Giants like Facebook and Twitter no longer have complete monopoly of the social media realm. Although they are still dominant players, new kids on the block Google+ and Pinterest are giving them a run for their money.
Generating some pretty heavy traffic, Google+ has more than 100 million users and Pinterest is now the third most-popular social network in the U.S.
But how do you determine which one to use, or which one is better suited to your target market?
Here are a few insights from the latest research on social to help you make the right call.
- 83% of Pinterest users are females, aged 18-34
- Most pins are about design, fashion and home décor
- 63% of Google+ users are men, who tend to post about technology
- Two of the biggest user groups on Google+ are college students & software developers
When to choose Google+?
1. If time is precious
There is no reason why you can’t post the same or similar content multiple social networks, e.g. Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Pinterest is a little bit trickier in terms of extending existing content as the platform is visually driven thus making the type and nature of content you’re able to post fairly limited.
If your time is restricted and at this stage in your strategy all you can commit to is sharing links for content housed either on your website or blog, then Google+ is much more appropriate platform to consider than Pinterest.
2. If your target market is predominantly male
From the stats we can see that Google+ users are predominantly male, so if your product or service is skewed towards men, this is the platform to be on. Also, if your product or service is focused around the tech or digital industries, Google+ is probably your best bet. Users of Google+ tend to fall within the ‘geek category’ (meant in the nicest of ways) so anything with a geeky edge to it is guaranteed to fly on this platform.
3. If optimising your ‘search’ is important
Google ranks sites based on a quality score. This is determined by looking at the relevancy of the content in your site and then matching it to specific key words or search terms. The more relevant your content, the higher your score, the higher you rank in Google search. Simple, right?
Well, there’s a bit more that goes into optimising your organic search than that, but having Google+ can enhance your chances of getting a higher ranking. The connections you have on Google+ will impact the search results people see when they search for industry-specific keywords.
Reason being is that content can be shared via the ‘+1’ share button, as well as on the Google+ network itself. Each time your content is shared it increases its relevancy. So if you post an article on ‘How to boost your social media strategy’ and share it on Google+, which is then shared over 100 times by others using the ‘+1’ share button, you organic search listing will improve dramatically.
When to choose Pinterest?
1. If you have time to invest
Pinterest can be extremely valuable, especially for retailers and produc- orientated businesses; however it does require a fair bit of time investment.
The key thing to keep in mind on Pinterest is that you need to focus on creating interesting engaging content. If you ‘pin’ boring images, you’re not going to succeed in this space.
You need to be able to invest the time to source, upload or create intriguing content that users are drawn to and want to engage with.
2. If your target market is predominantly female
Unlike Google+, Pinterest users are largely female. So if the key decision makes in your market are women, Pinterest is a great platform to appeal to this segment.
Visual brands, especially those that are décor or designed-focused, are almost guaranteed success on Pinterest. That doesn’t mean brands with a more technical or intangible stance won’t succeed. There are ways of creating visual content even for brands where this may not be the conventional way of doing things.
Infographics, for example, are a great way of showing stats and figures in a visual way that is easily to understand and even easier to engage with and share.
Pinterest users tend to spend a huge amount of time on this platform, so it is an ideal place to build a relationship with your customer as you have an extremely captive audience.
3. If your objective is to generate referrals
A picture is worth 1000 words. Today we live in a visually stimulated society where users are image-driven and Pinterest gets that. This has been the driving factor that has contributed to its immense success. Having recently overtaken Twitter , Pinterest has become one of the biggest sources of referral traffic online.
Why? Well “pinning” is incredibly simple and where users can post/pin pictures of their favorite products, restaurants, places to visit, etc ,within seconds, without having to leave their current browser.
Although increased traffic is great, something to keep in mind that you need to make sure you have sufficient analytical and measurement tools in place to allow you to track the quality of your traffic. Looking at the visitor-to-lead or the lead to- conversion rates will give you an indication of how well the platform is performing and allow you to assess whether the time invested is worth the results.
Don’t rush in
Before jumping in feet first, start by answering a few of these questions, which will help guide you into making the right choice as to which platform to focus on.
- Does your business’ target audience have a heavy skew in one industry, job type, or gender? If so, this may be key in deciding whether Google+ or Pinterest is better suited to your audience.
- Do you have budget to allow someone on your team (or hire someone externally) to spend more time on social media? If you don’t have the budget or the time at this point, rather focus on maintaining what you already have in play. The worst thing you can do in this space is mess up. It’s far more valuable to manage fewer platforms well than many badly.
- Do you have sufficient reporting and analytical systems and software in place? If not, you won’t be able to see how much of the traffic you are getting from Google+ or Pinterest and how much of that traffic is converting into leads and new customers. Without sufficient analytical and measurement tools in place you might get caught up on the quantity of the traffic, but leave you without and insights into its quality.
The key thing to remember is no matter which of these social media networks you go with, they need to be incorporated into the rest of your marketing activity. They won’t be nearly as effective if operating in isolation. So plan and strategize beforehand to ensure that all your platforms are aligned, and suitable ones selected, before taking the plunge.