This is part 1 of a 3 part blog series by Nick Bilava as a follow up to his presentation at the Texas Self Storage Association annual tradeshow today in San Antonio
“I don’t know; Google it.” Be honest, how many times have you either thought that or said that in the past week, day, maybe even hour? Google and search engines in general have become a huge part of daily life for many of us. It’s hard to believe that just 15 years ago you had to be patient and do a little digging to find answers because Google didn’t exist!
Since Google’s launch in the late 90’s, it has grown to become more than just a search engine. Google is G-mail, YouTube, a translator, map source, shopping center, and so much more. Through many years, it has seen many successes, and failures, throughout the years, and 15 months ago it decided to go social (again) with the launch of Google Plus (Google+)—a hopeful, legitimate rival to Facebook and Twitter.
If you ask Google, Google+ is a success. If you ask a random friend at a cocktail party wheat they think of Google+, you’d be more likely to hear otherwise (“Oh, the site with the really mean commercials? Ya, I’ve heard of it, but I don’t get it.”) Truth is, Google+ has become more of a success story than most people realize. Success stories for this venture from Google have largely stemmed from the business world. That’s why I say get your business on Google+ and keep your presence active even if you don’t see much immediate feedback from your efforts. Google+ has benefits in many forms and shouldn’t be dismissed.
Google+ Really Is Relevant
Recently it was released that Google+ has climbed to 400 million users. This enormous amount may not be completely accurate when it comes to evaluating true users of the social media network since anyone who signs up for a Gmail account or any other Google product is automatically signed up for Google+. Regardless of this, Google+ is used by millions and it is important to understand the people that are using it and what they are using it for.
When you take a look at the “Average Joe” user of Google+, it is very possible that his name is…Joe. According to an article by Todd Wasserman published on “ Mashable.com, some interesting demographics of Google+ users include:
- 67% of the users are male, compared to 32% of women
- 20% of the users are students
- United States and India are the top two countries who use Google+
- 42% of the users have a “Single” relationship status
- 27% of the users are “Married”
- 19% of the users are “In a relationship”
What are these people using Google+ for? It might surprise you that millions and millions of people are using Google+, and doing it without even knowing.
As highlighted by BrowserMedia.co.uk, the entity formerly known as Google Places, which was used to help you find local businesses that match your search term, has been entirely moved inside of Google+. Google Places was used by millions on a daily basis and therefore Google+ Local has picked up where Places left off. This is also where people see customer reviews for businesses so it definitely has some influence. Businesses should make sure to claim their Google+ Local page and make it as appealing as possible for users. For those who had already claimed their Google Places page, it has simply been moved; though you still to update it to get the most out of the new format.
Some of the most frequent users of Google+ are a result of the very unique feature of being connected to the Google search engine. Networks such as Facebook and Twitter are closed networks that don’t have any real search engine relevancy. Google+ posts and pages are able to show up in search results on the Google network. This has drawn a lot of savvy internet marketers to Google+ as discussed in the article “Google Plus Review: A Social Marketer’s Dream” on ecommerceinnovators.com. These internet marketers have found that posting their content on Google+ can help drive more traffic to their website.
Online.wsj.com asked their visitors what they used Google+ for and found that many people that are active on Google+ also use it to keep up to date on major trends in news and business. This is somewhat similar to Twitter but Google+ offers more of a visual approach with images and videos being more prominent.
With all this being said, it seems that Google+ is not necessarily seen as a way to keep up and communicate with friend–people are sticking to Facebook for that purpose. While this might mean that Google+ won’t have the frequency and number of visitors as other social networking sites, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t serve a great purpose. Google+ is becoming a social media center for businesses to display content and increase their online presence and strength–a benefit that cannot be ignored.