Does Google+ Matter?

November 10, 2011

Earlier this week it was announced that Google+ has made several changes, including offering new Business Pages for brands.

In the last 48 hours, there has been a bunch of chatter about the importance of getting in on the ground floor of Google+ as a way to generate more leads for your business.

Some of the commentary is good, but most of it has been pretty useless. (Hubspot published a new eBook on Google+ for Business, but it’s 99.9% total fluff.)

So we wanted to take a deep breath and ask, “does Google+ matter?” We mean, really. Obviously it has marketing potential to create leads for your business. But aside from impacting Google’s search results, does Google+ have a social impact on your business?

We’re not so sure.

By the sheer numbers, Google+ has 40 million users and is the fastest growing social network in history. But nobody is really using it. And if nobody is using Google+, what’s the point of using it to promote your brand?

It’s the ABCs of marketing. You don’t just need the right message to find new customers, you need to find the best medium for the right audience. It’s a waste of time to market your business on Google+ if none of your target market is on there.

Now, Google+ is definitely going to have a huge impact on the search results. That’s because Google wants to do everything it can to make its social network succeed. So Google+ NEEDS TO BE APART OF YOUR SEO STRATEGY. But using Google+ to generate SEO content is much different than using it as part of a social media campaign like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

There has been way too much hype about Google+. That’s why we recommend reading Slate’s Farhad Manjoo new column, which proclaims that “Google+ is dead!”

Manjoo makes some terrific points about the problems Google has with social and why Google+ might be doomed to fail.

Manjoo writes: ” Google seems to think about its social network in the same way it thinks of any other kind of software—as a “product” that it can design step-by-step, starting with a small number of innovative features and working up from there…But a social network isn’t a product; it’s a place. Like a bar or a club, a social network needs a critical mass of people to be successful—the more people it attracts, the more people it attracts.”

It’s really an interesting read. Check it out.

So what’s the marketing takeaway?

You should be using Google+ for your SEO campaign RIGHT NOW! That’s because Google+ is already impacting how your company is getting found online. So you need to create a personal Google profile, an optimized business pages and generate new content on your personal and brand pages.

But you shouldn’t put too much time into building social media campaigns for your business on Google+ just yet. Wait a few months to see what happens. Wait to see if there’s a tipping point and everybody starts using Google+ like Facebook or Twitter.

If your target market starts using Google+, then you have a captive audience. Until then, it’s sort of like a tree falling in the forest with nobody around.

What’s the new marketing mindset?

It’s all about growth.
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