5 Challenges for Google+ Business

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Image by Sean MacEntee

Chatter about Google+ for business is abound, but other than the SEO benefits, arguments for a pro offering have not been compelling. In reality, there is no formal business offering yet. While Google+ is at or close to 30 million members, they are distributed globally, and are largely technologists or social media wonks. At this early stage, consumer businesses, nonprofits and non technology B2B plays have little to gain from Google+ other than SEO (can you say Squidoo II?).

Moving forward, Google+ needs to provide a substantive growth curve and a robust business offering to effectively complete. Here are five challenges facing Google+ for businesses:

1) Beyond SEO

It’s great that bloggers and corporate content producers can yield strong search results using Google+. It makes a compelling case to integrate +1 technology and sharing within content marketing initiatives. But beyond SEO, most of the business chatter about Google+ is, well, bloggers talking about setting up personal profiles. Businesses need more than that. They need paths towards tangible outcomes and ROI.

Until Google+ launches its business solution, there really is nothing for businesses and nonprofits to do other than to experiment with the existing personal features. The one exception is technology companies marketing to early adopters. Having your social media team get active on Google+ as individuals makes total sense. Dell is an early leader in this sense.

2) Geeky Is Great, But…

It’s nice that the social media and technology communities are enthused about Google+. For many, it makes life easier and more public than Facebook. But the non-indoctrinated “normal” person isn’t using Google+ yet.

Until wider stakeholder groups adapt Google+, most companies and nonprofits will find themselves marketing to the virtual wilderness. Instead, they should wait for core stakeholder groups to come to and stay on Google+ for a sustained period of months. When that happens, businesses and nonprofits should set up serious outposts.

3) Facebook Isn’t Giving Up

Zuck

Ironically, the most followed person on Google+ is Marc Zuckerberg. Strange as that may seem, it is emblematic of Facebook’s staying power.

Facebook’s continuing evolution sacrifices individual privacy to serve the larger business community. And make no bones about it, Facebook definitely offers the business community quite a lot. The offering rages from free community pages and social ads to customized contests and promotions and deeply integrated applications.

The most important part of Facebook’s offering is its widespread, global consumer appeal. The social network has more than two times as many active bodies in one place than LinkedIn, Twitter and the fledgling Google+ combined.

Facebook has yet to respond to the Circles challenge to its user interface. It would be surprising if the network that likes to opt in social technology challenges ignores Google+’s innovation. It’s very early in this competition. Really, the thing that Google+ can always beat Facebook on is privacy and an insistence on open commentary.

4) Twitter and LinkedIn Have Mature Offerings

Both of these second tier networks have more than 100 million active users, and are very mature with loyal communities. Twitter has finally figured out its business model with its new advertising package that retains 80 percent of customers. LinkedIn is an extremely strong B2B-only play with robust Groups, strong HR offerings, and increasingly well-used business profile pages. Google+ needs to determine where it fits in comparison with these two growing proven offerings.

5) No Proof of Concept

This one really isn’t fair given that the professional offering has yet to launch, but there’s no proof that Google+ will be a good play for businesses. Any company or nonprofit that participates in the initial offering will be an early adopter, experimenting with the medium. Most companies don’t feel so publish about testing a new medium with their precious dollars. Instead, they prefer to wait until the medium is proven. And that won’t happen until the end of the year.

Conclusion

Google+ is likely to succeed so stay tuned, but hold onto your wallet until 2012. There is still a lot of hype and uncertainty when it comes to Google+ for business. The exceptions to the rule are those marketing to the early adopter community and content marketers who can benefit from an uptick in SEO courtesy of Google+.

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  • http://essayserve.com/ custom essays

    it must be very useful) want to share this information with my friends!

  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    Being a Finance/Sales Number Crunching Data Hound one thing that really upsets me and makes me aggro is what an Active User is. because someone who logs in once per month for 1 minute qualifies. Where this is even more disingenuous is Facebook. As you note their business model is business and the exploitation of users because they use it for free. So since Facebook never breaks down how many people sign in often. They claim half do every day. I have used Compete’s numbers and of the 67mil US log ins today only 22 million will be active (sharing, Liking, commenting etc). Not sure what the rest do but my mom is a voyeur and nothing more on the site.

    And when the numbers are really broken down based on gross numbers the average person updates their status only 1x every 6 days.

    So if you tell a business we have 600mil active users how many can really be reached by a business. And the answer is really few. This is why when Facebook IPOs it will be the biggest pump and dump scheme ever in history and if you look at the players you have Goldman, Russian and Chinese underworld money, Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft….everyone who just wants to cash out and leave the corpse on main streets hands ala Bernie Madoff.

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      How do you really feel about Facebook, Howie? LOL.

      • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

        Geoff it’s been tearing me up inside. I can’t sleep at night. I try counting Social Media Sheep but they all have Mark Zuckerberg and Pete Cashmore’s ugly mugs and it just turns into one long nightmare. As I count the sheep and say 1 sheep they respond back and say ‘no ten million’

  • http://www.internetroutine.biz/lenovo-g560-series-067999u-best-laptop-under-500/ Philip William

    It’s so hard to go and gamble when the company
    is at stake, but knowing Goggle, I know it will succeed. For the mean time, its
    better to stay tuned and wait until such proof came up.

    • Anonymous

      Yup, I agree. Especially given how many times Google has failed in the past.

  • Pingback: Should You Include Google+ in Online Fundraising Efforts? | Inspiring Generosity

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce Ecommerce Solutions

    I completely agree with the 5th Point – No Proof of Concept. Being in the online space for such long time, I think they should have had first concentrated on strategies for businesses.

  • markangle07
  • adam07

    So many ideas from so many different people around the world. Isn’t it great just fantastic. Thanks you for sharing your comments.

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