Don't Count Out the Unlikely Underdog, Google+

Everyone knows that Google+ was a huge flop. Clearly it’s just another project where the internet giant swung and missed.  Why bother spending any of your time in this social ghost town?

This has been the prevailing rhetoric surrounding the social network; a perception which has become more inaccurate each and every day.

When Google+ came out, everyone’s natural reaction was to consider it “Google’s version of Facebook.” This catchy characterization would have likely been embraced by Google had they stumbled into immediate success; however, this generalization is an ill fit to the internet giant’s Google+ master plan.

Consider Google’s user acquisition strategy. They have successfully transitioned all Gmail and YouTube accounts into a combined Google+ account. Google+ now casually strolls into the beginning of 2013 with a total of 343 million users, surpassing both Twitter and Linkedin.

What Makes Google+ Different?

The biggest difference between Google+ and their social media competition is a strong backing by the world leading search engine, a difficult gap to bridge. For the last decade, internet marketers have relied on Google’s search engine rankings to drive business. These same businesses have begun to realize the importance of creating a Google+ company page for better search engine results. So in essence, Google now controls how users discover your business (search engine), how they get to your business (Google Maps), as well as documenting user feedback of your business (Zagat Reviews). Is it so hard to conceive that they would foster an online space where people could begin directly engaging and interacting with your business?

Now shift your focus away from a business perspective and towards the social user’s outlook. It is likely that in some form or fashion Facebook’s rush to monetize its platform has caused you frustration. After all, making money has become the core mission for Facebook since its doors opened to Wall Street last summer. And while all companies, including Google, are looking to make money, there is far less pressure on Google+ to immediately impact the bottom line. In response to a query posted by an blogger, business owners  and advocates of Google+ described Google’s foray into new realms as the future of social media while other mediums like Facebook are lingering somewhere in the past. Some of the respondents noted that Facebook is perfect for keeping in touch with old friends, but Google+ was the preferred resource when searching for meaningful content about things that currently interest you.

Most businesses are too busy developing a more direct social media strategies to enter the frontiers of a whole new platform. Most people probably explore their existing Google+ account only to see few familiar faces, encountering processes they don’t entirely understand along the way. While these are justified for the present moment, be wary of how quickly the social media landscape can change.  Keep a watchful eye on the rapidly growing Google+ community.  With the solid backing and inherent wide reaching web power that comes with the Google brand, your diligence could pay off in big dividends.