If someone was to tell you that a new social network had recently launched and in its first month gained 10 million users, then doubled to 20 million by the second month and that in a little over six months those numbers were at 62 million users with projections of reaching over 250 million users by the end of 2012, what would your reaction be? You’d probably wonder why you didn’t know about it or how you could get in that action either personally or for your business, right?
The figures are astounding, yet when people find out it’s Google+, it gets dismissed as not important enough to spend the time to learn and utilize or that it’s a “ghost town.” Big mistake.
Let’s just quickly chat about what Google+ really is at its core. Facebook is by far the largest and most used social network, but when you think about its ethos, it’s really personal connections that you have with real people in your life whether it’s your family, friends or coworkers. We know that Twitter is great for breaking news, broadcasting information to larger audiences and even great for companies using it for customer service such as Best Buy, but how does Google+ fit into all this?
Guy Kawasaki puts it best when he says, “Google+ is for passions.” As individuals or even brands, we all have passions that we love and obsess over. It may be photography, writing, art, entrepreneurship, diving, etc.; the point is that realistically speaking not everyone on Facebook or Twitter really care about what you’re into or passionate about. Google+ provides that platform to connect with other individuals and brands with similar passions, which means it will give you a platform to not only preach to an engaging audience, but one that can teach you a thing or two in return. It’s collaboration on a whole new level.
One of the key features that Google+ launched with was its “Hangouts” which allows for video chatting with up to 9 people simultaneously. They’ve recently integrated Google docs into the very same platform for easier sharing. Let’s just stop for second and think about how many Google products that you may or not be using that are seamlessly integrated into Google+ from YouTube to Google Play (Android Market), Gmail, Picasa and the list keeps growing. Do you really think this is something to be ignored and not capitalized on right now?
On January 10th, Google introduced and integrated social search. There’s no doubt that as we move forward social and personal recommendations will dominate what you see in regards to search results and advertising.
Currently when searching on Google you will see normal results in addition to results from people you’re connected with on Google+. The people may be experts on the topic you are searching or offer the product you need, yet their posts and information skipped ahead of all the other results on Google. Isn’t that what everyone is always striving for on some level? Better search engine rankings and higher placement on Google.
Social search is here to stay and will only become more valuable as we move forward. Facebook pages are great and they have their value in regards to branding, but when is the last time you went to Facebook to search for something?
Android dominates the mobile phone market with just recently surpassing the 50% market share here in the United States. Sure, Facebook, Twitter and even Google+ have their own apps that run on Android, but remember when we talked about integration a few paragraphs up? Think about how many times Gmail or Google maps will be utilized on the handset or even the standard issue mobile browser for surfing. Smartphones, tablets and apps are growing exponentially, and even though there is no playbook on how to capitalize on this via Google+ at the moment, you can bet there is something brewing in the near future that might leave you scrambling for impressions or placement later on.
All in all Google+ is a great platform that should not be compared to Facebook or Twitter because on the grand scale of things they are incomparable. Whether you choose to use Google+ or not is up to you, however there are many advantages to tapping into a social network that is still pretty young with room to grow; especially when it’s backed by the dominant force in search and cloud related products. Don’t count Google+ out just yet.
Remember back in 2005 when everyone thought MySpace was untouchable and no one even heard of Facebook except for a few college kids? Just saying.