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updated 10/13/2012 7:16:19 AM ET 2012-10-13T11:16:19

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Pinterest is now the third most popular social networking site (following Facebook and Twitter), attracting millions of "pinners" who grab digital images from websites and add them to their bulletin boards. But many small-business owners are still on the sidelines, wondering if they should commit to signing on for yet another social platform that may not be worth the trouble. (Google+, anyone?) PinMe, a free online tool from Boston-based social media marketing dashboard MarketMeSuite, can eliminate that guesswork.

Users go to MarketMeSuite.com/pinme, enter their company's URL and instantly see how many pinners are promoting that company on Pinterest. The very basic website bypasses the convoluted alternative: applying to join Pinterest and waiting up to 24 hours to receive an invitation; once inside, a company can conduct only a hit-or-miss search using keywords (not a specific URL) to see who has pinned a photo of one of its products.

"There wasn't a way for pinners to be thanked," says MarketMeSuite CEO Tammy Fennell, who developed PinMe after conducting an experiment with her father's e-commerce store, BakertowneCollectables. She created a Pinterest board for one of the store's products, Hummel figurines, and within 72 hours had 18 followers and five re-pins. But more telling was her discovery that other pinners had already been highlighting the figurines. It was a community Fennell's father never knew existed.

MarketMeSuite released PinMe in April; more than 6,000 businesses tried it in the first two months. About 65 percent of PinMe users found that their site had already been pinned; Fennell says the next step for those companies is to create a Pinterest page and interact with those pinners. And for the 35 percent who discovered no pins to their URL, they can ignore the Pinterest hype and devote their resources elsewhere. 

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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