You’ve probably heard at one point or another that Google+ is futile for social media marketing:
No one I know uses Google+. Google+ is a ghost town. The posts I share get no engagement. I have no friends on the platform. Our customers aren’t on Google+. Google+ is dying anyways. What even is Google+? And so forth, and so forth.
While it’s true that Google+ is not the most popular of the social media networks, it’s actually a pretty neat platform with a lot of benefits that we’re going to dive into.
First of all, what is Google+?
Google+ is a social network owned by Google. It launched on June 28, 2011, replacing the company’s prior social platform, Google Buzz. Google calls Google+ “the social layer” of all of its services and it’s connected to a user’s Google account. You can follow your Gmail contacts, as well as other individuals and organizations. All of the posts of those you follow display in your home feed and there’s also the option to create communities or join them, to make further connections. More on that soon!
What are the benefits of using Google+?
1. It has a clean and intuitive interface
Social networks should be easy to use for everyone, no matter where you come from or what your age is. If you’re Team Google then you will know that Google just has a way of simplifying interfaces and organizing information in a way that just makes sense. Google+ is no different.
The Google+ home feed actually looks a little different from the regular timelines you’re used to seeing—which is refreshing. Rather than displaying everything in a single fashion, you get a three-column, unaligned grid. Here your own posts are displayed (including the videos you post on YouTube), as well as the posts of those you follow, and trending and recommended content (if you’re not following enough pages to fill up your feed).
On the left-hand side you have a menu, which features:
- A “Discover” tab (similar to Instagram’s Explore page, this is a place where you can find content you may like and groups to join)
- A “Community” page (where you can join and create groups)
- Your “Profile” page (where you can upload a profile picture and cover banner)
- A “People” page (a place to view your followers, those you’re following, and recommended people to follow)
- A “Notifications” page
2. Your feed is ultra-customized
As mentioned, the timeline looks quite different from Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn, which all use algorithms to make the most popular posts show first, as well as posts your connections have engaged with. Other social network’s timelines are littered with pictures of food, baby photos, memes, and ads. With Google+, you see exactly what you’ve chosen to follow. So if that’s gardening, web hosting, and Benedict Cumberbatch, that is exactly what you will get!
The Google+ slogan is “get way into what you love.”
3. You can make new connections with the same interests
Google+ is not about the friends and colleagues you already have. Google+ is about making new connections with like-minded people.
That’s where Communities comes in. Google+ communities are similar to Facebook or LinkedIn groups and you can create your own or find them on the Discover page. Communities can be as intimate as a private group of friends sharing cat pictures or as massive as this public “Funny Pictures and Videos” group with 2.6 million members. There are communities for every interest, quirk, and obsession.
Because of all of this, communities are a powerful tool to meet potential customers. Posting in communities or creating a brand new group is a great way to build an audience.
4. It’s ad-free
Social network bonus points go to Google+ because it doesn’t feature ads or sponsored content. Google+ just doesn’t need to advertise because its users are already using its search engine and other websites where Google AdSense will reach them. There’s no need to clutter up Google+ with ads and it’s an awesome perk if you’re tired of all the poorly targeted sponsored content on other platforms.
5. It boosts SEO
Google+ is a product of Google, therefore the creators (most likely) favour their own product over other social media platforms. Rumor has it that Google+ content gets indexed and added to search results almost immediately. So if your company has an active Google+ account, it’s more likely to be seen in search results. This makes Google+ a powerful tool for:
- Ranking for keywords
- Leading prospects to your Google+ account and then back to your blog or website
6. It integrates with social media scheduling platforms
Sharing on Google+ used to only work by posting natively, which was a bit of stretch for some. Fortunately, Google+ now integrates with social media scheduling platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social. It’s just as easy to share your content on Google+ as it is on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Even if you don’t have the resources to dive in fully into Google+ just yet, you can at least share the posts you’re sharing on other channels on Google+ as well to keep your page active and increase the likelihood of showing up in search results.
7. It provides more robust branding
Google+ is well integrated with Gmail, which means that everyone you email can find your Google+ account easily. By filling out your profile information on Google+, like your social media handles, website links, and general information about yourself or company, you’re making it easier for others to find out more about you. With over 1 billion daily users on Gmail, you’re bound to reach new potential connections and customers by simply filling out these fields.
8. There’s a very specific audience on Google+
There are 2.2 billion Google+ profiles (thanks to every Gmail user being signed up automatically) while about 300 million of those users actually use Google+ actively. This is the consensus on the demographics of Google+’s most active users:
- They’re more likely to be male
- They based in North America or India
- They’re more likely to work in tech
- They’re often educated (college-level)
- They range from 25-40 years old
Based on these stats, Google+ may be the right platform to reach those working in tech. Don’t be discouraged if this isn’t your company’s target audience. Who’s to say all of the other daily active users and communities won’t be interested in your brand?
9. There is less noise and competition
Many companies don’t see the value in Google+ and therefore don’t bother using it. This gives you a competitive edge and removes a lot of competition compared to channels like Facebook where literally everyone is on it. It’s arguably easier to find a niche and grow a following on Google+.
Google+ is alive and well, despite what you may hear on the block. Just because you’re not using it, doesn’t mean millions of others aren’t benefiting from it. Why not get started by connecting your social media scheduling platform to your Google+ page or checking out the Canadian Web Hosting page for some inspiration?
Now, turning it over to you:
- Do you use Google+? Does your company use it?
- If not, what are your apprehensions about Google+? Why aren’t you using it?
- If you do use it, what are your favourite features?