To set up a Google+ brand page or not to set up a Google+ brand page? That is the question.
The blogosphere has been all atwitter about the future of Google+, with reams of positive and negative data flooding the Internet daily. With its robust search engine, many are praising G+ as the perfect union of social search. Others are less optimistic. In the words of Brain Solis, an analyst at Altimeter Group, “Nobody wants another social network right now.”¹
So should you set up a Google+ brand page for your business? Like most things in life, it all depends on your perspective.
ON THE ONE HAND
- Controlling roughly 2/3 of all Internet searches, Google is by far the largest search engine (Yahoo and Bing are a distant second with 15% each). Google+ is also growing rapidly, with over 90 Million users by the end of 2011.
- Google seems to be going all in on the success of Google+. In January, CEO Larry Page wrote, “I am super excited about the growth of Android, Gmail, and Google+, which now has 90 million users globally – well over double what I announced just three months ago. By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google+ we will create amazing experiences across our services. I’m very excited about what we can do in 2012...”
- Big Brands Like Google+ According to a February report by digital marketing firm Brightedge, the number of people in circles with the top 100 brands on Google+ exploded over 1400% (222K to 3.1M) from December to February. Not bad, considering that Google+ brand pages have only been around since November 7th.
ON THE OTHER HAND
No worries. The anti-Google+ camp have plenty of data in their arsenal:
- According to comScore, Google+ users averaged only three minutes on the site during January, a far cry from Facebook’s average of 405 minutes per visitor.
- Tumblr and Pinterest both saw 89 minutes per user on average, while LinkedIn clocked in at 17 minutes per user and Twitter at 21 minutes.³
- Sadly, Google+ was even beaten out by the has-been social network MySpace, which averaged 8 minutes per user (comScore’s data covers desktop activity only, not mobile, but even so…).
Even the otherwise positive Brightedge report ended on a sober note, concluding “…the next challenge for Google is adding followers. Google+ still has less than 1/100th the number of total consumers interacting with the top 100 brands that Facebook has.”
This highlights the two basic criticisms of Google+:
1) It is not adding users quickly enough
2) The users it has aren’t engaging with the site in any meaningful way
There are 90 million people worldwide with a G+ profile, but Google itself is extremely vague about how many of those users are actually engaging with the platform. Google won’t talk about how many “active” users are on Google+, and recently changed its account creation process so that all new users have Google+ accounts by default.³
If Google+ was just another social media site, I’d suggest you take a wait-and-see approach to brand page creation. However, because G+ is integrated with the most widely-used search engine on the planet, you really have no choice but to embrace Google+ with open arms.
JUST DO IT
Before you roll the credits, the full impact of Google’s social search on SEO is still up in the air. I would advise against going nuts and throwing out proven SEO practices like link building and relevant keyword usage wholesale. Yet in this new era of social search, SEO is not enough. Companies need to produce quality web-based content that prospects find interesting and useful, and actively promote it with effective social media management practices.
While Google would surely love to see Google+ supplant Facebook as the social media network du jour, I don’t think anyone is shedding a tear at the Googleplex in Mountain View. Just because users are slow to fully integrate G+ into their daily lives doesn’t mean Google’s social search initiative is a failure. I have a feeling Google knows exactly what it’s doing.
If I were a betting man (which I am), I’d wager that Google+ will see continued growth in its user base and brand pages. So go with the flow and set up your G+ brand page, if for no other reason than to suck up to the company that is largely in control of your brand’s SERP.
Have you considered setting up a Google+ brand page for your business? If so, what is holding you back?
¹ The Wall Street Journal, “The Mounting Minuses at Google+”
² TechCrunch, “Why Google+ Doesn’t Care If You Never Come Back”
³ MarketingLand, “Google+ Users Spend 3 Minutes Per Month There, ComScore Tells WSJ”
Image Courtesy of Danielle Dunn Creative Agency