Google+ is a Google owned platform that was launched to compete directly with the social media giant Facebook. The platform had a rocky start and kicked-off with mixed reviews. Many either found it challenging to navigate and to understand the benefits it represented (myself included). However, through research and working with the platform it quickly became evident that with a bit of hands-on experience it is relatively easy to use and nonprofits can reap significant benefits by maintaining a presence on this growing platform.
Launched in June 2011, Google+ now boasts over 90 million unique visitors. Seen as an extension of the Google group of products, the platform serves as the social media arm of this dominant internet giant. Understanding Google+ begins with knowing the different areas and functions that the platform hosts and for those that already have Facebook experience there are many similarities.
Similarities include the standard profile, a stream that is similar to Facebook & Twitter, a search (Explore) feature to look for content, a photo album that also includes a slide show feature with details of the photograph such as date, dimensions, file name and the camera used and a browser based editor that gives you the ability to perform basic editing functions. Also, Google+ pages can be set up for a nonprofit organization that can cultivate followers (those who +1’d the page) and share content to ultimately attract and engage new and existing supporters. +1 is equivalent to a ‘Like’ on Facebook and helps identify content that you like, support or agree with.
Differences that make this platform unique include features like Circles which are lists of friends and contacts that can be grouped together into ‘circles’ which help keep them organized while giving you control over what you share with each grouping. Probably the most distinctive and unique feature that Google+ offers over all other platforms is the ‘Hangout’ feature which allows you to chat live with up to 10 people simultaneously through video.
Though Google+ initially can come across as overwhelming with its array of features, once broken down by area, it definitely becomes easier to navigate. Google+ is definitely a growing platform that can extend your overall reach in the social media landscape and build on your online strategies.
Basic in concept, StumbleUpon is more than just a social media network it’s a social ‘bookmarking’ platform. Users, also known as Stumblers select their interests from a list of categories and recommend web content by flagging it as ‘I Like it!’ (a thumbs up) on the page. Based on the ‘Likes’ from members of the StumbleUpon community the platform delivers ‘Liked’ content to other Stumblers. Web pages can also be shared with other members and followers.
Since the platform is tailored to deliver content to targeted groups of people based on their interests, the benefits to a nonprofit include an overall increase in quality traffic. As of recently StumbleUpon has accounted for 50.34% of all traffic referral sources and can certainly be a valuable tool to integrate into a nonprofit’s overall social media strategies.
Always keep in mind that that it’s not only about promoting your own content, but also ‘Liking’ and recommending the content of others. StumbleUpon can definitely generate excellent results as part of a cohesive social media strategy. It takes time and effort to grow a community of Stumblers that are interested in your content and also care for your cause but it might be time well-spent.
A presence on smaller or emerging platforms has its advantages provided a nonprofit has the human resources to support them. Ultimately, the benefits include reaching a demographic that may not be accessible through other platforms, however it’s important to be active and consistently maintain a presence on each platform to reap the rewards. Every platform adds another layer to your social media marketing strategies and with each layer should come additional benefits. I will continue exploring smaller platforms that can be incorporated into a social media strategy in my next post on Thursday.