About this time last year, the Wall Street Journal published an article labeling Google Plus as a “virtual ghost town” when compared to other social media sites—particularly its biggest rival, Facebook. The article sparked controversy. Regular users of Google Plus were incensed. They maintained that Google Plus was indeed a happening community where users with similar interests could connect without all the “noise” on Facebook. (Take a look at this post for example.)
On the other hand, many digital marketers advised businesses to spend their energy marketing on other social platforms where users spent more time. I myself determined that I would market on Google Plus until the site died out. Now, a year later, Google Plus shows no sign of dying.
Ghost Town No More?
Though Google Plus still is not as popular as Facebook, it is proving itself a tough competitor. When it got its “ghost town” nickname last year, Google Plus had 90 million users. The site now has 135 million active users, and counting. The active part of that user count is important. In total, Google Plus has 500 million users with 135 million of them on the site at least once each month. (For further analysis of these numbers, read this article by Danny Sullivan.)
But are these users interacting with businesses? Currently, H&M has 2.49 million fans, BMW has 2.2 million, and Nissan has 1.9 million. I am sure these companies don’t feel like they are setting up shop in a ghost town.
Should Your Business Join Google Plus?
Of course, just because Google Plus’s user base is growing doesn’t mean all businesses should jump on the bandwagon. However, Google Plus has a lot of attractive features for businesses. One of the biggest reasons to consider joining Google Plus is the growing prominence of social search. Social signals are affecting SEO more and more, and many SEO experts are keeping an eye on the growing trend this year. Having a presence on Google Plus can help you keep up your site ranking.
Also, Google Plus is business-friendly, and has recently enabled a new function for business pages. Pages can now interact with personal profiles that have not circled them. This opens up a lot of possibilities for small and medium sized businesses to get their names out in the Google Plus community.
If you passed over Google Plus last year, it’s time to give the platform a second look. It could help you reach an engaged audience and improve your website SEO simultaneously.
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