On paper Google+ should be as big as Facebook. But sadly, Google's social platform has not enjoyed the same success and for the past few years, some marketers are claiming that Google+ is dying. In my opinion, I think that's a little over dramatic.
27% of marketers say they will use Google+ LESS in 2017
Buffer released their State of Social Media 2016 report which shared some interesting findings into how marketers are approaching their social media strategies.
One of the most interesting finds was how 27% of 1,200 marketers surveyed said they would use Google+ less next year. They would rather invest more time into Twitter and Facebook, especially Facebook Video.
Having enough time is perhaps one of the biggest struggles for marketers sit's understandable people want to focus their time on social platforms that are working for them. But it's interesting to see that many marketers have a common animosity towards Google+.
So, what's wrong with Google+?
Google Plus had a rocky start. It was born as a response to the sudden rise of Facebook and while it had some good ideas, some argue that its failure to differentiate itself from Facebook meant it was doomed from the start.
For many people who jumped on the Facebook bandwagon when it started, it's a fair assumption that most people wouldn't be tempted to join another similar social media platform when they're already setup on another.
When you look at Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, they have unique features that make them stand out.
Google+ does have standout features like Communities and Circles, but these have clearly been unable to draw a popular audience.
Should you stop using Google+ for business?
From speaking to other marketers, some don't use it and some say they use Google+ as a secondary afterthought when social sharing. None of them said they actively market on this social platform (and not even for personal use).
Just from talking to other marketers, you'd think, what's the point in using Google+ if nobody is really using it?
At Digital 22, for our own marketing as an inbound agency we do focus more on Facebook and LinkedIn because our ideal customers use those platforms on a regular basis. But when you look at the results, neither of those are our biggest drivers of traffic.
Snapshot of social media traffic in early November...
Google+ is responsible for almost half our traffic via social media sources.
From looking at this data, it would be foolish for us to decrease the amount of time we currently spend on Google Plus.
When I first started writing this blog, I was expecting Google+ to be our lowest source of traffic, so this was an interesting turn of events.
There are multiple reasons that can explain why we're getting high traffic from Google+:
- Google Accounts: if you have a Google account, it's easy to see a company's social activity on Google+ if you've been in contact with them previously
- The Layout Makes It More Clickable: in my opinion, I do prefer the layout of Google+ as it's easier to read and not filled with ads like Facebook.
- Google+ is not dead: there are over 111 million users on Google+ (Forbes)
If you have read the Forbes article, there are only 6.7 million Google+ users who have over 50 posts. People who post on a regular basis equate to half that amount.
While Google+ is definitely not dead, it's certainly struggling in the race behind Facebook. But despite this, as a marketer it would be a waste to reduce the amount of time you spend on Google's social platform - if it's providing you traffic and there are other opportunities for you to get involved in.
Why you should continue using Google+ in 2017
These are the reasons why you should still use Google+ as part of your social media strategy:
It still drives traffic
Obvious reason. Google+ is still an excellent provider of traffic, especially if your ideal customers are using it and you're sharing relevant and interesting content.
Look at your social media reports, if Google+ is attracting a healthy flow of readers and interested parties, it would be a waste to neglect them.
Google+ is Google's baby and if your business relies heavily on getting organic traffic from Google Search then it's worthwhile to maintain a presence on your Google+ account.
The content you share can be found in search and attract more traffic.
And another important note, Google is constantly changing and updating, staying ahead and active on Google+ could benefit you in the long run if Google makes any significant changes to how its social platform is run.
Excellent communities to interact with
One of the biggest selling points of Google+ is the communities. From the Forbes stats, there are only about 3.5 million people who actively post on Google+ but these are dedicated people who are involved in communities of like-minded people.
If there are communities out there in your industry, these are excellent opportunities to get involved in.
Google+ is a great place for discussions
If you're struggling to make time for social media, then it may be difficult to make time aside to create discussions and get involved.
But on Google+ you can see how communities dedicate time to discuss ideas and topics. Getting involved means you can enjoy the rewards of being involved in an engaged community. As a business, it's an opportunity to engage with potential customers and increase the awareness of your brand.
Don't abandon Google+ just yet
While people repeatedly say that Google+ is dying and that it's a waste of time, most of those people don't actually use it.
Before you abandon Google+, it's important to remember that every business is different. You need to look at your current traffic to see if Google+ drives any traffic to your site and also consider if your ideal customers use it.
Google's communities could be an excellent untapped resource, you've never considered using before.
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