Google Plus – the dark horse emerges from anonymity

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While all of us were training our resources on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – Google Plus was making a sly and steady ascent to the top. Recently, the dark horse made to it to the second spot right next to Facebook in terms of active users. Twitter, toppled, tumbled to the third.

Many of us dismissed Google Plus as a social network. It was thought that no sentient being treads that ground. The point we all missed is that Google is omnipresent. Clearly, we were way off the mark with that assumption. The above fact dispels that notion.

The moot point, then, is whether it’s time for brands to focus on Google Plus. The answer is a resounding ‘YES’. The few points explained below will bolster that assertion:

A Big Help for SEO

SEO, it\’s the magic word that makes every marketer sit up. Google is massively invested in verifying authenticity of your content. So, with all the Google properties – Youtube, email, Google document sharing, hangout, maps, blog, listing in business pages and the myriad apps – when your customers are engaging with you on Google Plus, your SEO rankings are sure to go up significantly. Notably, a recent report announced Facebook ‘likes’ don’t contribute to Google search rankings.

Combines Features of Different Platforms

Google Plus has managed to encompass all the best features of different social media platforms we use for different purposes. So, it has the Twitter hashtags. It has the LinkedIn Communities. It has Youtube’s live streaming with Hangout on Air. It also has the Facebook ‘likes’ in +1s as well as Business Pages in line with FB Brand Pages and many, many more features. Even Pinterest and Tumblr will have a tough time competing with it.

Pays to be Early

It pays to be early on Google Plus, when there is less clutter of other brands in that space. It is all over the news that Facebook engagement is declining. Moreover, it now costs more in Facebook to cut through the noise. Google Plus is still free. The Millennials are rumored to be embracing Google Plus more. It won’t be far when Google Plus is a formidable force in Social media. Isn’t it a great scenario to be present already where your fans are joining it by hordes? They wouldn’t be distracted by your competitors while waiting for you to sprout-up out there.

A Natural Extension of the Mail Service

Google Plus is a natural extension of the mail service. With every new account, a Google Plus profile is automatically created. If one is using more than a few Google services, they are more likely to have a Google Plus profile. What is exciting is that, it is seamlessly integrated in the mail. So, when you are involved in mail exchanges with somebody, his/her Google Plus activity is displayed on the side, within the mail. This means, all the social media averse blokes and ‘blokettes’, who managed to stay away till now, will now be assimilated in this platform. Do I hear more reach?

Real Communities

Google Plus communities are designed to encourage real interactions. So, even as a business page you can join a community, participate in discussions, hangout, create an event, collaborate and so on. The best part is that they appear in Google searches. What could be more compelling?

Those Circle Things

The concept of circles makes it easy for you to segment your audience according to your preference and tailor communication accordingly. So, be it gender, age, locality and so on – it makes perfect sense for brands and a great remedy for reaching the right audience.

Post Activity Tracker

The post activity tracker had me give in to the promising appeal of this platform. Its elegant flip design lets you track the performance of each post just by clicking the option on top right drop down menu. The post flips to give you the details of the post engagement. It is so cool, it makes me play with it!

As the year progresses, Google will surely add many more features to Google Plus and make it impossible to resist. The reason to be there are already compelling enough. I am sure, there are so many aspects to this platform that I left uncovered. I welcome your comments on what according to you makes a case for Google Plus to be at the center of a brand’s social media strategy.

And since everyone loves infographics, here\’s one about Facebook vs Google.

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