offers features you can’t access as an individual Pinterest user. Analytics matter, as does the option to use Pinterest advertising. Don’t sell yourself short if you’re not sitting on a Pinterest marketing budget quite yet. After all, all of those conversions are going to pay off as your business grows! If you want to keep your Pinterest use tied to a single account, start fresh with a business account and use the “secret board” option for your personal pins.

What other benefits has your small businesses found by using Pinterest?