With the fallout from the Google Authorship and ‘is it a ploy to get us all using Google+?’ question still being bandied around, businesses can be easily confused as to which social media platform is the right one for them.
It can be tempting to be on everything but the problem with this blanket approach is that you may be using platforms that are not suitable and, keeping up to date with them all can be a timing nightmare.
In this article we look at Google+ or G+ and what it can offer you, as well as looking at arguably the most powerful and well-known of social media platforms, Facebook.
Things are changing
Facebook is the ‘daddy of ‘em all’, with a reach that is phenomenal it has, for many years, held the top notch position; it was and still is, the social media platform you must be on. If you wanted to reach out to the largest audience ever, then FB was the place to be.
But things change and on the world of online sharing. Once the poor relation, is seems that the ugly duckling is blossoming into the beautiful swan; 2014 has marked the best year for G+ yet, with its monthly active users reaching 540 million across the globe.
The difference between the two? G+ allows people to search for your business and is obviously geared towards this end of the market, whereas Facebook is more ‘personal’ in its approach but there are reasons why both could be useful, if not essential.
Some people think that circles on G+ are complicated but they are far from that. It’s a way of sorting the wheat from the chaff if you like and rather than being bombarded with every single post or share, you can group people together, choosing what you see and when.
Facebook has a similar set up now with Edgerank, the algorithm it introduced in December 2013. Rather than users being bombarded with items or posts they may find irrelevant, this algorithm sorts what it thinks the user will like. The only problem with this is that you don’t control it – unlike the G+ circles which you set up – the algorithm checks what you have been looking at and makes the decision for you.
On Facebook, any posts or statuses you make will need to reach a certain level of ‘likes’ over a set number of times before it is available to the masses, hence the almost begging Tweets and messages from businesses imploring you to like them on Facebook.
BUT, if this doesn’t work, you can always pay for the privilege with various adverts to boost your appearance and views on the platform. But, some say that this is losing sight of its original intention as small businesses may not have the budgeting resources to play alongside the big players.
Facebook’s algorithm is a double-edged sword; on one hand it has a positive impact but recent bad press from experiments such as the ‘emotion experiment’ has made some people question the platform and its integrity.
However, you cannot throw away 1.32 billion users around the world lightly and so, by improving your Facebook posts, from asking questions to running competitions, you do have an excellent way, at your fingertips of attracting new people and customers to your business.
Is it just about numbers?
Reaching the masses is great but, if only a small percentage buy your product or service, is it worth it for a local, online business?
No sale is a bad sale, and so if it reaps the smallest reward then that is not to be sniffed at but if it comes at a cost in terms of both time and money, it may be worth a re-think.
A G+ ‘hangout’ is as some people say, an awesome resource that allows businesses and customers to connect. Think of it as a modern-day equivalent of consumer research and with G+ and Google being the same, you are sending out some strong signals to the most popular search engine.
So, who to choose?
Internet trends change from week to week; it would be sheer folly to predict today what will be right next week or the week after and so on. However, the rub is that, as a business you need to connect to a wide an audience as possible, but balance it against time spent ‘doing’ social media and the return it gives you.
The answer is this – place the same post across the social media platforms you currently use and see where you get the most responses; do this a few times at different times of the year and it gives you an indication of where your audience is at.
Once you feel you know which platforms are right for your business, put time and energy into creating a plan so that you have something to offer customers and something to talk about over both G+ and Facebook – and any others too!