Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram for ChambersThursday, December 13, 2012
EMERGING SOCIAL NETWORKS
It has been seven years since Facebook emerged and began taking over the world of social media. Now the question on everybody’s minds is, what’s next?
In today’s blog post, we’ll take a look at three emerging social networks that can help your chamber increase awareness and drive traffic to your website. After all, who knows which social network will one day overthrow Facebook?
What it is: An image bookmarking site, sometimes described as a virtual pinboard.
Why it’s important: With 20 million users, Pinterest places fourth in the list of top 10 social media websites.
How it works: People use Pinterest to discover and share things that interest them. Users create different boards for different topics, then “pin” images, videos, blog posts and articles to their boards. Items can be pinned from just about any website, or they can be re-pinned from a friend’s board.
For your chamber: Pinterest can also be used as a marketing tool to engage your audience and drive traffic to your chamber website. The Grapevine Chamber of Commerce pins to the following Boards:
- Ribbon Cuttings – Pins: photo collages of new business ribbon cuttings, which link back to the business’s website.
- Blogs – Pins: images from the chamber blog, which are supported by brief snippets of text from the blog. Each pin links back to a particular blog post.
- Chamber Events – Pins: event flyers that link back to the Events section of the chamber website.
- Business Tips – Pins: Infographics, blog posts and insightful quotes, which serve as a resource page for business owners. (In fact, I found this pin to be of great value!)
- Grapevine Chamber Members – Pins: Member businesses’ websites
What it is: Google’s own social networking service that integrates additional Google services.
Why it’s important: In addition to exposing you to an audience of 250 million, Google+ also boosts your chamber’s SEO.
How it works: While individuals create Google+ Profiles, organizations and businesses create Pages. Users can post links, images and video to their Page, and view other users’ posts in their Stream.
For your chamber: Google+ has several features that could be extremely useful for your chamber:
- Circles – Organizing your different target audiences into Circles allows you to choose who sees your posts. A good marketing strategy is to create Circles for customers (members), leads (potential members) and peers (other chambers), then create customized messaging for each target audience. You should also create a Circle for competitors (other local business associations) in order to monitor their posts.
- Hangouts – This is a video chat feature that allows you to speak face-to-face with up to 10 users at once. Use this tool to speak one-on-one with members, organize group chats, or host a live webinar.
- +1 button – be sure to include a +1 button along with your other social media share buttons on your web content. The +1 button is similar to Facebook’s “Like” feature, and receiving multiple +1s from people can help extend the reach of your content.
- Google+ Local – Improve your chamber’s rankings in local search by syncing your Page with Google+ Local.
Despite a large number of users, Google+ is probably not being used to its greatest potential by many of your members. However, because Google+ integrates with many of its other services (Gmail, Drive, Calendar, etc), this social network is predicted to continue on its rise to prominence.
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce is a great example of a chamber effectively using Google+.
What it is: A photo-sharing social network (that also happens to be a mobile app)
Why it’s important: 80 million users agree – a picture’s worth a thousand words. By enabling you to generate eye-catching photography, Instagram encourages your audience to get to know your organization on a more personal level.
How it works: Instagram, an app only available on Apple and Android smartphones, allows users to take photos, apply artistic filters to their photos, and share their images with friends on Instagram and other social networks.
For your chamber: Instagram makes it easy for a novice photographer to capture beautiful images. If there’s no professional photographer on hand at your chamber’s next event, Instagram can be a great stand-in. Here are some ideas for using Instagram for your chamber:
- Hashtags – Just as on Twitter, hashtags can be applied to your photos to help users search for photographs and connect with one another. At your next chamber event, designate a hashtag and encourage attendees to post to Instagram.
- Contests – Quite a few organizations have launched Instagram photo contests to engage their audiences and spread their reach. Host a “Best of (Your City) Instagram Photo Contest” and ask your audience to take Instagram photos of what they consider to be the best part of your city. Instruct participants to use a hashtag (ex: #bestofcharlotte) so they will all be grouped together. Pick the top 5 and reward with prizes! Click here for tips on running your own Instagram contest.
- Behind the Scenes – Give your audience a peek at what goes on behind closed doors – snap photos of a board member making an impassioned speech, the president’s kids making a surprise lunch visit, and any other interesting, candid shots that show the more personal, human side of your chamber.
For some inspiration, check out the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce on Instagram. They do a great job of shining the spotlight on important moments.Instagram is the ultimate two-in-one platform. Not only are you provided with the ability to create stunning photography, but you also get the opportunity to share your pictures with 80 million users.