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An Overdue Argument for Google+
Posted on April 3rd 2014
When Google+ launched, I remember waiting with baited breath for my invite to join the platform to hit my inbox. I was hopeful that the search, technology and innovation juggernaut, Google, would be able to create a social media platform that would be a smash success.
Despite being what I feel to be a really smartly designed platform, combining my favourite aspects of Facebook and Twitter with a dash of Google’s own secret sauce, Google Plus was quickly dismissed by many, and was widely considered devoid of any real social activity – and by ‘social activity’, what I mean is that nobody seemed to be using it.
However, there have been reports circulating recently citing unbelievable stats along the lines of Google+ having over 1 billion registered users and almost 400 million monthly active users.
When I first saw those numbers I thought, ‘what do they actually mean?’, and, ‘can they possibly be true?’.
Particularly given the tight integration of Google+ with other Google-owned platforms, namely YouTube and Gmail, it left me wondering if there was some stat padding being done to reinvigorate interest in the network.
And, apparently I wasn’t the only one that thought those stats seemed questionable.
Not relying on Google’s numbers, Forrester recently ran their own survey asking 60,000 online adults which social sites they use to get a solid sense of the actual popularity of this – commonly thought to be – not so popular social media network.
As for the results – Google+ may have just been validated as a bonafide social media heavyweight, right alongside the likes of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn – and yes – even Facebook.
Here are some of Forrester’s key findings:
22 percent of online adults visit Google+ each month
This is apparently a similar number of online adults that use Twitter monthly. More impressive is that this is a higher percentage of people than those who use LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
Top brands have collected 90 percent as many fans on Google+ as they have on Twitter
To give this added context, this is apparently more followers than these top brands have on YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram combined.
Google+ posts generate nearly as much engagement per follower as Facebook posts
The margin cited here between Facebook and Google+ is really close. What makes this more impressive is that engagement per user, per post on Google+ is almost twice as high as engagement on brands’ tweets.
So, what should you do with this information?
Well, there are a few things you may want to mull over:
Evaluate whether your audience is on Google+
Just because there are apparently large numbers of people on Google+, doesn’t necessarily mean that your audience is on Google+. Do your due diligence to find out. If you discover that droves of your current or prospective consumers are on the platform, then you may want to consider adding it to your social media marketing platform mix.
Create a correlation between activity on the platform to achieving business goals
You need to be able to justify the added responsibility of sustaining activity on Google+ before you invest the resources necessary to do so. If you can identify a correlation between prospective activity on the platform and achieving your business goals, then consider pursuing it further. And if not, then give it a pass (for now anyway).
Devise an approach for adding value and interacting
There really isn’t much point to jumping on the Google+ wave if you have no approach in place to add value or interact with your audience in meaningful ways. In fact, if you register an account and let it stagnate, you may leave any visitors to your profile with a negative perception of your business, which of course is the complete opposite to what you should be trying to achieve.
Have Forrester’s findings changed your perception of Google+?
Does this make you consider ramping up activity on the platform?
Are you already achieving success on Google+?
If so, how have you used the platform unique ways to be so effective?
It would be great to discuss this more with you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial