A recent article by Anthony Wing Kosner on Forbes.com poses this question. When you think social media you don’t automatically think Google, you of course think Facebook. Although Facebook has become the most commonly known social media network, Google has quietly established its presence. While Facebook leads the way with an impressive 693 million active users, Google has 343 million active Google+ users and 280 million active YouTube users (yes, remember YouTube is owned by Google), thus Google Inc. has a huge presence online.
The impressive thing about Google is that many times you might not even realize that you are using their social network. They have integrated and interconnected all their products so well that you never realize how many of their products you are using. For example, on any give day I interact with at least four different Google products. In the morning I check my personal Gmail account and then switch over to check my work Gmail. Later on I’ll sign into Google+ to see what’s trending or read up on news. Then, I’ll search for information via google.com and maybe even use their Googledocs platform to work on a document or view an email document so I don’t have to download it. Just in that morning, I’ve interacted with Google FIVE times!
Not only does Google have great products for individuals, but their products can also help local businesses effectively compete against larger corporations. With 43% of all Google searches having local intent and 55% of customers using their mobile phones to search for local businesses, having a Google+ Local listing is now becoming essential. For example, say a customer is searching for a hair salon. They will more then likely search something like “hair salon in McAllen, Texas”. If your Google+ page is optimized and your listing is correct there will be a higher probability that your business will appear. In creating your Google+ listing you are allowing your business to appear next to relevant and specifically local search results.
In addition, Google+ profiles potentially factor into search rankings, and people are beginning to pay more attention to their profiles and have begun to actively link their content to ensure their content is not missed by Google’s crawlers. Your business’ Google+ profile can help you rank for target keywords, and a Local listing can give you a strong presence online even if you don’t have a website (which is a another story if you don’t!).
This seamless and almost passive way of using Google’s products is a large reason why they have become successful, and I believe will play a large factor in their continued growth. By allowing users to easily navigate from one service to another, they have positioned Google+ to become the place where people go and explore the web at their leisure, without having to constantly update their status.
So what does this all tell us? Even though Facebook has a huge number of users, I wouldn’t count Google out of this race, especially if you’re a business!