The UK Doesn’t Care About Google Plus

There are many articles dedicated to the many advantages of Google Plus membership for businesses. Reasons for this not only include improved SEO rankings and a cultivating a more imposing online presence, but it’s also a great opportunity to grow your network and start more conversations with like-minded people.

At last count, there were 540million active monthly users on the social platform, world-wide. Second only to Facebook, Google claims to have bypassed the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn to become the world’s second most popular social networking site.

That’s a lot of traffic for you to sink your teeth into as a business.

Like with Twitter, you probably begin by scouting out all the people and businesses you are interested in. You begin the process of targeting your target audience. On Twitter, this can be as simple as following the followers of a brand, company or product similar to yours. You can then grow your follower base from there.

This is more difficult on Google Plus. Whereas Twitter recently announced that there are 15million active UK users on its platform, Google Plus could only boast 2.7million in 2012 out of a then-250million.

To be fair to Google Plus: following extensive googling, more recent figures for the number of specifically UK users on its network were not available. (If anyone reading this happens to know or where to find them, please feel free to let me know in the comments below!)

But the point is that of the 250million users on Google Plus in 2012, only 2.7million of them were from the UK.

Is Google Plus not a UK platform?

It is a potential problem for business owners if Google Plus fails to really take off in the UK. If Google Plus does not grow an effective user base, then it can never be a good marketing platform, or at least, not one on which all efforts and attentions are focused as much as Twitter and Facebook.

Due to the positive impact the platform promises in areas such as SEO and recognition by Google, this is an issue for businesses looking to improve in these areas. Things like the number of people who have you in their circles are taken into account in SEO.

If you fail to target your audience on Google Plus because they are simply not there. For instance, G+ is a platform heavily centred around businesses and is therefore arguably not a great base for a B2C campaign. Consumers and regular people looking for connectivity do not go there.

Matt Bush, Head of Agency at Google has said of the network, “Critically, we are not a platform that is about connecting you with your friends. That’s not necessarily what we’re trying to add.” If regular consumers are not drawn to Google Plus, some businesses will struggle to find a market place there.

A platform just for B2B?

The point of Google Plus, then, if not to connect people with their friends, is to share information. Matt Bush described what he called “the overarching strategy”: “What it is about is trying to offer people the information they want at the right time and searching for information or people you care about or take information from, when you want it most.”

As the word “information” was used three times in that very important, defining sentence for Google Plus, we should conclude that the network is more about information networking than friendship-based networking. It’s about being useful, not about making friends.

B2C companies should not ditch their Google Plus profiles. If for no other reasons than those B2B-ers with business Google Plus profiles are also consumers and they’re on G+ scrolling down a newsfeed just like on Twitter and Facebook.

Between 2012 and 2013, the number of active users around the world on Google Plus increased by 115%. We could apply this logic and say that therefore the number of UK users on the network will have increased from 2.7million in 2012 to roughly 5.8million in 2013.

It is worth it.

You would be wise not to base your entire social media strategy on Google Plus in the way that many small business owners choose to focus their efforts solely on Twitter. It is simply not mainstream enough (yet).

But the SEO benefits and the usefulness of getting to grips with a platform that is clearly growing in popularity and relevance are invaluable. Update your Google Plus page, even just once a day, and make the effort to network with other likeminded business owners and marketers.

The platform is a great way to source information, find content for your other channels and engage in conversations with people from all over the world. The network is about connectivity but in a different way than Facebook.

Ignore Google Plus at your peril. Your SEO rankings and status as a thought leader will thank you later.

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