Google+ is still flying beneath the radar when it comes to many business’s social media marketing plans. Yes, it is hard to believe that with the company’s tight grip on the online and offline world that the Google giant could ever hide in plain sight. But with this social networking channel, that seems to be what is happening for many businesses and social media users. I’m willing to bet that might be about to change.
Do the Numbers Lie
Google+ Communities might just be a game-changer for the company’s – some would say – struggling social network. And the truth is: Google+ is anything but struggling. In fact, “From July 2011 to December 2012, Google notes Google+ enabled accounts have increased from 10 million to 500 million users.” But is, “Google+ The Fastest Growing Social Network ‘Thingy’ Ever”? I’ll leave that up to other social marketers to debate. We’re here to talk about Google+ Communities.
So exactly what is this new feature Google recently added? I’m glad you asked. If you are using – and you should be – Facebook for business, then you most likely know about Facebook Groups. Google+ Communities are this social network’s answer to the popular group feature offered by Facebook.
Different but Similar
While some features of Google+ Communities function differently than Facebook Groups, there are still some similarities that will help businesses, social media marketers and social network users get a grasp on this new addition. Like Facebook, Google+ offers both public and private online gathering places. And also like Facebook’s Groups, Google+ gives businesses the ways and means to connect to and communicate with individuals with interests that relate to a brand’s products and services.
On the Other Hand
There are, as one would expect, differences in these two social network offerings. One big plus for businesses is that content shared in Google+ Communities with public settings is indexed and added to Google’s search results. Businesses can also create a rich, multi-media experience – think photos and videos – within Google+ and also utilise Google+ Hangouts to hold live-video chats – think webinars, product introductions, customer service sessions, etc. – with its circle of followers. I’m willing to bet that once you begin using the Communities feature, your business will discover quite a few creative uses to market your brand.
This or That
For myself, choosing between the two is not an option. Facebook for business is still a must-play for businesses looking to engage customers. And with Google+, you now you have another tool to add to your social media marketing toolbox. So if you’re ready to explore, here’s a guide to get started with Google+ Communities.
Is your business using Google+ to engage with your customers? We’d love to hear how you do it. Please share your tips with our community in the comments below. Thanks!