In November 2011, Google+ unveiled its brand pages feature to allow businesses to develop a presence on Google’s social media platform. This was an absolutely vital component for Google to implement in order to compete with other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Mashable weighed the pros and cons of the feature and polled small businesses to gather their feedback on the positive attributes and limitations of the Google+ business offering.
There were two positive attributes listed that are extremely pertinent features for small businesses. The first is that businesses receive an SEO boost through Google+, as the social platform will influence searches for individuals that have included a Google+ business in their circle. The second is that small businesses point to expanded content distribution, which translates into increased followers.
As for the negatives, Google+ (and Facebook) can be difficult to administer, as the page must be maintained through an individual’s account. Depending on the size of the company, there can be some issues with sharing account information. Google+ is also not embedded within dashboards like Hootsuite, which hosts Facebook and Twitter accounts through one portal. Domus utilizes Hootsuite to manage the Facebook and Twitter accounts of various clients, and the absence of Google+ within the portal can act as a deterrent for the use of the social network.
The most glaring aspect is the fact that Google+ does not have an actively engaged user base, despite what Google says. This New York Times article sheds some light on the Google+ user numbers:
Google claims that about 50 million people who have created a Google+, Google Plus account actively use the company’s Google+, -enhanced products daily. Over a 30-day period, he said, that number is 100 million active users.
Although these numbers sound impressive, the catch is that Google Plus-enhanced properties include YouTube, the Android Marketplace and Google.com, the company’s flagship search engine.
This ComScore stat is what really tells the engagement story for Google+, or lack thereof:
In a view from outside the company, a report released last month by ComScore, the market research firm, says Google Plus users spend about three minutes a month on the social network. By comparison, ComScore says that people spend an average 405 minutes a month on Facebook, the service Google Plus is trying to displace.
Google+ needs to increase its overall user base along with user participation and engagement. Keep in mind that Google+ is still in its infancy, and only time will tell if this network will become as powerful as the current market leaders. With that said, Google began running primetime television ads for its social network, something that Facebook and Twitter have never had to do. Is there blood in the water for Google+? Only time will tell.
Full disclosure: I have been a member of Google+ since the initial launch in 2011. With that said, I still have not fully immersed myself in this social network platform and do not access the network on a regular basis.
Greg Smore 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-772-2805.