There’s a lot of debate about whether Google+ is viable as a social network in the long run, and whether businesses are wasting their time trying to develop a Google+ presence as part of their overall marketing strategy. While it’s certainly true that Google+ does not currently have the active user base that Facebook has, for example, this is not really an equal comparison considering the differences between these two networks.
For one thing, Google+ is still young as far as social networks go. Most social media platforms start out unknown and gradually build a user base, so by the time the general public knows about them, they’ve been around for quite a long time. Google, of course, had the resources to promote Google+ and make it a household name before it even opened its virtual doors. So it’s important to remember that Google+ is still younger than Facebook was when it first started gaining on MySpace, and over time it will likely catch on more.
Also, Facebook’s focus is different. With Facebook, the original intention was to create a personal network, and although businesses have become more a part of Facebook’s networking, the emphasis is still on the social aspects, both with business and personal pages. Google+ business pages can also function as social tools, but their main purpose at the moment is to create a nerve center for your company’s online presence. This includes features that facilitate internal communications, like Google Drive and Hangouts, as well as tight integration with Gmail and Google searches. So even if you’re not using your G+ page for social networking, there is still a tremendous amount of worth there.
Google now automatically gives users a Google+ account when they sign up for a Gmail account, but of course that doesn’t mean that all Gmail users will be using G+ on a regular basis. Still, pretty much everyone uses Google as a search engine, and with content on your G+ business page affecting your page ranking, that alone should convince you that there’s a good reason to develop your presence there. The trajectory of Google+ as a social network for individuals, of course, remains to be seen, but as a business if you’re not using G+ to attract customers, you may find your competitors who do use G+ inching ahead of you. Given the importance of Google to the internet in general, it’s probably a smart idea to use any and all free marketing tools they give out to businesses.
What is the primary way you use your business’ Google+ account? Do you use it as a personal social network, as well, or simply as a marketing tool?