So, you deleted your MySpace account, finally got the hang of another “new” Facebook layout, and now you’re hearing about Google+. In the world of social media, the only constant is change so get ready to embrace it, because Google+ is most likely here to stay. Comparing Google+ to Facebook isn’t exactly comparing apples to apples. Facebook is pegged as a social network, ideal for sharing photos, news and chatter among friends. Google+ is being looked at as a social media tool better suited to business, but the extent to which it may evolve is yet to be seen.
Why Sign Up?
Why NOT sign up? Get on there and check it out. For the most part, people are going to sign up – after all it’s Google. People like Google, people are familiar with Google, Google has a lot of money and a lot of expertise, and Google+ is already growing…rapidly.
While 50 million users is a far cry from Facebook’s 1.8 billion users, it’s still 50 MILLION users (and growing) since its launch in August, making Google+ the fastest growing platform EVER. This presents a small problem in that Facebook users are used to Facebook’s features and activities. Facebook has set the precedent, but user activities on Facebook don’t necessarily correlate to similar activities on Google+. This can be a bit confusing. For example and in general terms, if you “Like” a company page on Facebook, you then become a subscriber to the page’s status updates. On Google+, you can “+1” a page; however, in order to subscribe you must add the page to your “Circles.” This difference may be minor, but it can pose an issue for members’ ease of use.
Differences with Facebook
Interestingly, one of the first things a user will realize is that a company’s Google+ page and Facebook page don’t seem any different. If your audience is already on Facebook and your Google+ page isn’t bringing users anything new, why would they create a Google+ page just to view your brand when everything they need is already on Facebook? Logically speaking, they wouldn’t, but a ComScore survey estimates that 22% of U.S. adults will be on Google+ by August 2012. Hopefully, Google execs are active Google+ members by then. All joking aside, can you or your business afford to ignore 22% of the United States’ young, affluent, early-adopter audience? Or even if you could, why would you?
A big feature within Google+ is the “Hangout,” which is being pegged as something ideal for businesses. Essentially, it’s a chat room which users can visit whenever they want. It allows users and companies an opportunity to interact with one another, and may be a great relationship-building tool. Current limitations do not permit participation in a hangout on a mobile device. Ouch…really Google? But I assume that it’s just a matter of time until mobile capabilities for the hangout feature become available.
Sign up. I know, I know – ANOTHER page to update?! Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Foursquare (and so on), you have enough to manage. You might think you’ve got all your audiences covered – and you just may – but you don’t want to be the only company that’s NOT there. It’s obvious, or should be obvious, that managing your company’s social media effort is a full time job. If it’s not, you’re just not engaging as effectively as you could (and should) be. Might as well cover all your bases and add one more to the mix.
Saving the best for last…
With Google analytics finally within the social media mix, Google+ could (maybe, possibly, HOPEFULLY) offer businesses some hard data on the holy grail of social media: social media metrics and ROI. Halleluiah! It’s a holiday miracle!
Kate Toy is a Senior Account Manager at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at email@example.com or 215-772-2805.