Social Media Sites to Watch

Just when you thought your social media strategy was complete, a new social network comes along and throws everything to the wind. Hold tight. A few of the newbies that have recently joined the ranks of the top social media sites may be just the thing to complement your strategy and put your company on top – depending on how you use them, of course. As companies continue to make social media a key part of their overall public relations efforts in 2012, here are some of the sites we are watching:

Google+ – 90 million users and counting

Launched in June 2011, Google+ is Google’s second attempt to compete with social media-behemoth Facebook (remember Google Buzz?). The site is similar to Facebook in the way you can update your page, but a unique feature is the ability to hold a “hangout.” A hangout is a video chat with up to nine friends – which can be useful for a business both internally and externally. There are a number of ways to utilize this tool. For example, President Obama experimented with it in January to connect with voters, and just before the Super Bowl, players from the New York Giants hosted a set of hangouts.

However, much attention of late has been paid to the site’s release of “Search Plus Your World.” This effectively means “Google+ results will be blended with the traditional ‘authoritative results,’” as explained in a recent Mashable.com article. Users will see results from people in their “Circles” – which are groups of friends labeled by the user – when logged in to Google+. This also will give priority in search rankings to Google+ pages over more relevant results that may be on other social networks. This will become important for companies to integrate into their SEO strategy.

There is much to talk about when it comes to Google+, but for fear of turning this post into a novel, let’s move on to Pinterest.

Pinterest – “Social Media’s Rising Star”

So, what is Pinterest and why should you care? Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows users to “pin” – or collect – photos and videos from the Web and post them to their “boards.” I like to think of it as a digital scrapbook. It’s addicting to say the least. That’s why the site’s traffic stats are impressive. With more than 10 million unique visitors, the average visitor spends 88.3 minutes on the site, putting it behind only Facebook and Tumblr. While most social networking sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, have more visitors, they fall behind Pinterest in time spent.

*Image from Jan. 29 article on Mashable.com

Not sure Pinterest is for you? Here is something else to consider: In January, Pinterest drove more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent article on Mashable.com. It’s hard to ignore the numbers.

Whether Pinterest or Google+ is for you, it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds this year in the social media realm with these new players.

And as always, feel free to give us a call to learn more about how these and other social networking sites can complement your public relations strategy.

Christina Morton is an account executive specializing in social media at CBR.

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