First of all, for anyone who does not know what Google+ is, then please let me explain this to you.
What is Google+?
Google+ is a social networking service created by Google. The design is very modern and interactive as what you would expect from Google. They designed the Social Network to compete with the giants of Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter. It is argued that Google are trying too hard to differentiate from competitors by offering an all-in-one service by integrating all Google services. They display a Google+ menu bar on other Google services when you're logged into a Google account. In addition, they have features on Google+ which are similar to Skype.
According to Digital Information World (2015), Google+ has over 2.2 billion profiles with 22% of the US visiting the social network monthly. However, if your business operates in more Asian countries then using Google+ can prove to be very successful. The website is widely used in Indonesia (83% of the online population), India (82% of the online population) and Vietnam (80% of internet users).
BUT should Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn be worried about Google+ users? With more signing up everyday?
No, probably not. Not yet anyway.
But if I were a business owner, I would want to be active on Google+ just in case there was a sudden surge of popularity and for the reasons as stated below.
Why should you use Google+ for your business?
- Google+ is a fantastic tool to search for communities who have an online presence. E.G. if you were a photographer who specialises in travel looking to showcase your work, there are thousands of communities such as 'Travel Photography' groups where you can post and expand your following base.
- The majority of the communities you want to join are public meaning you are free to post content on groups for all community members to see. PLEASE NOTE: If you are a business looking to promote your products, the majority of moderators will ban you for spam. All content you upload needs to be engaging and useful to the community. This is something you cannot do to extent on Facebook and Twitter.
- Google+ Reviews and contact details can influence consumer behaviour patterns. Who can admit to when typing in a company name that there is more of a likely chance of you clicking on the organisation which has a good star rating? How about if there were contact details and opening hours visible too? It does the job for me. It influences the customers' decision making process by appearing to be a brand who are proud of their services and who are not afraid to be visible in the public domain.
- Live Conference Calls at Google Hangouts - This is more aimed at SME's with video conference calling up to 10 people and it's free. Can't complain about that can you?!
- You are more likely to increase your SEO Rankings than any other Social Networking site with Google+. This is backed-up by SEO Specialists MOZ, who conduct a scientific experiment every 2 years to discover the quality of web pages that have a strong association with ranking highly on Google. The results were significant. The correlation of Google +1s conquered other well known metrics including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage.
For a full list of SEO Ranking factors, please visit here.
Overall, yes, it is not extensively used as other Social Networks but the potential is there. There are regular and active users who have keen interests within communities using Google+. Do you want to miss out on them?
I do strongly advise that you do not ignore Google+ in your Social Media and/or content marketing plan and start using it with other Social Networking platforms. I would also like to re-emphasise that all content needs to be engaging and useful to your public audience in order to grow your business and follower base. Using infographics (I recommend PiktoChart) and/or posting up white papers and blogs will be extremely useful to your community and will increase interaction. It takes time and patience to build up a following on Google+ and hopefully if you stick it out then you will reap the rewards!
Good luck in your journey.