I have a confession. I am one of those typical social media users who has been unduly wary of Google+. After using Facebook for a solid decade, since around the time Myspace was widely abandoned, I have become very comfortable with it. Part of that stems from the duration of my usage, and part of it stems from the fact that virtually every single person I know also uses Facebook.
My social media presence is obviously not limited to Facebook—I have joined Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest over the years—but I have been hesitant to really get into Google+.
Why? Simply put, because Google+ seems like another Facebook, except a more difficult version that not nearly as many people use. Also, I’ve fallen into that old rut of inertia where I would rather stay with something comfortable and defunct than make the switch to something unfamiliar and less ubiquitous.
Reading Rebekah Radice’s recent comparison of Google+ versus Facebook knocked me out of my rut. Her ultimate conclusion that Google+ is not only better, but is the future of social media marketing for eCommerce, made me reconsider my social media complaisance and start reworking my Google+ profile and circles. I will outline a few of her more salient points here, but her article is worth reading in its entirety.
One of Ms. Radice’s main points of contention with Facebook is that the platform no longer allows users to shape their own experience and decide which content they will view. “Liking” a page does not mean that you will see that page’s posts. In order to make sure that a lot of people see your posts (even your own followers) you now have to pay to “boost” your posts to increase their reach. Pages with several hundred “likes” will often only have an organic reach in the single digits for their posts. Starting with an organic reach that small makes it nearly impossible to get organic sharing of your content. Which is exactly what Facebook wants: for you to have to pay to get your content in front of its users.
Not so with Google+. Google+ will put your content in front of anyone in your circles and will let them decide what they want to view by determining who they place in which circles. The platform is similar to Twitter in that if someone decides they want to see your content as it is posted, they will see it because Google+ will not suppress it.
Though Radice notes some issues with Google+ (a more difficult interface that is less user-friendly, fewer people and more tech-savvy people using it, etc.) the benefits of having a community of online marketers who want to share your content and are actually seeing your content (instead of having your posts suppressed by Facebook) outweigh all the potential negatives.
Another obvious benefit is that Google+ is still a completely free platform, so it will be a more cost effective option for marketing your content as well.
While Facebook has many valid uses, and I’m still using it regularly for interaction with my friends and family, the savvy eCommerce businessman or woman would do well to take a page out of Rebekah Radice’s book and transition to a social media strategy that incorporates at least as much Google+ promotion as Facebook promotion (and probably more).
Here’s hoping that in a few years Facebook will go the way of MySpace and the primary social network will be one that allows users to create their own experience, view content without suppression, and organically share that content without having to pay for it—a more useful social network that looks a lot like Google+.
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