Google+: Is It Still a Useful Tool for Online Marketing?

Google+: Is It Still a Useful Tool for Online Marketing? image Business to community object 300x199Google+: Is It Still a Useful Tool for Online Marketing?

Google+ (G+) has gone from strength to strength during 2012, disproving the reams of commentators who were quick to brand it a ghost town and pronounce it DOA.

However, despite its indisputable growth, how has G+ fared in terms of its usefulness to marketers? In this article, we’ll examine some facts and figures to investigate how effective the network has been in this area since its inception.

  • Stats and Statements

Founded in June 2011, G+ has exploded on to the social scene and has, arguably, proved itself sufficiently to stand with the ‘big boys’ of the sector, like Facebook and Twitter.

As of December 2012, the network was the fastest growing network of all time, recording more than 500 million users with 235 million of these registering some activity on a monthly basis. Some other noteworthy figures show:

-          G+ is a bit of a sausage fest, with men making up 63 per cent of its users

-          Students and software developers are two of its biggest user groups

-          In January 2012, American users clocked just over 3 minutes on G+

-          More than 40 per cent of marketers claim that the network is “useful to critical” for their brand.

“I expect brands will notice this and will build marketing plans around it,” Bradley Horowitz, vice president for products at Google+, said of the network’s future.

  • Features 

As well as expanding +1 functionality (which can generate more than triple the traffic directed to a site from G+), Google has been keen to further the product’s integration in its line.

Last year, the company started rolling out location-specific results and have tied this into their G+ brand pages in earnest. Shortly after this, it also offered businesses the means to verify their accounts – connecting their online presence to their real-world location. Phone-based verification has also begun to be provided for US companies.

Verification has a range of benefits, including adding specific information about your brand, the ability to respond to reviews and making you eligible for a custom URL. Once verified, you’ll also appear in Google Direct Connect results, which may offer some SEO (search engine optimisation) benefits. A verified page can also act as a mark of trust, letting your users know they’re connecting with the real McCoy.

  • Taking Advantage

All the wonderful features of G+ aren’t worth squat if you’re approaching marketing on the platform in the wrong way. When tackling Google’s growing network, you’ll need to obey the basic tenets of Social Media Marketing and tailor things specifically to the channel.

For instance, G+ feeds tend to incorporate a lot of visual media, so share plenty of photos and videos. Sharing interesting, timely and relevant content is a must and when you do share – make sure you’re promoting stuff other than your own.

Google+ is attracting more and more users and seems to be an intrinsic part of Google’s plans for the future and by getting your foot in the door (relatively) early, you’ll be able to reap the benefits ahead of the crowd.

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