Wired says Google+ is "growing at Facebook speed". It's a great headline, but what does it mean for businesses?
Should you market your business on Google+?
Or more precisely, can you afford to keep ignoring Google+? Should you stop pouring all that energy into Facebook Pages that Facebook won't let most of your fans see, even with the new Page-based News Feed?
Is the Google+ approach to advertising, using surfacing social proof in search, more enterprise-friendly?
As far as Facebook goes, the jury is still out. Facebook's "Like-gate" may be just the beginning of Facebook's real business model, as this article explains.
Many businesses are continuing their Facebook investment despite the reduced audience for their feeds, waiting to see what will happen and unwilling to lose the following they've invested marketing time and money in.
But you can't afford to ignore Google+ anymore. Whether they really have "135 million active users checking their Google+ streams each month" or not, they are Google, and your customers are using Google to search (unless they're using Bing, which as we recently noted, a surprising amount of them are!).
So businesses need to get in the Google+ game, start marketing on their Google+ presence, and start using Google's Google+ incentives to boost their ranking.
For example, we recently started using Google Verified Author tags on our blog. Your company can get a search boost by having your blogger add these simple tags to your content marketing. This week Google rolled out Google+ Communities, which are a Groups function; you can join and become active in Communities that relate to your business and connect with influencers. We joined the already-actually-quite-awesome "Makers, hackers, artists & engineers" community as well the slightly awkward "Geek" community. (Although we secretly wanted to join the "Walking Dead Circle"!)
Here in the Bay Area, where the tech community strongly resisted Google+ at launch because of privacy concerns about their "real names" and gender identification policies, it's been very hard to get onboard with Google+ as a business tool.
But the smart money is on Google in the long run, as this CNET article about why G+ doesn't have to beat Facebook to work details. If you're really doubtful about committing marketing resources from your bsuiness to Google+, you can create a Google Analytics Custom Campaign. Just assign tags to the links you post in Google+, then track the traffic they're referring. Or you can simply gamble on Google, because as Dorie Clark explains in Forbes, nobody's really certain about anything in social marketing right now.
Suzanne on Google plus