Google+ quietly caused a stir in November when it officially introduced its brand pages platform. While it paled in comparison to the fervor Facebook elicited when it did the same thing several years ago, its launch has been considered a success by many since 61 of Interbrand’s Top 100 Brands have already set up pages as of late December.
Although Google+ provides another avenue for connecting with customers, it may come with some concern to marketers and communications professionals. Some, already feeling stretched by managing Twitter and Facebook presences (not to mention blogs, YouTube and more) may be asking: “how important is it to also have a Google+ page?”
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not you need to launch a Google+ page for your brand:
• SEO. A few months ago, Google stated it intended to integrate real-time search with Google+ data. Well, guess what? The search engine has followed through with its promise – and not without some controversy, too. Put simply, marketers who promote themselves on Google+ will increase their brand’s search engine visibility on Google, which is never a bad thing.
• More targeted connections. Unlike Facebook, Google+ offers marketers the ever-important ability to target specific audiences through the creation of circles. Instead of blasting a communication to everyone who likes your page (as with Facebook), Google+ allows you to send content to specific segments of people – whether customers, employees, board members, etc.
• Analytics. Many companies and businesses already use Google Analytics to track their website traffic. Soon, they will be able to do the same thing for their Google+ pages. Expect the analytics to be more in-depth and powerful than those offered by Facebook now.
• Open and easy to find. Although Google+ pages currently lack the “beauty URLs” that Facebook has capitalized on so well (such as facebook.com/BudLightor facebook.com/cocacola), they do incorporate unique features like “Direct Connect.” This allows anyone to jump straight to a Google+ brand page by searching for “+[name]” using Google.
Of course, Google+ has a long way to go before it can equal Facebook. While it has amassed nearly 50 million users worldwide according to recent reports (and is supposedly growing at a rate of 625,000 new users a day), the number pales in comparison to Facebook’s 800 million members.
All that said, marketers debating whether or not to get behind Google+ need to only consider one simple thing before making their decision. While new and still dwarfed by Facebook, the platform has millions of members (and counting) that represent a significant audience which can now be directly engaged in a new way.
Are you on Google+? If yes, check out Pierpont’s Google+ page here.