An inside look at why we still invest big in a social network most people don’t quite understand.
A lot goes into this digital marketing business. Every day seems to bring some new challenge and a tool to address it. Like with all things tech, life has seemed to speed up where if you blink you miss it.
What was the must-have tool and surefire strategy six months ago is suddenly getting eulogized in a dozen blog posts as the industry looks toward the next big thing.
To be fair, sensational headlines get clicks, so credit where it’s due. But just because something new has come out doesn’t mean a previously successful strategy suddenly loses all value.
Which brings us to Google+. Pages and pages of case studies, praise, worry, doubt, and general misunderstanding have been dedicated to Google’s take on social networking. It’s difficult to ignore the conversations surrounding it, especially in light of the ongoing success of Facebook.
But framing the conversation as both platforms being a social network and Facebook is bigger, therefore Facebook is worth more energy is a misreading of the situation.
Sometimes you need a screwdriver and sometimes you need a hammer, depending on the job.
It’s no secret that at Steady Demand we still see a lot of value in Google + as a platform. Thanks to our continued focus on that platform, our clients have gotten a lot of value out of it as well. We’ve even taken the time to document client case studies that prove the Return On Investment.
Every social network, piece of content, or research tool has a place in the larger kit of a digital marketing professional.
Why, then, are we so much more engaged on Google+ rather than Facebook? There are a few big reasons.We believe that @GooglePlus still has tremendous value, and we're about to reveal why.Click To Tweet
If you thought Google+ was an interesting experiment that outlived it’s usefulness, guess again. We’ve proven that there’s still success to be had on the platform and here’s why.
Different use cases
Everyone and their grandmother (almost literally) seems to be on Facebook. Google+ in comparison is significantly smaller.
If the purpose of digital marketing was to just go into the biggest crowd you can find and start yelling about this great thing you’re trying to sell, you’d have a case for why time and budget would be better invested in Facebook. But the two platforms don’t operate in the same way, therefore they should not be used in the same way.
What do you do on Facebook? If you’re like most people, you probably catch up with family and friends. As a result of seeing your friends’ activity, you might come across an article that interests you and you read it.
Occasionally, you might even buy something. Chances are, though, you aren’t logging on Facebook specifically to find anything out or make a purchase.
Google, on the other hand, is a service you access when you want something. It’s not much of a casual browse. You are actively looking for information, a product, or a service.
“Here’s my question: you say you want to fish where the fish are and to that I ask: is Google a big enough sea for you? Because that’s where people go who want to buy something.”
That is the critical difference between Facebook and Google+.
Are all of your friends and family on Google+ sharing vacation pictures or arguing about politics? It’s not likely.
But Google+ is an extension of the Google search service, which means when people actually want something, having a presence on that platform is of high value.Fact: @GooglePlus is connected to @Google Search. That creates tremendous opportunity for brands!Click To Tweet
Which brings us to a discussion of the different value propositions of the two social networks.
What are you looking to invest?
As Facebook has matured as a platform, it’s become clear the direction the company is going in when it comes to being able to market on it. If you want people to see you on Facebook, you’re going to have to pay.
Gone are the days where your free Facebook ads are being seen by thousands of users.
In fact, unless you’re using paid ad space, you can be fairly confident not too many people are seeing it at all.
Organic reach is at an all time low on Facebook. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a free service looking to monetize by walling off its business services. And then, of course, there is nothing wrong with marketers looking to get around such monetization tactics in an effort to lower investment costs.
Not having to consistently pay for pricey ad space is just one of the reasons why Google+ is the more attractive marketing platform. That’s certainly true if we’re just talking organic reach.Not having to pay for pricey ad space is just one of the reasons we invest heavy in @GooglePlus.Click To Tweet
Google+ and organic outreach
A few different factors contribute to the superiority of Google+ in the organic marketing space.
As Dorie Clark points out in her column for Forbes, Google+ has two prominent features that make it the ideal social media platform for people looking to organically grow their influence: Communities and Hangouts (which has technically become its own product now separate from Google+).
Recently, Collections has been positioned by Google as another major component of the platform. So that’s three methods you can use to demonstrate thought leadership in your specific industry.
Communities are a great way to interact with others who have an interest in your niche, specifically.
Hangouts offer professional video chats and presentations which are great for webinars, shows, or conferences where you can lend your expertise.
Collections allow you to curate and share content in a way that is meaningful to your followers.
Sharing and helping
Communities and Collections both lend themselves to more focused, useful content. That’s because Google+ offers possibly the highest level of customization of any of the social media networks.
If a user is seeing or interacting with your content it’s because they specifically want to. They have subscribed to your offerings because they find value in them.
They in turn will then share it themselves to their own circles with the same relevant interests.
If Facebook is wide in its scope, Google+ is exceptionally narrow.
In marketing, narrow wins the day because that audience is more likely to take a desired action compared to a potentially indifferent general public.
Place in search
The third reason why we focus so much on Google+ is its place in the overall services that Google provides. The biggest, of course, is search.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in ranking higher on Google’s search results. How one goes about that is complicated, but what we do know is that having a Google+ presence helps increase your visibility, especially if you’re a local brand.Biggest reason to invest in @GooglePlus over Facebook: It helps increase Search visibility!Click To Tweet
While the specifics of how a Google+ presence affects your SEO is murky, there are definite positive correlations. A study put together by Moz seeking to find Google+’s impact on search rankings found that +1s had a significant correlation to higher rankings.
When you engage on Google+, you are feeding Google the content it needs to constantly refine its algorithm for increased quality.
Because we now know that Google weighs social signals heavily in its algorithm, it stands to reason increased sharing and +1s on the Google+ platform would have a positive impact on your sites overall presence in Google’s search results.
Google+ is a high value social media platform for all businesses, especially smaller, local ones looking to cut through the noise and raise their profile.
Getting found in the search results is the difference between success and stagnation. That’s why our agency continues to lead with our Google+ services.
Your business can’t afford to not have a presence there. If your current social media efforts aren’t getting you the results you want, contact us today. We’ll help you come up with a plan that best suits your needs.