In July of 2011 I wrote a post pitting Google Plus vs Facebook. There was plenty of hype surrounding the new contender, and large swaths of people signed up only to quickly fizzle away. The general consensus was, "Yeah, it's nice, but there's no one here." A lot has changed in the past two years, and I think it is time to revisit a few things. In fact, I have four reasons that you might want to give Google Plus another try.
- Clean Home Page: The initial look of Google Plus has been completely overhauled. It's like Pinterest only not as busy. You are not bombarded by ads and notifications and other functions that are of little or no interest. It's just a nice, clean, (dare I say) fun presentation of what's going on in your circles. And, oh yeah; it's responsive!
- Great Mobile App: Many of us primarily engage our social networks mobily. This should be a huge advantage for Google Plus. The development they have put into their app for both iPhone and Android is astounding! It is fluid yet somehow crisp. It also has better stability and speed than most social media apps out there.
- Eyes of the Beholder: The concept of circles and subsequently limited access to various users is what gave Google Plus their initial leg up. One really nice feature is the ability to view your own profile as a particular user or circle. This is especially nice when trying to spruce things up on your homepage. You can easily see what others see.
Sharing Made Simple
- Photos: As I have mentioned before, my favorite social media app has been Instagram. And, I don't like it for the articles ... I like it for the pictures. However, Google Plus now offers a more robust picture sharing platform that can access any number of pictures from anywhere, of any shape and apply any variety of filter.
- Videos: When it comes to video sharing, YouTube reigns supreme. Google Plus' seamless integration with this network give them an obvious, competitive edge. Not only is sharing videos easier, but the exposure and approval your videos get are integrated natively.
- Events: Once again, the Google Plus edge is gained by their integration with preexisting applications. The widely used Google Calendar can be automatically infused into your Google Plus account. Instead of having to goto multiple places to create, add, share and check on dates/events, you have it all right there from anywhere.
Let's Go Hangout
- Text: When it comes to online social interaction, text is still my goto option. Whether you are sending messages to one person, a few people or an entire group Google Plus offers great options for both desktop and mobile messaging.
- Audio: So, odds are the audio hangout feature is not the most utilized part of Google Plus. However, this does come in handy from time to time. For most social networks this is not even an option.
- Video: Here's where the money is. Personally I avoid video conferencing whenever possible, but most people just love it. I have a friend who recently applied for several jobs, many of which involved at least one video conference. I feel Google Plus offers the best and easiest user experience for this endeavor.
Exposure to the Some
- Sheer Numbers: You may feel like your target audience isn't on Google Plus right now. And, they may never be. However, the statistics seem to suggest otherwise. According to the often cited JeffBullas.com, "Despite it’s minimal mindshare, media profile and awareness Google+ has woven its way into our consciousness and is now the second largest social network."
- Actual Exposure: Hoping to encourage ad dollars, Facebook limited the organic exposure of businesses' posts. As Katherine Salt points out, an average of only 10-13% of a business's Facebook posts are seen by their followers. Google Plus, on the other hand, allows notifications to 100% of your followers making them more likely to see a post on G+ than on FB.
- Brand Loyalty: Let's talk involvement. Even if every social network out there had the same number of users, it is clear that Google Plus is not a leader in the time spent category. This might seem like a disadvantage at first, but it may not be. What Google Plus fans lack in number, they more than make up for in fervor and brand loyalty. They are your alpha consuming, evangelists. They will see, and they will act.