As promised, this week Google announced that they are adding business pages to Plus. As part of the ballyhooed effort they listed all the brands that have established their foothold in the Plus space. I won’t list them here because you can find them, well, I guess by searching for them on Google+.
That is, if you care.
At this point Facebook has over 800 million people registered for the service. And, according to Facebook, half of them visit the site every day! Google+, on the other hand, has about 40 million users – or thereabouts. Not too shabby for a fledgling Social Media site.
The question is – do you need a Google+ business page right now? Yes, having a presence on that site marks you as cool and cutting edge. People will see that your business or non-profit is socially savvy, etc. But, what do you reap from this new platform.
More importantly, do you have the time to really spend on building out your presence on Google+. Those big brands that are leading the way have two things you probably lack – time and money. They have large digital departments and can easily assign the task to their employees or vendor. The cost is swallowed whole buy their huge marketing budgets.
You, on the other hand, are struggling to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, Tumblr, You Tube, Flickr, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You already know that the content you post on Facebook needs to be different from that you post on Twitter. If you are blogging you know how time-consuming it is to come up with frequent topics that you can spin into at least 300 words of prose.
So, do you really need to add Google+ to that job chart? Functionally speaking, the reality is that you’d be most likely to repeat your Facebook content on Google+. It also means you now have another platform you have to monitor daily.
Do not read this as me being anti-Google+. I think it is a fine platform that has some great features. and, the way it integrates with the other Google products has great potential. That is the operative word here – potential.
A little over a year ago, most businesses weren’t even thinking about setting up a page on Facebook. They knew there was some “there” there but it wasn’t deemed as critical. Now, like in the early stages of the web – having a Facebook page is just the cost of doing business. Regardless of how well you maintain or monitor the page you realize you need to be there because people expect it.
Maybe the way to approach this Google+ question is to ask your current fans/customers/donors. Consider posting this question on your Facebook page. Do the same in your email newsletter. If you find that a large enough percentage of your followers are interested in Google+ – start building!
If not, wait to see if Google+’s business pages fulfill their potential. As long as you have a current and focused Social Media strategy ignoring this platform will not hurt you. However, if you have the time and the content to dive in – by all means do so.
The question isn’t what do lose by not being there. It’s – what do you have to gain?
Steve Allan, Social Media Specialist