May 23, 201310:59 AMThe Web Chef's Cafe
with Paul Gibler
Google+: a plus or minus among your social media platforms?
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The armamentarium of social media platforms and tools used by consumers and businesses continues to evolve and grow. This growth has made choosing the networks in which to “play” and sometimes “pay” a challenging task. Among the newer ones gaining steam is Google+. While still in its relative infancy, more than 100 brands have more than 1 million followers on Google+. Among these are iconic brands like Ford (2.6 million+), General Motors (1.4 million+), Time magazine (~3.4 million), U.K.-based newspaper The Guardian (1.8 million+), and less iconic brands like humorous illustrator Rodney Pike (~1.6 million).
Supporting this growth at the brand/company level is the global uptick in usage, with Google+ now ranked as the second most active social network by the Global Web Index. It reports a total user base of 343 million, with 27% of those users considered active.
Some have argued that it still doesn’t merit inclusion among engagement tools worth pursuing because of the lack of active involvement in comparison to other social networks. Supporting this view is Nielsen Media Research, which reported that in March, U.S. Internet users’ time on the site was six minutes 47 seconds vs. six hours on Facebook.
However, since its launch in June 2011, Google+ has evolved and shown staying power and impact as a digital marketing tool beyond engagement. Some of the reasons to incorporate Google+ into your digital marketing strategy and ways to use it are explored below.
Why go there?
The increasing number of users and the increased activity among them supports adding Google+ to your tool set. You should evaluate the activity of your target markets and that of your competitors to determine if this is enough reason to support pursuing Google+.
Beyond user engagement, Google+ can positively impact organic search results with higher search visibility as your Google+ page, followers, postings, and levels of engagement become part of the search engine results algorithm used by Google. As Google says, “Your page, along with your profile image and recent posts, is eligible to show on the right-hand side of our results [organic results] when relevant to a customer’s search.” Relevant posts can also show up within search results for your page’s followers. Beyond affecting Google search results, Google+ is integrating with other Google properties, including Gmail, YouTube, Chrome, and more. Over time, it is projected that we’ll see even greater integration across Google services.