This article was originally written by me for The Platform Blog.
Google+ is one of the fastest growing social networks of all time, yet it continues to get a pasting in the mainstream traditional media. It wouldn’t be the first time there was friction between these two camps but it’s also a lesson in looking behind the headlines and reading between the lines.
At the end of May 2012, The Daily Mail Online wrote an article labelling the social network a “virtual ghost town”, stating that the average user posts once every 12 days and the average update gets less than one share, one reply and less than a single +1.
A powerful story like that would knock most companies off their feet; not Google though. They’ve been around far too long and are now such a generic trademark for online search that “googling” is part of everyday life, and according to their latest figures, Google+ has over 250m worldwide users which equates to about four times the UK population. So it’s hardly a ghost town worthy of such derision. This anecdotal evidence from Cadbury is testament to the fact this platform is producing measurable and useful results.
Well, let’s start with the Google Hangout feature. A brilliantly simple idea (so simple but no other social network has ever properly cracked it), which allows users to talk face to face via a video conferencing service. Up to 10 people can join a hangout either by desktop, mobile or tablet device.
But even better is the fact that this online video conversation can also be broadcast globally usingHangout on Air and shared via YouTube, giving brands the opportunity to launch announcements, new products and celebrity partnerships in both a visual and experiential manner. Cadbury (which has both a corporate and consumer facing owned brand presence on Google+) has claimed it as a “favourite feature because of the opportunity to speak with customers easily and with little preparation”. The brand also sparked a fantastic news story, simply by launching a new product, Dairy Milk Bubbly, on Google+ way back in January 2012.
Improvement in search
According to Cadbury, Google+ is also having a big impact on search results. Keywords such as ‘London2012’ or ‘Rebecca Adlington’ are now showing results for Cadbury for users who have ‘circled’ the brand on Google+.
With more users linking their Google+, Gmail and YouTube accounts, this will become increasingly more important for brands looking to create a positive impact in the SEO-verse, as well as an engaging connection with customers and potential consumers.
One to look out for…
I strongly believe that Google+ will be a force to be reckoned with the near future. If you’re thinking about a platform for online engagement, don’t laugh it off just yet, the stats are complicated and confused at the moment, but that will all change!