Should you bother with Google Plus to market your business? That’s the big question.
Wait, what’s Google Plus?
If you don’t know what Google Plus is, that answers the question. Google Plus is Google’s most recent attempt to counter Facebook. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because it hasn’t exactly been successful. It exists and there are still relatively large numbers of people on it, but many view it as a failure and some of Google Plus’ key features have been transferred to Google products.
There is a really dedicated community on Google Plus – many of whom will swear up and down that Google Plus is superior to Facebook in every way – but unless you are targeting that community, Google Plus could be a waste of time.
Benefits of Using Google Plus
The primary benefit of using Google Plus once was that it was indexable, as opposed to Facebook (which is not) or Twitter (which now is, but wasn’t previously). All that means is that Google Plus posts can appear in search results, making your business activity on Google Plus much more permanent than on Facebook.
There is a highly active community on Google Plus, though this community is significantly smaller than the other major English-language social networks. If this community likes what you do, they will promote your content. If you can figure how to appeal to them, it’s likely your posts will get in front of more people than in other spaces.
But that’s basically where the benefits end. Google Business Pages, which are essential, have gained some of the features of Google Plus (such as the ability to post updates) and have likely rendered Google Plus irrelevant for many if not most businesses.
Drawbacks of Google Plus
Like using any social network, using Google Plus is extremely time-consuming. But it certainly can be worth it for Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, if you do it right.
The problem with Google Plus is that their market share is smaller than the other social media networks – your audience is smaller. All other things being equal, Google Plus should be at least your fourth choice for social media marketing.
But there’s another problem I want to alert you to. In my field, digital marketing, Google Plus is extremely popular. There is a huge, vibrant community of digital marketers on Google Plus. The problem, as I see it, is that they are talking to each other, not to potential clients. Now, if that’s what they want to do, and that’s what they’re trying to do, fine. But the small business owners I want to reach are not on Google Plus. Sure, you may have an account, but you don’t use it, do you? Instead, there is this impressive-seeming feedback loop, where a digital marketer makes a post, it gets tons of +1s and tons of re-shares but it gets in front of the competition, rather than the customers. I imagine this is true for other industries.