The recent announcement of Google+ brand pages has marketers asking the obvious question, “Should I bother with another social media channel?” Most companies by now have some sort of presence on Facebook and Twitter. It’s working well for some and not so well with others. It’s safe to say at this point that a lot of time and resources are required to reap the benefits of social media marketing. So why Google+? Well, here are a few unique points:
Google+ has a smaller user base (40 million compared to Facebook’s 800 million). Fewer users can be a positive as there is less clutter and more focus on content itself. Facebook is packed full of updates with all of the integration that is taking place. Google+ is driven more towards professional and industry specific content. Companies may find an easier path to connect with a relevant audience.
Google+ offers unique functionality that Facebook or Twitter do not have available. “Hangouts”, or live audio/video chats, provide a direct opportunity to engage in discussions to get feedback or present exclusive content. Some companies such as Dell are looking into using “Hangouts” as a place for customer support and sales so the customers aren’t required to call on the phone.
Google+ will integrate with other Google offerings. Moving forward, Google will continue to unify its products with Google+. We’ve already seen the integration in its beginning stages with the +1 buttons. Deeper integration with Google Place and Maps, web and image search, and YouTube will come next. The integration will increase a company’s visibility on social media and with organic searches.