Google+ recently celebrated its 1 year anniversary, but it did so in the midst of extensive criticism regarding its position as a powerful social network. Some have called it a ghost town or even the poor man‚Äôs Facebook, but is it really? We weigh in.
When Google+ launched a little over a year ago, it entered into an already thriving social network pool. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all had their hands in the pot and, some have claimed, Google+ was looking for a piece of the pie. However, recent studies have shown that although Google+ claims to have 170 million users, their (unavailable??) stats on engagement are a lot less encouraging.
For example, Google administrators claim that of the almost 200 million users, more than half of them visit every month, and half of those sign in every day. But that may not actually represent the number of active users on the site ‚Äì if you are just signed in but not actually accessing the resources on the site ‚Äì does this really count? Does signing into Gmail and not signing out actually count as being engaged on the Google+ side of things? Very hard to determine‚Ä¶
A study though has attempted to do so. A UK-based social media firm analyzed the action on the top four social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+) to determine how engaged users actually were. Looking at 100 different news stories, and using a marker of 100 million users, the study examined how likely users were to share a story. Of the 100 million Google+ users, only 6 on average shared each story. Compared to Twitter‚Äôs 197, Facebook‚Äôs 42 or even LinkedIn‚Äôs 15, it is clear that engagement for Google+ leaves something to be desired.
There is however another side to this. Does the fact that the site is not as popular mean that it holds no value? No. If you own a small business for example, the major point of social media is to get your name out there and gain recognition for your brand. More importantly, this is, after all, Google, and since Google+ is incorporated into all of the other services offered by Google, your business can only benefit from the usage. For example, the more your brand is visible, the more likely it is to receive further online attention. Keeping an active Google+ account is more likely to increase your online exposure than hurt it!
Can you really compare it to Facebook or Twitter? No. Because these sites all differ so greatly, grouping them into the same category causes problems. Google itself has claimed Google+ is not a social network, instead claiming that it is a host for a number of services that incorporate all kinds of different platforms.¬† If, in the end, all that having a Google+ account means is that your brand will enjoy increased online exposure, then it is still undeniably worth it. Keeping your name out there, and letting it get as much access and recognition as possible is never bad for business. If you do actually take advantage of many of the resources, then that is even better.
For more information about how to use Google+ to your full advantage, or for information on how to use other social media to increase your brand recognition and beef up your bottom line, contact Marketing Force at www.marketingforce.ca or 888-766-1221.