If you want to see a social media marketer squirm in his or her seat just ask them about Google+. They’ll squirm because like most of us they’re not too sure what to make of it and are certainly not actively using it.
Pros and Cons
Google+ has one major thing going for it: it’s part of Google. So in it’s favor Google+ is benefiting from the reality that Google is serious about connecting Google+ activity to search results.
On the opposing side is one small thing: reality. Most people aren’t using it and don’t appear to want to. Recent stats even show that the average time spent on the site is steadily declining.
The Madness To Their Method
Google’s approach to spur growth has been to convince businesses they need to have a Google+ page. They’re dangling the carrot of better search results to businesses. What they’re really trying to do is scare businesses into using Google+.
The problem of course is that businesses can be scared into using it but it doesn’t mean the people are going to follow…and therein lies the biggest problem for Google+.
Get Back To Your Roots
Google wasn’t built on trying to attract businesses and then hoping the masses would follow. It was built with the goal of being the best search engine on the Internet. Most of us abandoned Yahoo! or MSN search or AltaVista somewhere along the way when we discovered this to be true. Then the business opportunities exploded. Google search had the masses and they started really building the business.
Facebook has done the same thing. Same idea. Same approach and now they’re worth billions.
When it comes to Google+, however, the Google team is fighting the very scenario that’s worked for countless other online businesses and the very means of the company’s original success. For that reason alone I don’t expect Google+ to draw the masses. They’re really not trying to reach you and me…not directly. They’re trying to get big brands to use it so we’ll follow and I just don’t see that working for them.
Even if (or when) Google+ decides to change course and focus on what made Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and many wildly popular site successful they will still have a long road ahead of them. Facebook is going to be hard to knock off their perch. But, if they continue along the current path I don’t see how they’ll ever get out of the minus column.