The Pluses and Minuses of Google+
The following is my most recent blog on Mudbug Media’s Blog au Roux about how to determine if Google+ could benefit your social media strategy.
The buzz about Google+ has revved up again lately, possibly due to the negative press that has been recently circling around Facebook, like the sharks in shark week. The press around Google+ is also driven by recent changes to the social media platform, including custom URLs, social integration into Chrome iOS app, and the debut of the “slider” feature, which will unclog homepage feeds by allowing users to choose what and how often new posts from other users they have circled appear in their feed.
Even though Google+ is a known and changing platform, there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to using it as a tool for marketing businesses and brands. Google+ is still a fairly new social media platform, finding its footing and place in the social media community. In addition, business and brands have only been on the social media platform since November, when Google+ unveiled Google+ brand pages. Even now, we are continuing to learn how best to use Google+ as a tool for connecting with customers.
So, how do you know if Google+ is right for your business?
The following breakdown of some of the pros and cons of using Google+ brand pages will hopefully help you decide if this tool could help promote your business.
Pros of Google+ Brand Pages:
- Hangouts: Businesses can use video chats to talk directly to their customers. Hangouts can be used as a customer service tool to assist customers when they have questions or conflicts, as well as add a personal touch to customer service.
- Circles: This allows businesses to target customers by demographic, interests, etc., so that they can better target promotional information and posts. Circles allow companies to reach the “right customers” with the “right message”.
- Posts: Google+ posts are much larger in size than Facebook wall posts, which is beneficial for posting images and videos, items that frequently increase user engagement. For example, videos in Google+ posts are full sized, and do not have to expand in order to be viewed.
- Google Search Results Love Google+: Using a Google+ brand page to promote your business has the possibility of a very positive impact on your position in Google search result:
- Google+ brand pages are indexed by Google’s search engine
- +1 clicks on your Google+ brand page can help to increase you search engine rankings because Google ranks +1 items higher
- Connect your Google+ brand page to your website by adding a Google+ Badge, a customizable widget that helps grow your Google+ audience and shows more recommendations for your page in Google search results
- Social reports: Google Analytics is connected to Google+ pages. The social reports in Google Analytics provide metrics and insights into brand page activity.
- Google direct connect: If your business has a Google+ brand page and someone types “+Company Name” in the search box, it takes him or her straight to your Google+ brand page.
Cons of Google+ Brand Pages:
- Limited Audience:While the Google+ audience consists of almost 40 million users, only 17% of those users are considered “active” or “frequent users”
- The Google+ Demographic shows over 60% of users are male
- Majority of users are between the ages of 25-34
- Largest group of Google+ users is males between the ages of 24 and 25
- While circles allow brands to separate customers into targeted groups, brands are only allowed to “circle” customers who have “circled” them
- Google+ brand pages are tied to ONE personal account and additional admins cannot be added, so it is critical that companies carefully consider who will “own” the brand page because transferring or changing the connected account is not allowed. Ask this question: “What will happen if the person whose account is connected to the brand page leaves the company?”
- A verification process for Google+ brand pages does not currently exist, so it is possible that someone else or competitor could create a false brand page for your company
Like other social media platforms, Google+ has its limitations and challenges, but it also offers features that other platforms do not. This changing platform can help businesses connect with customers through features like Hangouts, and understand their customers with Social Analytics. Based on the demographic of your customer base and social media goals, Google+ may be a perfect match with your current social media strategy.
If you think that Google+ may be a beneficial component of your social media strategy, check out my post on creating an integrated social media strategy for your company. Also, check out more great articles on design trends, application development, and marketing strategy on Mudbug Media’s Blog au Roux.