Is Google+ worth your time?
Written by Crystal Svanikier
This is a question we’ve been asking ourselves here at Dust.From Facebook, to Twitter, to Scribd, to Paper.li… we could go on and on. Social media is making it much easier for those of us connected to the internet to, well, connect to other people connected to the internet. But when you’re spoilt for choice, you begin to feel like you can’t make a choice.
Google have been pushing Google+ for a little over a year now and after personally attending a number of social networking conferences, I decided to list the pros and cons of using google+ for your business (note that I don’t mention the benefits that Google + share with other networking sites because, let’s face it, you can get those elsewhere. What I mention here are the things that give Google+ a competitive advantage):
- The Google +1 button: yeah, what is this? You know the little Facebook ‘like’ button you find on websites (usually under articles)? This is google’s ‘like’ button. The more people click it, the more likely people will be directed to your page thanks to Google’s search results algorithm placing the most ‘liked’ pages at the top of the list. At a Google + event I attended, I was informed that not only will adding the +1 button to your site increase your traffic, it improves the kind of traffic visiting your site. Almost like finding your target market on the web for you and directing them to you.
- Google Hangouts & Huddles: A hangout is a place to video chat with your friends on one screen. Google+ allows you to video chat with up to ten people at a time (Facebook only lets you video chat with one person at a time). This is incredible useful for those of you with start ups and you don’t have a place of business yet, but still are working from homes, offices, or where ever. The really cool thing is that Google gives you access to this feature on your cell phone too. (this is called a ‘huddle’).
- Sparks: Sparks is how you share articles, pictures, and videos with friends and family on Google +. When you click on the Share button, you will be able to choose which circles or individuals to share the content with. Also, sparks will present a drop down menu that will predict your topic when you search, similar to the old Google search. The dashboard will contain subjects you search for so you can access them easily. Very useful if you’re targeting information to a specific demographic.
For me, there is one con, and as a business owner seeking to promote her business on Google+, it’s a pretty major one. At the moment, there is no way to target people in Google+ that have not added you to their circles. So essentially, what you’re doing on Google+ is preaching to the converted. I like that you can target people on Facebook through their targeted advertising, especially in a country where every second person in the major urban areas are on Facebook.
That said, Google+ might pull a rabbit out the of their hat and come up with a new innovative way to target the millions of people that already use Google platforms (i.e. Gmail, the Google search engine, Google docs, etc). Until then, the verdict is, Google+ is Facebook’s younger adolescent brother that you still invest in, but isn’t quite mature enough to engage with properly.
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