How does Google+ stack up against Facebook?
Google+ came screaming out of the gates when it was released in June. Excitement over the social networking tool appears to have cooled somewhat since the launch, but membership is still nearing 10 million, although “active usage” is still nowhere near Facebook’s. For comparison, Google+ has 32 million unique monthly visitors while Facebook enjoys 700 million (nearly 22 times the traffic).
One advantage that Google+ appears to have over Facebook is the innovative “Circles” feature. Google+’s Circles is a way of organizing the people you choose to follow on Google+. People can add you to their circles, but they’ll only see your posts that you choose to make public, unless you add them to one or more of your circles.
This allows you to separate your posts for, say, your “friends” from the comments you post for your “professional contacts” or “clients.” For businesses using social media, this is an important step forward. If used properly, Circles can effectively integrate the principles of target marketing into your social media tactics.
The Circles dashboard, on the other hand, has been criticized for being a bit overwhelming in its complexity, with someone referring to it as “looking like the cabin of a 747.” This perceived complexity may be contributing to the site’s tapering growth.
Privacy is another criticism that might be slowing its acceptance. Google+ requires sign ups to provide their full names along with phone numbers. The goal was to prevent people from hiding behind fake identities, which can be used to harm other individuals or organizations. But many people do not want to provide that much data to the media supergiant Google.
But what does this mean for businesses and brands? Google+ released a short video explaining that they are currently focused on the consumer experience, but would be testing and allowing businesses to sign up later this year. At Heinzeroth, we’ll be watching the high profile companies to see how they interact in circles, streams and hangouts. The most potential comes from companies and brands that create dynamic social video campaigns and offer a new real-time viewing experience in the “hangouts” area.
Initially, you had to have a “personal invitation” to join Google+, but registration is now officially open to anyone with a Google account. All you have to do is to go to https://plus.google.com and sign in with your account and you will be accepted. If you haven’t already, sign up today and decide for yourself.