Google+, is it Significant?
The importance of social media in society is no secret. For businesses, social media has become an integral tactic of a successful online communication strategy. From LinkedIn profiles to Facebook pages, companies are utilizing these outlets to build relationships and connect with audiences. It's a constant search to find your customers online in order to listen to what they're saying and engage in meaningful conversation. Most recently, this has led many companies to consider Google's new social platform, Google+.
Google+ launched this past June and became one of the fastest growing websites in history earning a record of 20 million users in just over a month. Since this initial buzz however, the site has seen a dramatic decline in visits and usage. Unlike competing social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, users do not seem to be continuing their use with Google+ but rather lose interest after a short time. Developers at 89n, a web application publishing company, estimated that public messages on Google+ have dropped by 41 percent over the past two months.
Despite such numbers, Google is continuing to promote its social network hoping these efforts will regain user interest. A major piece of this is the addition of Google+ Business Profiles. Expected to be launched this fall, business profiles will expand the platform's capabilities to companies allowing them to take advantage of Google+'s most unique features:
- Targeting Sharing
Through what Google calls Circles, users are able to group their connections and limit which Circles can view shared content. Circles allow companies to group current and prospective clients separately and strategically target each through personalized shared content.
- Google Application Integration
The platform allows companies to integrate its existing use of Google into their online profile including location based tools such as Google Maps and Places as well as Google Analytics and AdWords. Companies can easily share Google Docs by inviting attendants through Google Calendar, Gmail or Google Chat.
- Online Meetings
Google+ gives companies the opportunity to hold 'business hangouts' with up to 10 people. The feature allows your company to organize, record, and archive phone, text and video conferences.
Chris Brogan, social media expert and author of Google+ for Business: How Google's Social Network Changes Everything believes that business profiles will bring the multitude of initial Google+ users back to the website and increase usage dramatically. Brogan is convinced the tool will be a powerful way to connect with customers, urging businesses to be proactive; 'Waiting for a business account would be like waiting for a new logo before you run out to do any sales. Don't wait.'
While its features carry great potential for the social media of businesses, companies must realize that even the best utilization of Google+ carries no value if the proper audience is not there to receive content. If your customers are not active on Google+ this platform may not fit as part of your company's online communication strategy. So before diving into another online marketing conversation and setting up your business profile, do some research to find out: Is Google+ significant?