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Article | 24 Oct 2014

Is Social Media a Game Changer?

Posted in Industry news, Top tips, Tools & Advice, Learning,

Social media; The way of the world. Connecting almost anyone, anywhere at any time. With almost 2 billion users to date worldwide, it is evident that this is the largest opportunity for business marketing. Companies of all means and sizes have now jumped on board, eager to keep up and ahead with their competition.

Of all current social media platforms, one in particular seems to be fast rising on the business front –Google+. It includes similar functionalities to its competitors, for instance having the ability to share updates, photos and also to distribute private messages. The way it differentiates itself is by allowing users to categorise the people that you follow into circles, meaning that you can control specifically who can see what content that you share. Could this differentiation be the game changer for online business marketing?

Google+ Circles; The differentiation

From a business perspective, Google+ Circles are a feature of benefit. They allow businesses to interact with specific smaller groups within their larger target audience, and assist in delivering more relevant content.

Fact: Currently, there are around 500 million registered accounts in use with Google+, however despite being the world’s second largest social media site Google+ ‘only accounts for 2% social sharing’ in comparison to its competitors, including Facebook and Twitter who account for 50% and 24% respectively. What can be determined from this information is that whilst people are signed up to Google+, they are not yet actively using the platform.

Commonly used social media platforms

  • Facebook #1, with 94% usage
  • Google+ #6, with 54% usage
  • Pinterest ranked 47%
  • Instagram ranked 28%

Fact: Marketers who spend 40+ hours per week focusing on their social media are spending about 42% of that time focusing on Google+. It is the number one platform that markets wish to learn more about – and so they should!

Industry perspective

Via its magazine and web platforms, Family Traveller is the indispensable guide to anyone travelling with babies, toddlers, teenagers or grandparents. Lisa Atkins, Digital Content Manager for the business, commented that while she currently uses other social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, she makes certain that all content she does post also makes its way onto Google+. The networking site allows Family Traveller to follow individual groups, sharing exclusively relevant content geared towards each of those groups specifically.

Spook Studio, the home to happy start ups, specialise in assisting entrepreneurs and companies to launch innovative, new digital products.

Its co-director, Carlos Saba shed light on his thoughts about Google+ as a marketing tool. Carlos is an advocate of Google Apps as a simple yet cost effective solution to managing business workflow, in particularly with remote working teams. Yet as Google+ currently accounts for only 2% of social sharing, and has quite a difficult user interface, he feels it is currently not the most effective communication tool to market his business, although if usage was to increase, this could change.

In his recent article Jayson DeMers, Contributor for Forbes questions whether or not Google+ is the walking dead, given the recent exodus earlier this year of Vix Gundotra, Google+’s chief evangelist for almost 8 years. Despite concerns of the shape of Google+ in the future he does conclude that he believes it will continue to influence search engine optimization in the future as well as delivering value to Google in the form of advertising intelligence.

Despite Industries perspective that there is room for improvement or questions over what direction Google+ will take, many seem to agree that this social networking site does seem to be heading in the right direction as far as Business use is concerned. Given the growing popularity of Google Apps, and Google’s fundamental policy of looking to deliver the best content to its users the future certainly looks bright for Google+ becoming even more integrated with business activity... Stay tuned!