Why Google Plus Is the One to Watch

ctaylorVL
Chris Taylor Brand Journalist and Content Promotion Specialist, Red Rocket Media

Posted on September 23rd 2013

Why Google Plus Is the One to Watch

google plusThere are so many different social media platforms available now that businesses may struggle to find their way around the social world. It's clear that Facebook and Twitter have become household names across the world, favoured by thirteen year old girls as much as by breaking news companies as effective means of keeping in touch, but what about the other platforms? Where do they fit into this ever changing world of social networks?

The beginnings

Facebook is widely credited as being the first social network to trail blaze the way for socialising on the internet after it was launched as a network for university students to use. However, once it received global recognition, the doors were opened for almost anyone to join. Hot on Facebook's heels was Twitter, giving people a platform to post their thoughts in just 140 characters.

This then followed with an explosion of social media platforms, some of which gained considerably more popularity than others. Google+ launched in 2011 and has progressed to become one of the main networks in use today, thought to have over 500 million members. Interestingly, although the network itself is the second largest social media platform in the world, there are still an alarming number of people who don't have it or don't know how to use it.

Different categories

It would appear that although Google+ can boast huge numbers of members, research has shown that they aren't spending much time on the site. Compared to Facebook, it's a minimal amount so how far reaching is the impact of Google+? It's all well and good having masses of members, but it means nothing if they are hardly using the network.

The important thing to remember here is that Google+ is not the same as Facebook or Twitter. It is a different type of platform, with a different target audience. There's a fine line between social media for socialising and social media for business, with different platforms falling into two categories. LinkedIn is a great example of a professional network that can still be considered sociable. You can meet people, interact, share content and create a network of your own.

Fitting in

However, you don't see pictures of people's baby bumps or weddings, their holidays or albums full of 'selfies' appearing on the LinkedIn news feed. You are likely to see highly shareable content, blogs, articles and job vacancies, as well as in-depth discussions with industry leaders across various different sectors. The fact is, LinkedIn isn't trying to compete with Facebook, and perhaps Google+ isn't either.

You'll often find that the connections people make on Google+ tend to match quite closely with those that they have on LinkedIn; a social network for professional use. However, Facebook is all about adding your mates and family members, using it for catch ups and gossip. You wouldn't upload a list of your skills, detailed job history and websites that you contribute to on Facebook because you know most of your followers simply won't be interested.

The business perspective

If you are running a business and trying to crack the social networks, it's essential that you understand the differences between the different platforms and what sort of content you should be sharing on each. Facebook is great for running competitions and joking around with your customers; it's about building a cult following. Twitter gives you the opportunity to get personal with your customers and talk directly to them, allowing them to buy into the brand.

However, Google+ is a different ballpark altogether. You are thinking from a professional perspective in that you will be connecting with other businesses, perhaps even the competition, as much as you will be with customers. It's likely that you will be engaging with people outside of your usual social circles and that's the key thing to remember.

The fact that Google+ is still gathering a following is a testament to the potential influence it could have in the future. While Facebook may be light years ahead in terms of active users, it has also spent eight years cultivating that following. In comparison, Google+ is catching up rapidly and has only been going for a quarter of the time. That, if nothing else, is the reason why Google+ is very much one to watch for the future.

ctaylorVL

Chris Taylor

Brand Journalist and Content Promotion Specialist, Red Rocket Media

Chris Taylor is a brand journalist and content promotion specialist tasked with raising the online profile and relations of multiple clients across various industries.

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Comments

Chris:


I agree that G+ is going to have its moment in the not too distant future, as Facebook is getting more and more full of spam and making it hard to protect our privacy.

IMHO, G+ is more like Facebook than LinkedIn, even though for now, the G+ crowd is more technical and more B2B than FB.

Here is a blog I wrote on the G+ & FB topic to share my opinion :-).

In summary, it seems that instead of going more niche, which I see as the future, most platforms try to be everything. This won't work in the long run, for many reasons (see blog). Unfortunately, LinkedIn seems to be on this ill-chosen path also. I am sure you heard that 13-year-olds will soon be allowed to share content with their friends on the platform (argh!). It has been the best B2B platform for marketing so far.

Best,


Natascha

What precisely is it do you think that G+is lacking to attract he masses? Is it the lack of clarity of what kind of content people think they should share, and what tone to use? As you said, FB is clearly personal and LinkedIn is clearly professional. We haven't quite figured out G+'s identity yet. 

Andrea:


that sounds like a good way to put it.

We know G+ will be "somebody" when she/he grows up, we are just not sure yet exactly what :-).

Best,

Natascha

Thanks for the comments so far guys @Andrea @Natascha. Great to raise interest in Google+.

I think there is a still a sense of "who/what are you?" with G+, as Natascha says, which as we all know seems to be taking a longer time to establish itself with the masses.

However, what I could see it being (growing up) is one of the best community platforms out there - https://plus.google.com/communities. This is especially true when you look at visually rich community groups, like the photography ones, which are exploding rapidly.

As the blog title says, it's certainly one to watch :)