Ever since Google+ was rolled out this past June, there have been constant comparisons between it and other social media platforms, in particular, Facebook. Facebook has a lot of die hard fans, and I am certainly one of them. But some of these fans refuse to even think about joining Google+, and that is a big mistake. Many people believe that Google+ will never last, especially up against the likes of Facebook. But what people need to understand, is that Google doesn’t see Google+ as a separate product, they see it is THE product. As long as Google is around, so is Google+. Yes, Google hopes to build a social network that can compete with Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, but that isn’t the main reason Google has put so much effort behind Google+. Instead, Google+ is a social media layer that has, from the beginning, been intended to sit on top of the company’s main product: search. That is why being a part of Google+ is so important.
I promise you, Google+ isn’t going anywhere. With that said, between Google+ and Facebook, which one is better for businesses to be involved in? Well, the answer is both. If you’re a business, you should be involved in all types of social media platforms. It doesn’t hurt your business to provide contact information and ways for current costumers and potential customers to give you feedback. Social media, especially Google+ Brand Pages and Facebook Pages will only help your company’s location, products, website and other information get found. Plain and simple, Google+ brand pages and Facebook pages connect brands with consumers. There are several differences between Facebook and Google+, and each can help businesses in their own great way. So what are the best reasons to get your business on Facebook Pages and Google+ Brand Pages? I will tell you.
- Google Search: Google currently attracts one billion users per month to its search engine. Over time, Google will use its search engine user numbers to get people to join Google+. And some of that is already happening. At the Web 2.0 Conference this past October, one of Google’s co-founders Sergey Brin outlined the Google+ strategy and divulged that the platform already had 40 million users – thats a lot for such a young website! And it is important to note that that number was announced a month before businesses were allowed to have pages. Google will no doubt, continue to tap into its enormous user base, and that’s a great thing for businesses on Google+.
- Google+ Affects Searches: If you haven’t noticed by now, Google is beginning to integrate “+1” buttons with their search engine. Anything your friends have pressed the +1 button on will begin to affect searches in the future. It is believed that Google’s goal is to ultimately have your friend’s suggestions affect your personal searches. For now, you can see the pages your friends have marked with “+1”, but in the future, these notes could play a much bigger role in how Google operates.
- Direct Connect: Right now, if you go to the Google search bar and type in “+a”, you’ll see a list of recommendations for Google+ Brand Pages. This feature is known as Direct Connect. Typing “+a” into the Google search engine will bring up Google+ Business Pages from AT&T, ABC News and many more. Eventually, there will be hundreds of thousands of Google+ Business Pages. It’s probably best to claim yours now, so get going!
- Google+ Circles: The Circles feature allows businesses to organize their followers easily, and to target them specifically. You can make a wide range of Circles, from Tweens to retired grandfathers, and begin to target customers in little clusters you specify. It’s important to note, that at this moment in time, Google+ does not allow businesses to host contests, but I imagine that will change in the near future.
- Google+ Hangouts: Hangouts make it easier to have face to face interaction with your consumers. Its a video chat, plain and simple, that you can invite however many people you to join. If you’re having a special event in store, but want people who can’t make it feel like they can participate, just create a hangout, and people will be able to watch, and communicate with others also involved in the Hangout!
- Google Ripples: Google recently added a new feature that allows anyone on Google+ to view how information is shared throughout the network. The feature makes data analysis easy, interesting and extremely helpful in terms of understanding how things goes viral. You can see direct links between the people that shared the information. Check out this video demonstration, pretty cool!
- It’s The Biggest Social Network On The Planet!: Facebook has more than 800 million active users, and according to Mark Zuckerberg, that number is growing every single day. According to Facebook’s statistics page, Facebook has more than 900 million objects that people can interact with including pages, groups, events and community pages. Facebook will increase that number once they release Facebook Timeline to the masses. If thats not reason enough to use Facebook, then I don’t know what is!
- New Smart Lists: Facebook has a similar feature to Google+ Circles called Lists. Most people didn’t use the Lists feature until pretty recently, when Facebook released Smart Lists that began to create small groups of people it found to be similar in your network. This feature can be used to specifically target demographics in the same way Google+ Circles can – a great new feature.
- The Like Button: Though Google+ has a “+1” button that it’s released, it’s nowhere near as popular as the Facebook “like” button. When a person presses the like button on Facebook, its broadcast to all of their friends, potentially reaching hundreds of more people. Facebook Pages can spread easily through Facebook likes. It’s even in our vocabulary now, I find myself saying all the time, “well I “liked” it on Facebook.” (It comes off the tongue a little smoother than saying I “plus one’d it”)
- Facebook is Searchable in Google: Facebook is already listed in the Google search engine. For instance, even typing phrases such as “Amazon Facebook” into the Google will bring up the Facebook Business Page of Amazon.com. Facebook already carries a lot of clout throughout the internet, and that alone should be enough reason to get your business connected.
- Data Analysis: Facebook provides a easy way to understand who has liked your Facebook Page, what their age is and a variety of other demographic information about those people. Facebook will even email you weekly, so that you can continue to monitor your Facebook Page.