This post was first published by Sarah Hurley on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.
Google+ is gaining steam — and fast. According to new research, 34 percent of people who use social networks to connect to other websites use Google+ as their primary platform. This both Twitter and LinkedIn, and falls short only of Facebook which leads the pack with 46 percent.
Google+ is also increasing its sharing more rapidly than Facebook. Another recently released report compares the average monthly increase of Google+ “plus ones” to Facebook’s “shares” over a six month period. The findings show that Google+ users increased their sharing of “plus ones,” including Web pages, blog posts and videos, by 19 percent from month to month, while Facebook shares went up 10 percent per month. This same report predicts Google+ users will generate over 1,096 billion +1s per month by 2016, compared to Facebook’s predicted 849 billion shares. When you consider that Google+ has only half the user base of Facebook, this growth is astounding.
So, what accounts for the uptick and why should businesses care? As we’ve said before, and we’ll say again, Google+ helps companies promote thought leadership pieces while simultaneously impacting how they appear in Internet searches. Basically, any organization that wants to rank well on Google should absolutely join Google+. And it looks like companies are finally getting on board.
As PR professionals, we encourage our clients and their executive teams to build their Google+ profiles in order to position themselves as valued thought leaders. Content shared through Google+ is increasingly being valued more in search results, so we advocate sharing and linking to website, blog and other social channel collateral.
Establishing Google Authorship can also help push company content in front of more sets of eyes, and build the profiles of top executives at the same time. Then there are Google+ Hangout chats, which can be used to further promote multimedia content and create panel sessions with industry influencers.
Recent updates to Google+ are boosting its user base even more, like the new carousel feature that lets users scroll through images to search for local business listings, making it more interactive and fun to use. Many industries, such as hospitality and entertainment, are already included in the carousel design, and Google plans to add even more verticals and features over time. And the new Google+ layout, which helps enhance users’ visuals and creates a better aesthetic overall, also unifies Web and mobile experiences so that a brand’s profile is presented more consistently across all devices.
Like with every new social network, the opportunities for increased visibility and engagement are endless. The key is to map out a strategy that puts the strengths and features of Google+ to work for you, building relationships with key influencers along the way and moving you that much closer to your overall marketing goals. It’s working so far for many of Google+’s 500 million registered users. What about you?