There’s a good chance that by now you’re already aware of Google+. Introduced this summer, the site represents Google’s latest attempt to get involved in the world of social media. Unlike Google’s previous attempts, Google Wave and Google Buzz, it looks like Google+ is going strong and is here to stay. That means that when you’re planning your strategy for social media content writing, you may want to consider giving Google+ a role. Still, there are a couple of questions to consider before taking the plunge. In fact, it would be wise to develop your strategy now, but wait before moving to the implementation phase.
Who is Using Google+ Right Now?
As of late July, Google+ had exceeded 20 million unique visitors, and 5 million were from the United States (the next largest group of visitors, 3 million, came from India). Its largest market is New York City, while other comparatively large markets are San Francisco and Los Angeles. Its top indexing market is Austin, Texas, and the San-Francisco/Oakland area is close behind. There are some claims that growth has slowed, but one of the outstanding aspects of the growth of this site is the rapidity of that growth, which outstripped even the speed at which Twitter grew in the spring of 2009. It remains to be seen if that level of growth will be sustained. Google+ users are roughly 60% male and 40% female as of late July.
What Makes Google+ Unique?
Two features that immediately stand out are the Circles and Hangouts features. Circles allows users to group their contacts into various “circles,” each with unique settings as to what the user shares with their contacts in that circle. So if one wanted to share their Christmas photos with only their own family, they could create a family circle and restrict viewing of those photos to only those they have placed in their “family” circle. They then could have a circle for coworkers and share relevant work information with only those in their “coworkers” circle.
Hangouts work as a sort of group video chat, where all participants are displayed at once on the screen of any other participant. The person who is speaking at the time is displayed on the main part of the page automatically thanks to the site’s ability to recognize which microphone is currently delivering the audio. Any user can start a hangout, and of course participants can mute their own video (or that of others) as they wish.
What about Google+ For Businesses?
This is where things are perhaps a bit trickier. A number of businesses have already joined Google+. Some of them are pretty big names, including Ford and CBS News. Still, Google has stated that it does not yet want businesses to start joining just yet. In fact, it invited some bad press upon itself by suspending some business accounts while leaving others untouched. Early in July, Google announced that it was creating a separate platform for business that would take some time to prepare. In the meantime, it has sanctioned some trial pages (such as Ford’s) but has remained opposed to most businesses creating pages at this point in time.
So what should you do right now? Well, it’s pretty clear that Google doesn’t want most business to get on Google+ just yet, and creating a page at this time may just result in its suspension once it is discovered. The odds of getting a trial account look pretty slim too, since Google doesn’t look very willing to hand that many out. Still, Google+ looks like it could become a fairly promising market, which means that it wouldn’t be a bad target for future social media content writing plans. You may even want to go ahead and prepare some materials for the upcoming business site, but hold off a little while longer on actually creating a page.
Is your small business on Google+? Do you think it is here to stay?
This post contributed by Ken, our resident tech writer. If you would like Ken to research and produce quality content for your site, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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