The “new” social media channels

The two newest social media pilot projects at Boston College are Pinterest and Google+. These channels will be the topics up for discussion at the Student Affairs social media roundtable on Friday, April 13.

HubSpot just came out with a new eBook, Battle of the New Social Networks, (download the free PDF here). In framing the discussion, HubSpot states: “Last Monday, Google+ reached 100 million active users while Pinterest was rated the third most-visited social network in the U.S. For marketers, these networks can’t be ignored.”

Pin This: US News just published a story about the growth of Pinterest at colleges and universities and the struggle to justify the resources to yet another social media channel. The article states: “For schools looking to promote admissions, people between the ages of 25 and 34—which would traditionally be alumni—make up nearly 30 percent of Pinterest’s overall users, according to comScore; users between the ages of 18 and 24 make up about 17 percent, and users between 12 and 17 years old make up about 4 percent.” US News then focuses on Drake University, and the great work they are doing with this medium. It is one of the schools we follow closely. Click here to see their page.

Taking a step back, one of the best articles we’ve found that both explains and educates about Pinterest basics is here: “The Ultimate List of Pinterest Tips” from BloggingWithAmy. In this article, Amy Lynn Andrews provides a great Pinterest primer, points to the official Pinterest guidelines and shared some of her own Pinterest pet peeves. All are important, not only to figure out how to administer a successful page, but also to find out what annoys people.

Amy’s blog post also dives into the issue of copyright surrounding this medium. (And here is the article by Joel Garcia that is credited with bringing the whole issue to the forefront) While great for driving traffic to blogs or a website, there are very real concerns about ownership of digital materials. (Here’s an article by Dave Copeland at ReadWriteWeb that explains how Pinterest is getting around the copyright laws.) We won’t pretend to know all the legalese, but at this juncture, we’ve decided to continue on the site, while closely monitoring the issues. (For more about BC Pinterest, read our earlier post here.)

Waiting for Google+: We’ve written a little bit already on Google+ here. To be honest, in the last two months, not much has changed. Our numbers continue to grow modestly, but truth be told, we’re experiencing far greater success on our other channels. This will be one area that we will review around the one-year mark and determine if it makes sense to continue on this channel.

According to the HubSpot, we’re not alone. After citing that general confusion of the medium among users continues to plague Google+, HubSpot states “users spent an average of just 3.3 minutes on Google+ (compared to nearly 8 hours on Facebook and nearly 100 minutes on Pinterest.) Do then, marketers want to spend time on a social network their audiences aren’t using?”

For Boston College’s purposes, we are encouraged that one of the two of the biggest user groups on Google+ are college students (the other is software developers.) It is also interesting the majority of users are male at 63%, compared to Pinterest’s 83% female audience, according to HubSpot. It simply remains to be seen if we can make this a dynamic space.

What has been your experience on Google+ and Pinterest?

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