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The Other Platforms: Where businesses are seeing social media opportunities

Businesses and organisations with a social media presence are becoming an increasingly everyday occurrence. Yet, as companies continue to experiment with new digital channels to reach existing and fresh audiences, the number of social platforms available is becoming ever-greater and even more diverse.

Sites such as Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr may not be boasting the same kind of user numbers as Facebook and Twitter, but for many their value lies in the quality of traffic rather than the quantity. So just how suitable are this fresh crop of social networks for business-shaped endeavours? And should Facebook and Twitter be worried?


Perhaps the social media platform with the most buzz currently, Pinterest allows its users to ‘pin’ content (such as images and video) to digital pinboards by uploading from their own devices or using the ‘pin it’ button to save stuff from other user’s boards.

The site boasts a uniquely female-skewed user base and is seeing some businesses including Sony and Confused.com engaging well with audiences. Fashion and craft retailers are also reporting good value. One example is Boticca, a jewellery and accessories site which has seen Pinterest become its No. 1 social referrer and ‘pinners’ spending more money on average when they get to the site.


Google’s latest entry into the world of social media has been quick to entice brands. This is little surprise, the platform already has 90m+ users (according to PlusDemographics.com) and the name itself commands a certain degree of authority.

Rather than ‘fans’ or ‘followers’ as with Facebook and Twitter, Google+ deals in circlers. According to a recent report from Simply Measured, 22% of the top 100 brands on Google+ have more than 100,000 circlers with the automotive industry proving the most popular vertical. However, engagement is a big question with the service. Simply Measured sees engagement improving for brands, too – but it remains to be seen whether this and circler numbers convert.

Another benefit emerging is Google ranking Google+ posts in search rankings (top right of the SERPs) – fresh content via Google+ may be a good way to get your brand seen in Google aside from the organic and paid search listings.


Tumblr is referred to as a blogging service and a microblogging service, but also blends elements similar to Pinterest (quick reposting from other Tumblogs) and Facebook (a newsfeed). Ultimately, it is a very simple way to post content online – and easily adaptable should you want to post more visual content, or more typical text-based fare.

The service is already home to more than 30m blogs, with an audience which is largely made up of younger users (56% are under 34, according to Mashable). Unsurprisingly, businesses with this target demographic in mind are already trying out the service in an effort to engage users and drive them to their websites. To date, posts with a visual aesthetic are performing best (i.e. being shared most) and businesses producing this kind of content – including fashion, music and food – are finding the most value in the service.

A threat to Facebook et al?

Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr are all relative newcomers to the social scene and are all seeing relatively impressive growth in popularity and engagement. As with all new networks, it takes a little bit of time to see whether the effort businesses are taking to establish a presence pays off in terms of users coming to their sites and spending money.

The key is for businesses to remember to research the type of companies and content which look to be doing well on newer social services, before taking the time to dive in. But it is important to acknowledge that there is more to social media marketing than making a Facebook page – and there may be networks where the kind of content you’re producing can go that bit further, or can have other benefits beyond simply spreading your posts far and wide.

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