Google+ has been getting a lot of negative press lately. People are saying that there's nobody on there while Google itself is saying that there's over 100 million active users. Is it even close to Facebook's 900 million users? No. Should brands be on it matter to brands how many people are actually using it. Absolutely.
Focusing in on Google+'s user base (let's put it at a conservative 20 million users) sounds to us like a vanity metric. It's a meaningless number - especially when compared to Facebook.
We think that Google+ can help marketers answer two important questions:
- What areas of my digital marketing is Google+ helping with?
- What insights can I gather from Google+ and apply to other parts of my business.
Let's dig deeper.
Google+ helps round out your digital marketing
There are some really great things baked into Google+ that can help impact your online presence.
Since you're already making great content that people love, you should share it on Google+ as well. Though there's not any official documentation from Google, sharing your content and being active on G+ will help you rank higher in search results.
Customer Service and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The Google hangouts feature is a key differentiator and helps G+ stand out from the other social networks. Imagine you just launched a product or there were some user expectations that weren't met. The only thing better than a personal outreach to some customers? Personal outreach to some customers and highlighting the event to the ENTIRE WORLD. Have a customer service person (aka the CEO) take questions from customers on what went wrong and how those are going to be prevented in the future.
On the CRM front, invite select VIP customers for a special product announcement, record the whole thing, and then share it.
Integration with other Google services
KISSmetrics has a great blog post called "25 awesome free Google tools for marketers".
They have not only created a thriving social network, but they have incorporated it into almost every aspect of the Google experience, including Google search results themselves
Incorporating all of the other Google services not only makes sense, but it was inevitable. Linking Google services (Adwords, Analytics, Places, Chrome, etc.) together will help strengthen your iniatives and give you better data and insights. Which leads to...
How G+ helps other areas of your business
A great feature of Google+ (that nobody knows about) is Ripples. Ripples gives you a visual representation of how your content is being shared and, more importantly, who is sharing it.
To see the ripples click the down arrow next to a public post.
Then you can see how your post gets shared and who shares it.
And finally you can add the people who shared your post into your existing circles (if they're not already in there any).
This is a key feature because it allows you to gather insights about who is interested in your content and your business. If you think that, for example, your target audience is all DIY crafters but the people sharing your content are sewers then you might want to not only change up the content you create, but perhaps make a new product that is sewing specific.
Just because Google+ doesn't have the amount of people that Twitter or Facebook does, doesn't mean that the people who are on there aren't doing anything. It's more likely than not that the G+ users are also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Therefore they are heavy social media users, influencers and the people wh you need to talk to.
How are you using Google+ and what kind of insights have you been gathering from it? Let us know in the comments!