People are talking about Google+, some of it’s good, some of it’s not. Do you know who is talking about it the most? Google. It appears to be unsatisfied with being the internet’s top search engine (68.1% market share) and with its name and brand being synonymous with the word “search” (A level of brand recognition most companies only dream of; I’m looking at you Kleenex). So in its effort to achieve world domination, Google has gone to great lengths to control and shape all of your online activity. They have bought up more than a hundred companies (the most famous examples being Blogger, Motorola and YouTube) in the past three years (at a rate of nearly one company a week), and have created the platform Google+ which ties everything it — and you — do online into one sprawling network.
The Google machine is home to a plethora of services that far surpass its original function as a search engine. These services include Alerts, Apps, Blogger, Calendar, Chrome, Drive, Gmail, Groups, Hangouts, Earth, Maps, Play, Translate and YouTube, all of which are connected to your Google+ account. In fact, you can no longer log in to YouTube without logging into your Google+ account.
So having a Google+ account isn’t exactly a choice, more of something you can either chose to begrudgingly live with or something to take advantage of. Those that do take advantage of it seem to be as dedicated as Apple worshipers, and those that don’t, dismay over its transformation from a courageous small upstart to the “evil” information gathering conglomeration it is today. Despite the naysayers and my own frustrations with the platform, I believe that it is always better to take advantage of the tools that are available to you than to leave them unused.
Therefore, here are some reasons why you and I should be more active on Google+.
1) The Power of Google
The power of Google should not be underestimated. I would be very careful about going up against a company whose mission statement appears to be completely reasonable despite including such a lofty goal as “organize[ing] the world’s information… [to] make it universally accessible and useful.” Google also has more than enough money and influence to push their agenda (in this case Google+), and since it already dominates mobile internet add revenue by 50% it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to eventually dominate this as well.
Google+ has the most number of visits per month (1,203 million) of any social media platform. This statistic is based on counting any and all visits to any of Google’s services (like Gmail for example) as a hit for Google+. Hits don’t have to be unique nor from people with accounts. While this artificially inflates its visitation statistics, Google+ actually hosts 500 million users. Sure, that’s not Facebook’s 1.15 Billion users nor Facebook’s domination over both American and World social media market share, but does it really have to be when we are comparing hundreds of millions of people? How big does an audience have to be for it to be worth chasing?
Out of this 500 million people, you can pick and chose who sees your content, by group, topic or circle. You can use hashtags, tag people, crosspost to other platforms and link to your site. This allows you to maximize the number of relevant, interested eyes seeing your content without shouting into the Internet abyss hoping someone will hear you. So not only do you have a large audience to work from, you can easily focus and target this audience to those that matters the most. That is the definition of good marketing.
4) Connectivity and Ease of Use
Everything on Google+ is connected, making it easy to move freely back and forth between Google’s services. This is particularly useful for connecting with people over programs like Drive (a file sharing and editing program) Hangouts (a video conferencing and chat program) and of course, YouTube. It is also easy to crosspost to other social media websites. Google+ does not limit the word count like twitter and allows you to pick and choose your audience unlike Facebook.
5) Business Accounts
For those who need something more, there are paid business accounts (Google Apps for Business) that allow you to create a secure and regularly backed up network for your team to use, share and connect with. This costs $50/year for licensing and $5 or $10 a month per user depending on your plan.
* Remember, you should only join a new social media platform if you have already mastered the platforms you are currently on, have time to learn, post and maintain a new one and your target audience can actually be reached through its use.
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