Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pinterest and Google Plus: Two Peas in a Pod

Pinterest and Google Plus: Two Peas in a Pod
Cross-platform strategies are an incredibly powerful social media tool. The approach works exceptionally well with Pinterest and Google Plus. I recently did an hour-long live video broadcast with Peg Fitzpatrick and Rebekah Radice to discuss this topic.
What follows in today's column is a summary of the top lessons from the show. I'll include a couple of video clips to extract the show highlights so you can get most of the value without having to watch the whole show!

Strengths of Google Plus

Firstly, don't believe the articles that come out from time to time saying that Google Plus is dead, or that Google is abandoning it. It's a live and vibrant network with lots of great discussions going on, and Google is actively releasing new features all the time.
Two of Google's recent major releases include: +Post ads which was released April 16, Google Plus Stories, which was released May 20, and Google My Business, which was released June 11. These are major new features that clearly indicate Google's ongoing commitment to the platform.
Google Plus has some significant advantages over other platforms as well. Here are some of the most important ones:
  1. The Platform Encourages Long Form Content: On Google Plus, it's quite natural to write lengthy posts. It's also pretty common to get long form comments back as well. The result is that the discussion threads can get very involved and result in a lot of fantastic give and take between the participants. If you want an in-depth dialog, Google Plus may just be the best place to get it.
  2. Robust Formatting of Posts: Part of the way that long form content is supported is through more robust post formatting features. This includes the ability to use bold, italics, underline, strikethrough, and emoticons. These features are available to commenters as well, not just in the original post.
  3. Easier to Make New Connections: Google Plus is more open, in that you can directly message people you are not currently connected with. This gives you more avenues to build relationships without having to rely solely on commenting on someone's stuff, and hoping they decide to connect with you.
  4. Impact on Personalized Search: People who follow you will see your content higher in the search results. In addition, if they follow someone else, and that person +1s or shares your content on G+, they will also see it rank higher when they search on relevant terms - often 10 positions higher or more. Properly leveraged, this can have a significant positive SEO impact for your business.
Google Plus is also a great visual social network, with features like full-column-width and multi-column post images, large link images, Auto Awesomized photos and videos, and the new Stories feature that automatically turns your travel or event photos and videos into an interactive album. These visual features are where it intersects with Pinterest!

Strengths of Pinterest

One of the advantages of Pinterest over Google Plus is that on Pinterest, you can save all your most awesome stuff and then find it again easily. People have come up with "hacks" to save favorite posts on Google Plus, but it is not as easy to do, nor is it easy to find them again. On Pinterest, you can have numerous topical boards, and finding an older piece of content you want to share is as easy as visually scanning the right board.
Pinterest pins also seem to have a longer "shelf life" than content on most other social networks. Peg and Rebekah have observed that some pins of theirs that got thousands of repins a long time ago are still getting hundreds of repins today. Pinterest seems to bring content that has received a lot of pins back to the top of peoples' streams again and again.

Here is a short summary of their main points:

  1. Create 10 boards.
  2. Pin five things to each board.
  3. Write good descriptions for the boards and pins that include keywords.
  4. Connect with and follow 10 people a day.
  5. Pin at least three new things a day.
  6. Tweet at least one of your pins each day.
  7. Add a link to your Pinterest account in your Google Plus profile.
  8. Put a link to your Google Plus profile in your Pinterest profile.
  9. When pinning content from your blog, be sure to add a link to the original post on your blog to the pin description.
As with all social networks, getting started may seem tough, but the above formula should get you moving on Pinterest pretty quickly!

Getting Them to Work Together

There is a tremendous amount of leverage when you can coordinate your efforts between two different social networks. As Google Plus has great visual feature support, it's a natural fit with Pinterest. By being on both networks, you can significantly increase your overall reach. You never know where your prospects are most active. If you reshare your Google Plus content to Pinterest, you have the opportunity to be discovered by Pinterest users who don't use Google Plus, and vice versa.
Because Pinterest is such a great platform for discovering new content, one useful tactic is to browse Pinterest for something that would be interesting to your Google Plus audience, and then share the pin of that content on Google Plus with a longer form introduction to get a discussion going. Don't forget to link back to the original pin (with something like "Pin this for later!") in your G+ post.
Google Plus and Pinterest also make a nice matchup because Pinterest is generally a lot lower maintenance than Google Plus. When you create something on Google Plus that has a nice image, all you have to do is pin that image to an appropriate Pinterest board. Of course, you will get greater benefits from Pinterest if you're active there, especially in repinning others' pins, but you can do that whenever you have some extra time.
One of the reasons why these platforms work so well together is that you can use the exact same image in both without having to resize the images. You don't have to create a specific image for each of those two, as you do have to do for other platforms such as Twitter or Instagram. This shortens your time in creation and editing mode while extending your reach and effectiveness.
There are now tools such as Canva that allow almost anyone to create images for their online content that will be more sharable and look good on Pinterest and Google Plus. It's critical now to have large format images on your blog posts. That makes the posts more likely to be pinned, and they will grab more attention on Google Plus, as Google Plus is more likely to display the share as a large image post rather than a thumbnail.
Bear in mind that integrating Google Plus and Pinterest will only work well if you are very clear on your own social media marketing strategy. You need to know your purpose for using social media, who your target market is, and what kind of content they crave. Of course, this is good advice for any social media strategy.
Because they consistently integrate content across Google Plus and Pinterest, Peg and Rebekah have seen traffic to their sites skyrocket from both networks. It has created a 1 + 1 = 3 scenario for them. For example, Peg found that she started having good success sharing some of her best pinned images from Pinterest to Google Plus, where those same images also did quite well.
Content curation is one way Pinterest can help you do Google Plus (or really any social network) better. You can store all your best resources on various topics on Pinterest boards. Then when someone on Google Plus asks you for the best resources on a topic, you can just share your relevant Pinterest board with them. This works best if you have created different boards for each major topic area you address.
Another idea is to create a Pinterest board for "My Hottest Google Plus Posts" and pin your most popular posts there. This can make for great reshares on a periodic basis on Google Plus.


There are many ways to get these two great platforms to work together. Once you get started, you may find it quite compelling!
As we have noted, being on more than one platform exposes you to new audiences, and Google Plus and Pinterest make a great pairing. Sharing content back and forth across these platforms can bring you a great deal of leverage, and you may find, as Peg and Rebekah did, that it brings more traffic to your site as well!

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