Is Google+ Worth the Effort?

Melissa Meschke Marketing, Michigan Creative Leave a Comment

With the beginning of 2013, I’m sure many companies are starting to think about how to manage their social media marketing.  There are so many social media sites that a business owner may choose to cut out some of them to make more time for the others.  Is Google+ on your list?
Many believe the largest benefit of having a Google+ account is for search results.  It’s a Google product so that equals better search results right?  Not necessarily.   Google+ plus has a small following compared to many of the other social media sites-just 170 million users, or 8% of the total social media usage in February 2012.  Odds are pretty high that your customers do not have a Google+ account and therefore will not be searching for it through that social media site, plus it is hard to search within Google+.  However, like I said before, it’s a Google product!  The search engine displays +pages in their search.  On top of that, the more people that add you into your circle increases the searchabilty on its own. Google is Google and always will be-they are the most used search engine and it really cannot hurt to have a page within their platform.  I do not thinking having a page is too much to ask and really can have great benefits.
Now, having a page and truly using it are two different things.  I personally do not believe it is important to go out of your way to post on your Google+ page.  Add your page to your HootSuite and double up your posts from your Facebook or another social network to simplify this process.  You may ask why I say this?  As a Google+ user, I maybe scroll down my news feed once every two weeks.  My thinking is I can get way more updates from Facebook and I happen to like the format better.  Daina Middleton, author of Marketing in the Participation Age, puts it well,  “The reality is Google+ is not very exciting to use and lacks participation as a consequence “.  Google+ Does have some cool features like Hangouts   and their mobile app is much approved, so they are getting there but it is hard to know if it will truly take off and gain the massive followings of Twitter and Facebook.
All that being said, Google+ does have an easy to use format and is making improvements to become a more interactive social media platform.  Once users or businesses set up a page, it is easy to navigate and read.  I think it needs improvement on their search feature so it takes you to pages instead of posts that mention the words you search for and actually helps you find what you are looking for.  Honestly their search function is quite useless unless you know the name of what you are looking for.  I think Google could also skip automatically adding people and pages into your circles when you set up a page. They are a pain to remove once you add them.
As Google+ evolves and gains more followers it will be interesting to see how it takes off and the changes they will make.  How will they really distinguish themselves from Facebook?  How can they make themselves so user-friendly that people absolutely cannot live without it?  How can they benefit businesses more?
If Google+ really tries, maybe they can be of more use to businesses as Facebook pushes business further and further away by limiting the number of fans and charging to promote posts….but that is another topic for another day!
What is your business’s experience with Google+?  Do you have an account?  How often do you use it?  Please share below!
~Melissa
Ps. Add me to your circle on Google+ if you have one for new blogs almost every week!
“Effective engagement is inspired by the empathy that develops simply by being human.” ~ Brian Solis

Thank you to these bloggers for your help! 

http://www.famousbloggers.net/google-brand-page-worth-time.html

http://heidicohen.com/2012-biggest-marketing-surprises/