Will Google Plus be around one or two years down the road? Is it here to stay, or another failed attempt by Google to get in on social in a meaningful way? These are important questions. Personally, I’m doing some research for an upcoming book and I’ve been very curious lately as to whether or not Google Plus will still be around when the book gets published. For you, this is a good chance to examine whether or not Google Plus is something you should get involved with. Granted this post does not qualify as scientific research, but since 7 out of 8 random social media experts responded that they felt Google Plus was going to live on when asked whether the service would ultimately survive or die, so you may want to pay some serious attention to what the service has to offer or means to your business/life. Of course, having a working knowledge of the various social media platforms is an important part of the 6 Essential Building Blocks of an effective social media effort.
Are you on Google Plus? Leave us a comment and let us know whether or not you think Google Plus will ultimately survive or die (hey, you might get quoted in my book) or whether or not you agree or disagree with what these 8 experts had to say on the subject.
Here are the 8 statement we received from a random sampling of social media experts on Google Plus’ chances of survival. All but 1 were optimistic.
Brands Are Being Forced to Engage
Google+ has brought together all of Google’s products under a single social umbrella. Just last month, the search giant closed the doors on Google Places, replacing it with Google+ Local, bringing all business location results into Google+, a significant step in Google’s march to control the social web. With the overlap of reviews and impending integration with Google+ pages, brands are ultimately being forced to engage with Google’s social network. The ever increasing integration of Google+ signals into search results will also force brands to engage with the platform for SEO reasons. Google made a huge investment in social marketing, with CEO Larry Page directly linking the annual bonuses of over 25 per cent of employees to the success of their social products.
Ultimately, it will stem down to how society evolves. In the future, should we move away from wanting to have social on a single network, Google+ may, as a platform be dusted away into the cupboards along with Google Buzz and Wave, but the social integration of all Google’s products will without doubt continue to evolve, further strengthening each of their products. In some form or another, Google’s social network will remain indefinitely.
A High-Profile Experiment Yields Dramatic Results
I’m in a unique position to play with Google+ and measure it’s impact. I have a visible presence online (a twitter account with 100,000+ followers, a blog with 5000 posts and 94,000 comments) but I also have two small blog with only about 400 posts and minimal comments. So I was able to do a test. Thinking that any site with Google in the name must have some sway online, I did this: I filled out my Google+ profile with the links to all of my online locations. Then I spent one week paying attention to only one keyword while I did the following three things:
- I posted something new to my Google account every day.
- I shared 3 three things from my followers offerings.
- I +1′d 3 more.
Here’s what happened. Both of my smaller blogs moved forward in the SERPs by 3 pages or more. Will Google+ survive? Of course it will. The visibility it offers is outstanding.
Here to Stay, But in What Capacity?
It is now over one year since Google+ launched, and they reportedly have over 250 million registered users on the site. That being said, usage of Google+ is extremely low; in February it was reported that Google+ users were spending only 3.3 minutes a month on the site.
Yet it seems that Google+ is here to stay, the real question is in what capacity. Google has clearly made Google+ a priority and they are committed to the growth of the site. While the social networking features have not yet caught on, Google is using Google+ to integrate and connect other Google products. While there are no signs that Google+ is replacing Facebook as a social network to share content with friends, it does appear that Google+ is important for businesses to pay attention to. At the end of May 2012, Google announced that Google Places will now be Google Plus Local, integrating Zagat ratings into the site. Earlier this year Google launched a test of Google Plus Your World integrating Google+ into search. These changes show that Google is serious about Google+. How consumers use the site remains to be seen, but for businesses it is worth paying attention to.
Must Evolve to Match Consumer Needs
Contributed by: Jason Woodford, CEO SiteVisibility
Personally I think Google+ will survive depending on it evolving to match the needs of the consumer. Take a car for example; the VW Golf is nowhere near the same model as it was when it was first launched. The components and accessories have changed and adapted to meet the requirements of the modern consumer. The same can be said in many respects to Facebook, which continues to change almost on a month by month basis. As long as Google+ proves to be flexible and displays a willingness to adapt and change, then it will survive and thrive.
A Level Above LinkedIn
Contributed by: Scott Klososky, speaker and consultant
I suspect Google+ will survive and prosper because Google will have a good ability of providing functionality that sits between what Facebook and LinkedIn will provide. Meaning, LinkedIn will become the business rolodex of the world, and Facebook will become the personal social environment. Google will position G+ as a business community with more functionality than LinkedIn, and a prime place for thought leaders to connect with followers that does not get polluted with lots of personal content and conversation. As more and more people choose the communities they use, and how they use them, people will ultimately settle on a few that play disparate roles in their lives and G+ will find a home there.
Still Dominated by Internet-Based Professionals
Contributed by: Stuart McHenry, President of McKremie
Google+ is becoming more and more useful everyday. Most sharing still happens on Facebook and Twitter but as Google adds more functionality they will draw in more people. Google+ Hangouts is an incredibly powerful feature for learning and collaborating on projects. This is by far the most unique feature and a solid advantage over the other networks. Currently Google+ seems dominated by Internet based professionals. In order to gain some real traction they need a cross-over demographic and delivering new features like Google+ Events will help get them there.
Will Become More Integral
Contributed by: Janet Fouts, Social Media coach and CEO of Tatu Digital Media
Google+ is going to continue to morph and become a more integral part of the everyday user’s life that’s fun and easy to use. Currently that’s not the case, and it’s a big problem for Google. There are tons of stories about people abandoning it, but every time I log in and read a few posts I say, “Hey, I need to come here more often”. The problem is it’s still painful to use. Pages are difficult to monitor, if I l leave it open it freezes my browser (Chrome, their own browser!) and none of the tools I regularly use sync with it. I love the new iPhone app, which is well designed and gorgeous, but they need to make the whole thing super easy to use or their user base will fade off into the sunset.
My Mom Couldn’t Care Less
Contributed by: Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing
I think it will die. Take the recent launch of the “Events” function. People are already using it to spam others about non-targeted, sometimes not even actual events. Fellow marketers are screaming how great the SEO value is, but my mom and most of the general public couldn’t care less. I’m concerned when the number one reason for using a “social” site is for search engine value. It’s like going to a new networking event and only speaking in key words.