5 Pervasive Myths About Google+

whatsnextblog
BL Ochman CEO: Maximum-Plus Workshops for GooglePlus Success , whatsnextonline.com

Posted on January 23rd 2014

5 Pervasive Myths About Google+

ImageAre you among the many who say “Oh No! Not another social network! Why should I care about GooglePlus?” You may have heard people saying it’s a ghost town, or that it’s only for techies. The people who write these things are, quite simply, wrong.

The truth is that your association can’t ignore GooglePlus for another minute. If your association isn’t putting itself in the game, it should be. But before you take the plunge, let’s take a look at some of the many myths about GooglePlus.

Myth 1: GooglePlus is a “ghost town”. Mainstream media is particularly fond of this myth.

Fact: 300 million active monthly users is a huge population for a ghost town.

Vic Gundotra, head of social at Google, reported in October 2013 that Google+ experienced a 58% increase in users between May and Oct 2013. The platform has 540 million members, 300 million of whom are monthly active users. Despite what you may have read in the media, that hardly makes Google+ a “ghost town.”

Myth 2: GooglePlus is a just another social network.

Fact: Google Plus has a strong social component, but it actually is the biggest change in communications since the interactive website.
Social interaction is absolutely a part of GooglePlus, but it’s also integrated with Gmail, YouTube (owned by Google), Google Analytics, Google Images, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Finance, Google Drive, GoogleDocs, Google Wallet and – perhaps most importantly – Google Search.

In other words, GooglePlus is now the portal to the entire Google ecosystem.

Google’s search algorithm favors content that originates in GooglePlus. Google search looks for relevance, engagement and response. Original content achieves higher search ranking when others engage with the content by sharing it or commenting on it.

That means that a GooglePlus post that gets a lot of +1s and shares will have more weight and better placement in search. Google’s new search algorithm also weighs frequency of posting and whether content is original.
Unlike Facebook, which cut off Google’s access to its data in 2011, and which hides data from Google and Twitter, all GooglePlus data are immediately and fully accessible to Google search, because GooglePlus IS Google.

Google search crawls GooglePlus for new, original content. Many web professionals know that GooglePlus posts show up in Google search almost instantly. Part of the reason is that each GooglePlus post is assigned its own URL, and is treated like a blog post. The GooglePlus search feature was added in early October 2011.

Myth 3: GooglePlus is a niche community just for techies

Fact: GooglePlus hosts communities on business topics ranging from management to technology, small to international business, entrepreneurs to large organizations. These communities provide easy access to connecting with influencers and experts who are important to your business.

GooglePlus allows both public and private communities, making it a great resource for connecting with industry peers, customers and potential customers, vendors and resources.

Privacy and filtering controls allow focused discussion. And GooglePlus users will attest to the fact that the level of conversation, sharing and willingness to help others in these communities is stellar.

One key feature: Within GooglePlus communities, your association can use invitation-only or public Hangouts – arguably the best video platform EVER – for teaching, demonstrations, presentations and more to a select, engaged audience.

Myth 4: GooglePlus is too hard for the average person to use.

Fact: There is a rather steep learning curve in GooglePlus, but that’s because it has so many really useful features – all of which are free. Sadly, Google itself has contributed to this myth because the company simply has not done a good job of explaining its new platform.

At the dawn of the Internet, a lot of people felt that email, websites and e-commerce were too complex to learn. Like the communications tools that came before GooglePlus, those who don’t adapt will soon find themselves left behind in business.

You get out of GooglePlus what you put in. It takes some time to learn to use the platform effectively. You can save time, money and aggravation by hiring an experienced coach who knows GooglePlus thoroughly.

Many of the tools GooglePlus provides are unique to the platform and they are fully integrated into and work seamlessly with other Google products, including Google Apps for businesses.

Among the cool tools on GooglePlus:

Hangouts on Air – a free web and mobile platform for video conferencing, live events, broadcasts, and live collaboration. Hangouts are arguably the best video conferencing platform ever, and they are seamlessly integrated with YouTube.
Shared circles – you can share a circle of contacts you have created, making networking simple and fast.
Live Events – a unique sharing solution that makes interaction easy before, during and after the event. These can be public or private and can allow collaborative sharing of documents, presentations, white boards and much more.
Powerful internal search – it’s easy to find content within GooglePlus. After all, it’s part of Google search.
Authorship – You’ve probably seen Google search results for articles or blog posts that have small profile photos next to them. Those are the author’s GooglePlus profile photos.

Google Authorship connects the original content you create (on your own site or someone else’s website) to your Google+ profile and indexes it in Google search.

Having your profile photo attached to your content in Google search results increases clickthru rates by as much as 150% according to Catalyst

Myth 5: GooglePlus communities are no different from Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Fact: GooglePlus communities have features not found on any other social platform. Facebook or LinkedIn are stand-alone platforms. GooglePlus is the evolution of Google, and the gateway to Google search.

With its latest updates, only 2.5% of your Facebook followers are likely to see your posts among the cat videos, baby pictures and memes that increasingly clog the content stream.

Now Facebook wants you to pay to promote your posts so more of your fans will see them, in addition to buying advertising.

Unlike LinkedIn Groups (where only human users can join groups), Google Plus allows organizations to create and join communities and participate in discussions.

GooglePlus lets your association create not only public communities, but also ones where the moderator must approve members, in addition to fully private communities.

The beauty of private communities is that these communities, and the posts within them, do not appear in Google search results. This way, private stays private. Your search ranking will suffer if you don’t use GooglePlus.

Here’s the bottom line: If you don’t use Google+ you will lose out in search rankings compared to sites that do. That fact was confirmed by Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page who said, “If you ignore GooglePlus, Google Search will ignore you.” No association can afford to let that happen!

whatsnextblog

BL Ochman

CEO: Maximum-Plus Workshops for GooglePlus Success , whatsnextonline.com

B.L. Ochman is a uniquely experienced digital pioneer who has been helping blue chip brands incorporate social media into their marketing strategy since 1996. She CEO of Maximum-Plus Workshops for GooglePlus Success,  a Google-certified GooglePlus Helpouts Coach, YouTube partner and YouTube Channel Creator. Publisher of What's Next Blog, she also is co-producer of the weekly Beyond Social Media Show and an activeGoogle+participant

With experience in verticals from cars to cookies, she’s served brands including Ford Motors, Meijer, Transitions Lenses, Cendant, Simon & Schuster, McGraw-Hill, Mrs. Fields Cookies and American Greetings. She's co-founder of the pet lover’s site and blog Pawfun.

She contributes to Ad Age Digital Next, Mashable, Business Week and others. On Twitter, she is @whatsnext. She is co-founder of the pet lovers' site and blog, Pawfun.com - where you can create and send free photo e-cards featuring your favorite pets' photos.

 Accolades and street cred: One of 25 of The Most Powerful and Influential Women in Social Media; Top 150 Social Media Marketing Influencers; AdAge Power 150 blogger. Contributor to AdAge Digital Next, Mashable, Social Media Today, MediaPost and BusinessWeek. Blogger since 2001. Speaker at more than 25 conferences.

See Full Profile >

Comments

jamesfgibbons
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 11:32AM

Google+ has tremendous benefits and early adopters will be able to make substanstial gains to their overal marketing efforts when everyone catches up. Espeically when AuthoRank comes into play, some Google+ strategies make use the many features like blog comments that the platform provides. 

sashattuck
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 11:38AM

G+ is great!

Jane Ellen
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 12:01PM

This article is right on the money.  Much of what I am hired for lately is to teach or be an admin for G+ newbies.  I fell in love with this platform 2 1/2 years ago.  It is unlike no other social media platform.  With the added goodness of Google thrown in.  The integration of G+ and YouTube make it really too powerful to ignore.  G+ hangouts change relationships.  It instills loyalty.  It forges friendships on a global scale.  Plus, it's fun like you wouldn't believe.  

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 5:15PM

Jane - I couldn't agree more. 

Business is afraid of change. Look how long it took most of them to get websites that were more than digital versions of their print brochures.

What I hear most when I coach companies on Google+ is "I didn't know it could do that!" and "Wow! that's impressive."

But I won't kid you - there's a learning curve. And it's worth every minute it takes to learn.

hailley
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 12:50PM

These are all too true, people jump to conclusions about Google Plus without giving it a try first. The most important for me is the fact that content on Google Plus gets more preference in Google's eyes. Google is arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to content distribution, you definitely want to take advantage of this through Google Plus! 

FredFarkle
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 1:19PM

Please not this again.


G+ is reviled. Evereyday the backlash intensifies.


The data shows that the number of Google + accounts is rising but then you have to ask why. The answer is because Google gives you a G+ account whether you want one or not. I have several Gmail accounts each of which now has one or two G+ profiles. I have invested a few hours now trying to delete those G+ accounts but it's an exercise in futily.

The data also shows that people don't use G+ after Google shoves it down their throats.


Here's an example of the growing backlash.

http://startupjunkies.com/google-plus-is-officially-the-new-roach-motel/

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 5:20PM

The people who revile Google+ turn out to be people who don't use it.

Please re-read Myth # 3

Haters are going to hate. Opting out of G+ email is a simple setting in your gmail settings. 

 

A.G.
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 6:01PM

The thing I'm wondering, is that when I check my gmail account or do a google hang out, does that mean I'm an active user? I see the Googl+ icon at the top right hand corner, I could click on my completely empty profile homepage...I guess. If that's the case, the numbers are bogus, even active users if they are measuring it by "each time they login to check email" and not asking a panel "which of these sites do you use daily/weekly/monthly" as a social media service, etc.

I tried to find some proof online that google+ wasn't used "daily" or even "weekly" as compared to FB, instagram, linkdin, etc. But, it looked like Pew has done the best reasearch on asking in a survey what is used daily/weekly/less often, and Google+ wasn't in the conversation. This was Fall 2013. I think that says a lot, but I'd be curious to see something that asks users what they use daily/weekly and see where Google+ ranks to the other services. I think their "active users" or even "members" hare WAY inflated, considering that I, on person who has never used google+ (that I know of), has about 13+ gmail accounts. 

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 26th 2014 at 4:35PM

AG - here are Google's official statistics:

http://www.vlogg.com/12370/googleplus-statistics-as-of-october-2013/

and here's the live video of the event http://www.vlogg.com/12262/google-plus-updates-broadcast-live-video/ where Vic Gundotra, head of social at Google, made the announcement

ginbumboom
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 11:57PM

I use it. I don't revile it.

It's also a relative ghost town. I have almost 1,500 friends on Facebook. Of those people, 4 actively use Google+. I use Google+ to interact with fellow digital media dorks, almost exclusively.

Google's "active user" totals are known to include active users of any of their properties who happen to have a G+ account. As has been noted elsewhere, it's exceedingly difficult to NOT have a G+ account. Heck, as you yourself note, it's basically OPT-OUT! Are you suggesting that it's fair to discuss active user totals where an active user is someone who a) used Youtube this month and b) owns an Android device/Gmail account/Youtube account and FAILED to opt OUT of Google+? I mean...seriously?

I honestly have a hard time taking someone seriously if they quote Google's G+ active user totals as if they're unassailable gospel. 

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 26th 2014 at 4:30PM

Barry - "Heck, as you yourself note, it's basically OPT-OUT!"

Nope, I didn't say that. I said in response to a comment that opting out of allowing your Google+ contacts to send you email is a simple thing.

You are wrong about how ACTIVE users of Google+ are counted.

Here's my article on why Facebook should not be compared to Google+

 

YaelKochman
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 2:00PM

Great article, very well written!

ginbumboom
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 12:01AM

Look, people who use Google+ absolutely love it. There is no disputing that.

The problem is that very few people use it, relative to other major social networks at least, and in spite of your taking Google's active user totals as unassailable gospel.

There's a really, really major problem with their active user totals. They count anybody with a G+ account who uses any of Google's tools as an "active user." This is even if that person was practically forced into establishing a G+ account by Google, has never actually used that account, and simply viewed a Youtube clip in the last month while signed into their Gmail. Comparing Google's definition of an "active Google+ user" to the active user totals of literally any other social network is straight up apples to oranges. 

It's a stretch to call it a "ghost town" -- I use it, I enjoy it for what it is, and there are plenty of people on there -- but anecdotally speaking it is nothing like the representation of my actual network of friends and family members that I can access on other networks. 

And, of course, I can only speak to my own experience because, as I point out above, Google's active user totals are almost hilariously untrustworthy.

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 26th 2014 at 4:37PM

Quite simply Barry Nelson, you're wrong. 

Yes, Facebook is a great place to interact with friends and family. G+ is a great place to access and interact with people you don't already know, who can be great for your business.

But you need to use the tools that make you comfortable, and that doesn't need to include Google+

FeldmanCreative
Posted on January 25th 2014 at 8:35PM

Very few people use it? Sounds like someone's been trapped under a rock for a few years.

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 26th 2014 at 4:37PM

Well said!

Richard Hamer
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 5:59AM

I like G+, it's clean and easy to use. I post regularly and recommend it to clients and use it for Aurthorship, and while it may be good for SEO etc here in the UK there's very few people actually using it.

And without a decent level of followers or interaction it just feels like I'm going through the motions.

It's also a pain not being able to link a personal account to Hootsuite/Buffer. I've havd Gmail linked to Thunderbird on my personal account for several years, yet for G+ I had to set up a Gmail address just for that. Another hoop to jump through, or am I doing something wrong?

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 10:59AM

Richard - Followers and interaction build the same way on Google+ as on any other platform. A few suggestions:

Have you joined communities in G+? If so, do you participate actively? Do you +1 and interact with other people's content? Do you attend and comment in events that are relevant to what you do?

Do you have a "Follow me" badge on your website or blog? Do you include your G+ URL in your email sig?

Have you embedded any Google+ posts on Facebook, your blog or website?

There is an advantage in being an early adopter, and it can be a little lonely until the rest of the herd catches up. But the SEO and Authorship features, plus YouTube integration, live events, and truly terrific networking opportunities far outweigh any other issues in my experience.

 

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 11:27AM

Richard: This article on 8 ways to get more Google+ followers has some good advice.

A41202813GMAIL
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 6:13AM

"That fact was confirmed by Google co-founder and former ( ? ) CEO Larry Page".


whatsnextblog
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 10:52AM

Fixed! thank you!

mobianboy
Posted on January 24th 2014 at 7:50PM

I am sorry to say it, but this is such a classic shill article. I am pretty dissapointed in the lack of journalistic standards that are displayed here. I am not a "hater" of Google+ and I don't believe the dissenting oppinions I read in the previous comments are either. However, the fact is that the numbers being used to compare Google+ to other leading social networking platforms are just plain inflated by the forced integration into popular existing  google products.

This is a good strategy and I believe it will ultimately yield great benefits for the end-user and bottom line results for Google. But, it has yet to be fully realized. Let's call things as they are please.

Also, on a more petty note, I caught a few grammatical errors and some obvious typos in this article as well. Let's try and step up the commitment to good journalism here. I hold out hope that your quality in these areas improve. Best of luck!

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 27th 2014 at 9:04AM

Classic shill, huh?

It'd be nice if Google would pay me for all the positive buzz I create about Google+. :)

Back in 2007, when I said Twitter is important for marketers, people said that about Twitter and called me all kinds of names, for which they've since apologized. In fact, many of those people are now power users of Twitter. But this is the first time my journalistic integrity has been questioned. 

Early adopters are gaining traction in GooglePlus and it'll become clear to others in a coupe of years, just as it did with Twitter. Meanwhile, haters are going to hate.

 

Posted on March 18th 2014 at 12:03AM

You keep using the word hater as if people are hating for no reason. Anecdotally, everyone I know of is a google + user but they all despise the fact that they have been forced to do this because they want to make youtube comments and review google play apps. They don't want to be forced to use their real name and they don't want everything they do online integrated. These are legitimate concerns. People aren't hating on google+ because it's cool, they do it because they would have nothing to do with it if given the choice. I have 3 google plus accounts because they make it impossible to go back and change some things (wouldn't surprise me if they count all 3 as active users) . Never in my life have I enjoyed being forced to do things. Instead of writing off people who don't agree with you, maybe you should listen and learn. I found your attitude towards the anti google+ camp to be a bit of a joke. It sounds like you're trying too hard to prove that you're right instead of being fair and balanced. I don't understand people who don't use Facebook but I certainly don't tell them their choice is wrong or misinformed. When you use the word haters you sound like Amy from Amy's Baking Company. No one with credibility uses that word. It's just the go to defence against people who disagree with you. Why have a discussion when you can just call someone a hater? 

whatsnextblog
Posted on March 18th 2014 at 3:13PM

and, dear anonymous, you are entitled to your opinion, even if you don't wish to identify yourself.

Joe Osborne
Posted on January 26th 2014 at 8:52AM

I've got to agree, this sounds so much like a shill article, like Google paying for some positive buzz.

I really, seriously doubt those 300 million supposed regular users are actually using Google+, as opposed to say making YouTube comments, which now is tied to G+.

I've got around 160 friends on Facebook, on Google+ my network is only about two dozen people because while many people have accounts, most people I know either logged on once to create an account and have never gone back, or go there roughly once a year when they remember it.  Google is trying to drive traffic there by forcing YouTube users to use G+, but that just results in people hating Google+ more.  I'm sure I count as a regular G+ user, since I sometimes make YouTube comments, and get e-mails from replies saying it's about things I posted on my Google+ account, but I haven't actually loaded my profile there in many months, when I realized that nobody I knew actually regularly posted there.

Here's when I decided I would never trust Google+ anymore, ever.  I have an android phone.  I got an e-mail a month ago or so about pictures added to my G+ account.  I had never uploaded any pictures there.  I log on. . .and find every picture I'd ever taken on my phone were uploaded to the "cloud" of Google+.  There, online were personal pictures, family pictures, pictures I would never want to share with anyone . . .including Google.  I had taken those pictures, then transferred them to my computer via USB, but apparently somehow my phone backed them up to my G+ account by default, as I'd never enabled it knowingly.

Even if Google Plus is some revolutionary new convergence of services. . .why would we want that?  I'm becoming increasingly disturbed at the idea of my social networking site, my instant messaging service, my e-mail account, my cell phone, my GPS and geospatial information systems, and so many other everyday services all being linked together and managed by one company that probably knows more about me than my wife. . .and wants to sell all that information to the highest bidder.

Michelle Gordon
Posted on March 29th 2014 at 1:43PM

You said

"Here's when I decided I would never trust Google+ anymore, ever.  I have an android phone.  I got an e-mail a month ago or so about pictures added to my G+ account.  I had never uploaded any pictures there.  I log on. . .and find every picture I'd ever taken on my phone were uploaded to the "cloud" of Google+.  There, online were personal pictures, family pictures, pictures I would never want to share with anyone . . .including Google.  I had taken those pictures, then transferred them to my computer via USB, but apparently somehow my phone backed them up to my G+ account by default, as I'd never enabled it knowingly."

 

Just so that you can stop "freaking out" about the pics your Android backed up for you on your G+... they do not show to the public unless you go into your G+ account and share them publicly.  I for one am grateful that my Android auto backs up my photos to my G+ account.  It's nice to know that I wont loose all my photos and videos if something happens to my phone and G+ has some really neat features on editing and the Auto Awesome (that's always a fun one to play with). 

Vivek Pereira
Posted on January 25th 2014 at 2:22AM

A nice article, BL. I believe firmly in the horses for courses strategy – and I feel that businesses should target appropriate social networks which they feel would suit them best. For some it could be FB, for others Twitter or Google+. But don’t try everything, otherwise it will be quite a ‘Social’ mess.

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 25th 2014 at 3:57PM

Hi Vivek - Agreed. But Google search definitely favors content created in Google+ so brands need to think about how to integrate it into their strategy.

For some, hangouts on air will be the most valuable tool, for others it will be communities. 

Each social platform, as you note, has its advantages.

Neil Ferree
Posted on January 25th 2014 at 11:02AM

There is a significant learning curve to getting it right on G+ and as with most emerging tech or social trends, the business benefit are not apparent straight out of the gate. I need to find the original source where Larry Page declares if you ignore Google Plus then Google will ignore you, sounds dramatic. 

I tell my clients to create content and CTA triggers (without being cheesy) to get their fans and followers on Twitter and FB and YT and Quora and Pinterest et al to Circle them on Plus and then I do a private HOA to show them why this so important and how this works to their immediate benefit, myths aside.

Madhava Verma Dantuluri
Posted on January 26th 2014 at 7:00AM

Good share. Google + is very very huge because of its user base and strong reachouts. I still not much confortable using it and trying to learn.

yasminbendror
Posted on January 27th 2014 at 6:43PM

Thanks for this great blog. I couldn't agree more. Google+ is gaining more and more steam. I have just written a blog on "Google+ for Your Business" -- If you are not sure if your biz should be on Google+ learn how it impacts search engine results in a big way.  This is one of the most important reasons for having a Business Page on Google+.  You can read the full blog here:  http://ymarketingmatters.com/google-plus-for-your-business

Yasmin

whatsnextblog
Posted on January 27th 2014 at 8:16PM

Thanks Yasmin! Just read your post and it makes some excellent points.

There are some issues for pages on Google+, particularly when it comes to events, but it is important to begin brand presence there, as you note.

Michelle Gordon
Posted on March 29th 2014 at 2:08PM

I use to have an Android phone a couple of years ago and it had me sign up with a google/gmail account.  I went to an iphone for a couple years (hated every minute of it after the first few months).  Switch back over to another Android and made myself a G+ account with my gmail I already had from the past.  So, very new to G+ but liking it.  Still a little confused on some things, but will get the hang of it.  I do horse rescue, intake for my county when they have to seize neglect cases, have a website and a FB page for it.  My FB page for the rescue currently has 1240 likes and my personal FB account currently has 4932.  My G+ only has 45 so far, but it's still fairly new (just a few months old).  I'm hoping that having the G+ account and page will help with being found on the web easier.  Only thing I'm stumped on right now is how to connect my FB with my G+ like it did my FB with my Twitter.  Anything I post to my personal FB automatically gets posted to my Twitter.  Any info on how to do that with G+?