There's some discrepancy over whether Google+ is a legitimate social media service, especially after Slate writer Farhad Manjoo ripped Google+ apart in his highly cited Google+ is Dead article. While Manjoo may believe that Google+ will bleed out because the company forgot several key features in their initial launch, others in the media are less certain about the demise of Google+.
The NYTimes Bits blog recently posted that Google+ is not a separate product, but in fact, the product itself (i.e. Google+ is no different from Google search). The writer likens a declaration of Google+'s death to saying the Apple iOS will die, but the iPhone and iPad will live on. The products are inseparable.
Whether or not Google+ or any other social media platform will survive over the long-term can only be determined in the fullness of time. While that might not matter to everyone, businesses are struggling to figure out where to dedicate their money, time and effort. What good is building a Google+ page if the platform will inevitably fizzle like Google Buzz?
The short answer is that, if you're a business, you should be embracing all types of social media. It doesn't hurt to provide contact information and ways for consumers to give you feedback. Social media, especially Google+ Brand Pages and Facebook Pages, will only help your company's address, products, website and other information get discovered.
That's how these social media platforms can benefit any business: Facebook Pages and Google+ Business Pages can connect brands with consumers—plain and simple. And while there are several differences between Facebook and Google+, each can help businesses in their own way. And on that note, we bring you the best reasons to get your business on Facebook Pages and Google+ Brand Pages.
Reasons to Use Google+ Brand Pages:
1. Google Search: Google currently attracts one billion users per month to its search engine. Over time, as the NY Times writer above partially predicted, Google will leverage its search engine user numbers to get people to join Google+. Some of that is already happening. At Web 2.0 Conference, one of Google's co-founders Sergey Brin and Senior Vice President of Engineering and project leader of Google+ Vic Gundotra outlined the Google+ strategy and revealed that the platform already had 40 million users. That number was announced long before businesses were allowed to have pages. Google will undoubtedly continue to tap into its massive user base, and that's a great thing for businesses on Google+.
2. 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 Amazon, AT&T and many more. Eventually, there will be hundreds of thousands of Google+ Business Pages. It's probably best to claim your stake now.
3. Google+ affects searches: If you haven't noticed by now, Google is beginning to integrate +1 marks with their search engine. Anything your friends have pressed the +1 button on will begin to affect searches in the future. Many believe that Google's goal is to ultimately have your friend's suggestions affect your 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.
4. 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 20-year-olds to retired grandmothers, 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.
5. Google Ripples: Google recently added a new feature that allows anyone on Google+ to view how information is shared throughout the network. Here is a video demonstration. The feature makes data analysis easy, interesting and extremely helpful in terms of understanding how media goes viral. You can see direct links between the people that shared the information.
Reasons to use Facebook Brand Pages
1. Largest social network on the planet: Facebook has more than 800 million active users, and according to the Mark Zuckerberg interview on Charlie Rose, that number is growing every 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, the revamped Wall, to the masses.
2. New Smart Lists: Facebook has a similar feature to Google+ Circles called Lists. Most people didn't use the Lists feature until 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.
3. Facebook is searchable in Google: Remember how we said that Google would soon integrate Google+ pages into its search engine? Facebook is already listed in the Google search engine. For instance, even typing meta-phrases such as Amazon Facebook into the Google search engine will bring up the Facebook Business Page of Amazon.com. Facebook already carries a lot of weight throughout the internet, and that alone should be enough reason to get businesses connected.
4. 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, that media is automatically broadcast to all of their friends, potentially reaching hundreds of more people. Websites and Facebook Pages can spread easily through Facebook likes.
5. Data Analysis: Facebook provides a clean and 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.
It's safe to say that there's plenty of reason to use both Facebook Pages and Google+ Business Pages to market our business. You'll easily jumpstart your brand's notoriety, make it more searchable and allow people to share your business page with their friends easily and effortlessly. While some people in the media will continue to argue about the long-term potential each platform has, it seems likely neither Facebook Pages nor Google+ Business Pages will go away anytime soon, and, for that reason, we suggest getting your business involved in these far-reaching social media platforms.