Let's not beat around the bush. By now, you've heard of Pinterest and you're wondering whether yet another social presence is worth your time and effort.

Though Pinterest probably isn't right for all brands, you should know these four things about it before you decide what to do.

1. Pinterest is driving serious referral traffic

Pinterest's popularity is soaring. As a result, Pinterest users are driving serious traffic to websites. According to data from late January 2012, Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. Take a minute to digest that. Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn—combined! That's a lot of referral traffic, and data like that shouldn't be ignored.

2. Pinterest users are highly engaged

Pinterest's user base has grown exponentially, and traffic to the site has increased 40x in the last six months. It has more than 10.4 million registered users, and its traffic graphs look like the mythical growth charts you see in clip art. Potential users are clamoring to get in, and they might remain on the waitlist for over a week to be admitted.

And they're not merely banging at the gates. Once in, they are spending an average of 98 minutes per month on the site. Daily use of the site has increased more than 145% since the start of 2012.

Pinterest, in short, is growing at a rapid rate, and it's attracting a very engaged user base.

3. Pinterest can be good for your SEO

Pinterest is a massive social network with great domain authority, so your Pinterest board names and their descriptions offer you important search engine optimization (SEO) opportunities.

In alignment with your keyword strategy, you can (and should) create descriptions of your boards and the content you pin there. (Don't name boards "Great Stuff" or "Things I Like," and don't forget to add a description with SEO value).

Pinterest also offers you great backlink possibilities: The easier you make it for people to pin your website content on their Pinterest boards, the more likely you'll end up with links on Pinterest pointing to your site.

4. Pinterest can help humanize your brand

To most of your clients and prospects, your company is a thing, a logo, a service, or a product. Pinterest gives you the chance to humanize your brand. How? You can use your boards to reflect your company culture, your employees, and your values.

Sure, you can humanize your brand in other places, like your Facebook page or on Twitter, but Pinterest gives you the unique opportunity to display the Who of your company right next to the What. Is your brand committed to giving back to charity? Pin blog posts about your work using a great picture. Are your employees part of an intramural sports team or athletic league? Start a board chronicling their athletic prowess. Does your office welcome furry friends? Pin those puppies right up (you can humanize with animals, too!).

Is Pinterest right for your brand?

Pinterest, like all social media sites, is a means to an end. You need to look at what you are trying to achieve with your marketing programs before you can determine whether Pinterest is an appropriate tool for you.

In 2012, the demographics of Pinterest users and their pinning habits and interests may change. So, even if you determine that Pinterest isn't right for you now, keep an eye on it. Pinterest may suit your needs later.

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Colorful Push Pins)

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image of Corey O'Loughlin
Corey O'Loughlin is a marketing manager at MarketingProfs. Reach her via Twitter.