Both of these social networks have broken up the Twitter/Facebook monopoly. In the last year, Google+ has gained 100 million active followers and Pinterest has expanded rapidly to become the 3rd most popular social network.
Not surprisingly, marketers have taken notice. Making Google+ and/or Pinterest part of your social media strategy is a smart move. Based on their early performances, these social networks will be an integral part of an effective social strategy from here on out.
Choosing one or the other isn’t necessary – but it’s a smart move if you want more targeted social media marketing. Each social network has distinct user groups, specific benefits and a few drawbacks.
Taking a Look at the Stats
Understanding the difference between Google+ and Pinterest is as simple as looking at the stats for each social network:
What to know about Google+:
- As of April 2012, Google reports that Google+ now has 170 million active users. (Google)
- As of January 2012, American users spent an average of 3.3 minutes on Google+. (eMarketer)
- Websites using the +1 button generate 3.5x the Google+ visits than sites without the button. (HubSpot)
- Two of the biggest user groups on Google+ are college students and software developers. (Remcolandia)
- 63% of Google+ users are male. (Remcolandia)
- Over 40% of marketers report that Google+ is “useful to critical” for their business. (HubSpot 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report)
- Google+ is expected to attract 400 million users by the end of 2012. (Remcolandia)
What to know about Pinterest:
- As of February 2012, Pinterest had accumulated 10.4 million users. (AppData)
- As of January 2012, American users spent an average of 97.8 minutes on Pinterest. (eMarketer)
- As of January 2012, Pinterest accounted for 3.6% of referral traffic. (Shareaholic)
- The top interests on Pinterest in the U.S. include crafts, gifts, hobbies/leisure, interior design, and fashion designers/collections. (Ragan.com)
- 80% of Pinterest’s users are female. (comScore)
- Pinterest referrals spend 70% more than visitors referred from non-social channels, including search, according to industry reports. (Wayfair)
- With over 11 million unique monthly visitors (and counting), Pinterest became the fastest standalone website to eclipse the 10 million per month mark ever. (PR Daily)
The growth of both social networks has been impressive – but they clearly have different audiences and different benefits. In order to use one or the other effectively, you need to evaluate your goals.
Know What You Want from Social Media
Knowing your organization’s needs and capabilities for social media marketing will help you select between Pinterest and Google+.
Is your business targeted specifically toward a particular industry, job or gender?
Use the social network that your ideal clients are using. For example, if your target market is developers and other marketers, Google+ is a natural fit. For crafts based businesses, food related companies and products for a female audience; Pinterest would be a much better choice. Speak to the crowd by picking the right platform.
What Type of Traffic are You Seeking?
Google+ has some unique search engine optimization benefits. Sharing your own links and resources can improve your quality score for your entire site. Having Google+ can enhance your chances for a higher search engine ranking.
Alternatively, Pinterest is a terrific referral traffic generator. If you have some interesting visual elements, product pictures or infographics that you want to spread across the social web, Pinterest is the way to go. Sharing visuals and images can bring more targeted visitors directly to your website.
Can You be Involved Enough to Make an Impact?
Before diving in, do you have the resources to manage another platform effectively? Although Google+ users spend less time on the site than Pinterest users do on their social media platform choice, both require investment and community involvement.
You can’t expect to start a profile, update it infrequently and reap any benefits. It’s better to be involved on a few platforms effectively than spread your resources too thin.
Pinterest vs. Google+ isn’t an issue that will go away anytime soon. With their meteoric rise in users and traffic potential, one or the other is worth your businesses’ time. It just depends on your target market, your traffic goals and your resources.
Do you use Google+ or Pinterest? Or both? Why?
Courtney Ramirez is a proud graduate of the SuccessWorks’ SEO Copywriting Certification training program, and CEO of Six Degrees Content. She is passionate about helping small businesses compete with the big boys with skilled SEO copywriting and content marketing. You can connect with Courtney at her brand’s Google Plus page, Facebook, LinkedIn, and on Twitter @CourtneyRamirez.
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photo thanks to TheBusyBrain