Can loyal Facebook users be tempted to expand their social engagement to include Google+? Maybe, maybe not, but don’t discount Google+…yet. It has some interesting advantages, the first of which is Google itself. Our advice is to keep watching, especially to see how Google+ will handle business pages.
1. The Advantage of Google
Google owns the largest market share of search engine traffic, an advantage that Google+ can certainly leverage. When its Twitter contract expired, Google disabled its Real-Time Search, but it could be resurrected with Google+. The opportunity to come up in organic search is a pretty good incentive to create a Google+ page and start posting regular updates. And there’s more. Google+ is also included in Google’s full product line, YouTube, Picasa and the Google Apps for Business Productivity Suite. If Google+ can provide full integration of a social networking platform into a company’s web presence, it begs the question: why seek alternatives?
2. The Advantage of +1
The +1 button could be huge, predicts HotelMarketing.com (October 04, 2011/Online Marketing). Why? If you own a brand page and use +1 on other owned sites, you have now linked them in a way that enhances search results.
3. The Advantage of Mobile and Location-Based Tie-Ins
Google+ is integrated into Android, which has rapidly become the most popular operating system for smartphones worldwide. Add Google+ Business Profiles into the already extensive listing of Google Places, and see what happens. Android users would be able to see static information (like hours of operation, menus, reviews, etc.) about a particular business and communicate in real time with the business itself and their Google+ Circles.
Take it a step further by integrating Google with Android’s mobile payment option through Near Field Communication and the Google e-Wallet. Now imagine being able to search for a take-out restaurant, get recommendations from your Circles, ask the restaurant for its daily specials, place your order, map its location and pay for it—all with your phone. On the flip side: what if this restaurant could track when you clicked the ad or search result, how long you spent on the website, what you ordered and how much you spent? Google already has proven models to do this. Facebook has no equivalent.
4. The Advantage of Expectations
Just speculating here—but is there a feeling that Facebook controls you, while you have some control with Google+? One of G+’s unexpected advantages is user expectations. It can quietly change, adapt and improve without creating an uproar among users. Not so with Facebook.
5. The Advantage of Being New
If you were late to social marketing, Google+ may offer you a chance to be a leader. People are already on to the marketing strategies of Facebook (for instance, many companies block Facebook), but Google+ is still frontier territory. This could be your chance to get ahead of your competition.
Last word: Facebook is an undeniable force, but Google+ has some neat features and the power of Google behind it. Is there a place for both in your social networking marketing strategy? Stay tuned.