Twitter and Facebook have been well-established as the twin pillars of social media for what amounts to eons in the rapidly evolving technological world. Now, after an epic Google Buzz fail, Google has launched their newest attempt to run with the big dogs:Google+. The questions being asked by many businesses include “Do I really need a third networking site? Will it be a good investment in the long term? Does anybody actually use Google+?” Let’s address these questions one at a time.
Do I Really Need a Third Networking Site?
“Need” is a relevant term, but Google+ does offer some unique features that Facebook and Twitter don’t:
- Circles—Circles allow you to categorize all your contacts into groups. You can share posts with all your contacts or you can cater your content to those within a particular circle.
- Hangouts—Hangouts are like video chat on steroids. They allow you to chat with up to nine other Google+ users, even those who aren’t currently connected to you (a great feature for brand exposure). Hangouts are ideal for webinars, group discussions, and question/answer sessions.
- Google Indexing Benefits—Google is the search engine king, and you can bet they will integrate Google+ into their indexing algorithms. For the best exposure, you have to play the game their way.
- Saved Searches—Type a keyword into the search feature and find all content relevant to your brand or another topic of interest. These searches can be saved and displayed in your sidebar to keep you up-to-date on all the latest conversations.
Will Google+ Be a Good Investment in the Long Term?
To date, Google+ remains significantly smaller than Facebook. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On Facebook, you’re competing with a huge conglomeration of events, photos, updates, and more; Google+ tends to be more informational, meaning that you can get your message out to the people who really want to hear what you have to say. It’s also a good bet that Google+ will eventually be integrated with all of Google’s other offerings: Google Places, search, images, and more. All of which makes it a good investment for businesses.
Does Anybody Actually Use Google+?
So far, 90 million users have accounts with Google+. And because every gmail user automatically gets an account, you can expect that number to grow. Sixty percent of those users log in every single day (compared to just 50% who log into Twitter every day), and eighty percent log in once a week.
Google+ is a growing network whose ultimate reach has yet to be established. Its unique features make it a good investment for businesses as social media becomes increasingly integrated into the daily lives of average people. Should you invest? You bet.