Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is Google+ good for business or just universal bullying?

I’m a little behind with Google and its steely determination to penetrate the social media universe, so decided to do some research on its latest (ish) newborn, Google+ Pages.

33 per cent of British firms have set up a brand page on Google+, possibly made up by statistic munchkins in Statisticland but I’m clearly not alone in failing to take advantage of the wonderful lead generation opportunities. Phew!

For those more backward than me, Google+ was launched in June 2011 and in November was updated to include Google+ Pages.  These Pages allow the likes of us marketers to share information with and offer deals to potential customers via the “social networking site”.

My initial reaction is it’s just another bloody marketing channel to monitor.  Look what you’ve done. I’m melting. Melting! Oh what a world.

But apparently I’m missing out! I’m not taking advantage of this potential addition to my integrated marketing services offering and I have no idea how this service will affect my search marketing efforts. Eeek!

Andrew Warren-Payne, research analyst and not a munchkin, at Econsultancy said: "Google+ results now feature heavily on the search engine results page. With Google making significant moves in this area, companies should look to incorporate Google+ as part of their social and content marketing strategy. Those that do not are likely to miss a significant opportunity."

Hmmm, using Google+ to help increase my SEO ranking. Duh really! Of course it will - they bloody own it! (That’s my swearing quota done – no more I promise).

I don't like Google, but that's a whole other blog entirely. I feel that I'm being bullied and I either join the Plus One Club or I am missing out on one precious ranking factor. Google have full control and I'm really not happy and really trying not to swear.

I know that I should want to have anything and everything I can get my grubby hands on in order to increase my ranking. But it’s the principle. Surely?
Another report (Simply Measured) indicated that average weekly circle engagement for those that are already playing has increased by 112 per cent for the top 100 brands on Google+ in the last six months.
Yet despite Google claiming the network now has 170 million users, some studies have indicated that in many instances users' level of engagement with it is limited.

When questioned about the perceived lack of success of Google+ at his company's Big Tent event near London last week, Google chairman Eric Schmidt of course assertively defended the network.

He said comparisons with Facebook were unfair, given that Facebook has been around for 12 years now and promised that there was more to come from Google+.

Mr Schmidt remarked: "Google+ is doing better than I expected given the competitors in the market and the success of Facebook. "Do I think it's a success? Absolutely. Absolutely." 

Well, he’s not going to do a Gerald Ratner on us is he (for those of you who don’t know that infamous faux pas,  Bing him).

But I do agree. Facebook is for maintaining old relationships and Google+ is about making new connections. They are different species and comparisons shouldn’t be made.

I am not convinced how brilliant this is from a B2B marketing perspective though and did I mention I don’t like Google as I nervously look skyward for lightening?