Depending on who you talk to, Google+ is either the greatest thing since the proverbial sliced bread or the pariah of social media. It’s kind of like the New York Yankees: you either love them or you hate them. There’s not a lot of room for middle ground.
So, as a small business, is Google+ worth it? Is it possible to reach a large enough market to make the time and money invested in the platform worth it? And what the heck is all the Google+ hype about, anyway?
These are all questions we hear … a lot.
While the questions are common, the answers really depend on your business, its social media goals, and your target audience. To help you figure out whether Google+ is right for you, here’s the scoop on the newest player in social media game.
What Is Google+?
When the social media platform surfaced in June of 2011, Google+ was the new “it” thing that gave Mark Zuckerburg a migraine. An invitation-only site that threatened to knock Facebook off its high horse, it was toted as the be all and end all of social media.
And then – well, it wasn’t. Well, not initially, at least.
Most people expected it to be another Facebook. But it’s not. The site is designed to be a human communication tool and many of its users never understand the super cool potential. With posts, circles, and hangouts, it can be confusing for first-time visitors. It’s only when you start to peel off the layers that its full capabilities come shining through.
Although Google+ advertises more than 500 million registered users, less than half of those users are actually active (i.e. use the platform) in any given month. Still, in what other medium can you reach 235 million people?
Google+ boasts tons of features that can be useful for small business marketing. Their hangouts allow you to video chat with your customers, 10 at a time, and get real feedback. The site also allows your Google+ page to link to your ads in a process called “annotations,” enabling your website to show Google+ content, reviews and kudos.
Google+ is the go-to site for social media gurus, tech-savvy people, and hip, in-the-know “cool kids.” If this is your target market, then Google+ is a must for your small business.
Google+ is not as widely adopted as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. If you’re just starting out with a social media presence, it might not be the best place for your business.
The site also isn’t as user-friendly as other options. Your customers might be there, but it can be hard to find them and vice versa.
The Bottom Line
Google+ is a great choice for small business marketing, as long as you’ve got an established presence in the social realm. It’s also perfect for newcomers who want to make a statement about their ability to adopt to any medium.