If you’ve ignored Pinterest because of its humble beginnings focused on baked goods and beauty products then it’s time to take notice. Now spreading into every variety of consumer good and even into services, marketers are scrambling to figure out how to leverage the new channel for awareness, and to prove its efficacy up the food chain.

In February, Pinterest became the fastest standalone site in history to reach 10 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S.  All that with an “invite only” approach still intact. Last week, Pinterest nixed their invites and opened the site up to anyone with a Twitter, Facebook or email account.

There are already industry trends on Pinterest that brands should be using to their advantage. Based on the most popular pins and boards, here are three industries that should be leveraging this channel and its engaged user base.

Supermarket/Grocery – Recipes, recipes, recipes!  Pinterest has become a go-to resource for finding and sharing recipe ideas, and social network users have become obsessed with posting pictures of food.  Beyond recipe-only sites, Pinterest allows users to create boards based on entire experiences, events, meals and more – making the preparation, ingredients, brands and final product all showcase items. Grocery and supermarket brands should get involved through support for these avid users, showcasing new products, market research, trend and influencer identification, and more.

Consumer Goods – Today 95 percent of pinners are women, but that statistic is starting to change. Currently many women rely on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration in fashion, beauty, and DIY projects. It has also become a great place to crowd source your choices on everything from home decor to vacation spots. Brands looking to make a visual impact, gain product feedback, or conduct consumer research can leverage Pinterest as a great place to start that interaction.

Event Planning – Event planners now have a database to scour for the most popular venues, styles, colors and patterns for any occasion. Everything from adoption-themed baby showers to destination vow renewals has a board (or 50) on Pinterest, ripe with ideas and even votes (likes) on the best ones. Beyond surfing for ideas for your next event, you can also showcase the amazing ones you’ve pulled off, with pictures of favors, food, and everything else on your own boards.

These industries (and others) can benefit from this channels success, capitalizing on influencer identification, inventory assessment, future product development, and the ability to reach the consumer at the peak of the product purchase cycle.

Thought there are a handful of companies offering social media analytics, Viralheat is the only one that currently monitors Pinterest and integrates analytics into their intelligence dashboard.  With Viralheat, companies can surface pins and analytics based on user-created keywords, allowing brands to tailor their sales and marketing tactics to reach their target audience. For more information on Viralheat’s Pinterest integration, take a look at their website.