Unlike other conventional social networks, which are generally accessed through a single website, Google has described Google+ as a “social layer” consisting of not just a single site but rather an overarching “layer” that covers many of its online properties. According to social media news website Mashable, Google+ integrates across a number of Google products, including Buzz and Profiles. One of its key elements is a focus on targeted sharing within subsets of a social group, which are what Google calls “circles.” (Circles are simply small groups of people that you can share to, each with names like friends, family, classmates, and co-workers.)
Google also has created a section specifically for viewing, managing, and editing multimedia. The photo tab takes a user to all of the photos he or she has shared, as well as the ones he or she is tagged in. It’s not just photo tagging, Mashable explained: Google+ includes an image editor (complete with Instagram-like photo effects), privacy options, and sharing features.
Another widely discussed feature is “Hangouts,” Google’s new group chat. Instead of directly asking a friend to join a group chat, users instead click “start a hangout” and they’re instantly in a video chatroom alone. At the same time, a message goes out to their social circles, letting them know that their friend is “hanging out.” Friends can then join the hangout as long as they have been placed in a circle that was invited by the person who created the Hangout.
Mashable also has reported that users are spending an average of only 3.3 minutes monthly on Google+ compared to Facebook users currently spending 7.5 hours monthly, according to a CNN report. But the President’s recent Hangout video chat may help boost those numbers going forward.
What Is Pinning?
“Pinning” the Pinterest way is the act of visually sharing content. Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share, curate, and discover new interests by posting, or “pinning,” images or videos to their own or others’ pinboards (which are a collection of “pins,” usually with a common theme). Users can either upload images from their computers, or pin things they find on the web using the Pinterest bookmarklet, pin it button, or a URL.
Pinning is not only for craft-conscious consumers. Business-to-business organizations can benefit from the use of Pinterest, especially as a site traffic driver. Any business that relies on driving a high-volume of website traffic to increase sales, should consider joining Pinterest, said Mohawk Paper. Early research shows it is more effective at driving traffic compared to other social media sites -- even Facebook.
The biggest challenge for B2B companies wanting to use Pinterest as a marketing channel has been a lack of visual content. Luckily, print firms and marketing services providers are in charge of their customer’s visual content, so taking charge of integrating Pinterest into overall campaigns is a natural fit. The visual content is already there:
Ebooks, brochures, and white papers create a board with instant credibility.Include photos of happy customers using your products!Interesting videos that your business has produced, including industry speakers.Showcase executive management with bios and photos.Repurpose images from blog posts.Infographics are hot—and highly viewed on Pinterest.
“Unlike most other widely used social media platforms, Pinterest provides a way to present a highly organized grouping of visual elements,” said Julie Shaffer, VP of digital technologies at the Printing Industries of America, “so a company can show off specific products around a vertical market, a product type, or a holiday, event, or specific topic.”
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is one of Pinterest’s newest members (as of February 2013, http://pinterest.com/usgpo/). The agency said it will share historic photos, videos, products, and government publications on the social media site. GPO already has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as well as its own blog.
“GPO is constantly evolving and keeping up-to-date on public trends and the popular ways to access and share information,” Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks said. “GPO’s expansion of social media supports our mission of Keeping America Informed. Joining Pinterest is one more way GPO can engage the public and continue to serve as the official link between the federal government and public.”
Here’s a look at how print industry partner Grow Socially uses Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/growsocially/ Be sure to check out MyPRINTResource on Pinterest as well: http://pinterest.com/myprintresource