What is Google Plus?
I know there are some of you out there that haven’t heard of Google Plus (I will refer to it as G+ for the rest of this article) – mentioning it often produces blank looks while chatting at networking events! So if you’re not aware, G+ is a new social network, launched by search giant Google on June 28th 2011. Despite having initially been “invitation only”, the new network has grown at an unprecedented rate.
It is becoming increasingly important to use Google Plus for business, as I’ll explain below. According to this post by Paul Allen (“unofficial” G+ statistician), within 2 weeks it had 10 million users, rising to 38 million by October 1st 2011, and 62 million by December 27th 2011. On January 19th 2012, Google CEO Larry Page announced that G+ now had 90 million users globally – more than 60 percent of whom use the site daily, and more than 80 percent of whom use G+ weekly.
Growth of G+
Equally interesting is the comparison with Facebook – whose first 25 million users were added over 3 years, compared to G+’s 1 month. On paper this looks astonishing, but when you consider how fast technology has developed in the 8 years since Facebook launched, it’s not so surprising. A large percentage of the world’s population is now completely at home with social media, so the addition of a new network from a company as massive as Google, was always going to get a lot of attention.
G+ went “public” in September 2011, meaning that an invitation was no longer necessary to set up a personal profile on the network. On November 7th, business pages were launched, with this quote:
For business and brands, Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you. Not only can they recommend you with a +1, or add you to a circle to listen long-term. They can actually spend time with your team, face-to-face-to-face. All you need to do is start sharing, and you’ll soon find the super fans and loyal customers that want to say hello.
Another major development followed on January 10th 2012, when Google announced “Search Plus Your World”, a significant change to its search algorithm. What this means in a nutshell is that when you search for something now, priority will be given to your friends’ and contacts’ online experiences rather than links and domain authority. Moreover, this makes your G+ network very important. According to Marketing Land, SPYW is a massive heads up from Google to businesses to get themselves set up on G+.
The week after SPYW was announced, another new feature was introduced whereby you can share and join in a conversation directly from search results.
Yet another telling sign is that now, in order to sign up for YouTube, Gmail, or any other Google product, you first have to create a G+ account.
Google is certainly going all out to integrate search and social, and these recent updates will have a massive impact. Businesses will need to get up to speed with the changes and have strategies in place to take full advantage. Clearly, the most important action to take immediately is to set up a G+ business page if you haven’t already done so. I will write about how to do this in my next post - stay tuned
Meanwhile if you’re already using Google Plus for business, why not add me to your circles? (see link in the sidebar to the right)
Need help creating shareable content and establishing your presence on social networks, or need help setting up your G+ page? Take the first step! Contact me on 01777 249075
or by email at email@example.com