I think many of us have a firm grasp of the strengths (and weaknesses) of social media. You recognize how you can use it to drive your goods or services, and what can happen when things go right (or very, very wrong). New platforms are perpetually entering the game, trying to bring something entirely new to the table or aiming to be the next Facebook or Twitter. Surprisingly though, you do not hear much about one of our favorite platforms that has been around for a few years: Google+.
Release the Hounds...
Ugh, but it's Google, you say. They already have enough of my data, you continue. I cannot say as though I disagree with that statement, but I can say that what the Google Team brought forth presents us with many of the great options of other services, mixed with some brilliant features that made them so famous. Consider things like SEO Value in Google Ownership/Authorship, Google Reviews (which further adds to your SEO beyond the basic benefit of product/service validity), and a great platform to share, find, and get valuable feedback on premium content.
But I don't want to learn another social medium, you hiss. Everything I need is right here on Facebook, or Instagram, or even Pinterest. Sure, those three spots are pretty popular to share your text, links, and images, but don't shut me off yet. Let's discuss further the benefits of why Google + may turn into your go-to social place to be.
Make Me an Offer I Can't Refuse...
If there is one thing that frustrates me, it is the Bait & Switch.
Here, come use our amazing service, free of charge. Oh, wait, things are going really well... Thanks for making our service so great. As a reward, we would like you to now pay for our service that you, our adoring public, built up and made successful, with less return.
Sounds fair, right?
While I cannot see the future, Google + is currently completely free - and hey, who does not like free? Without taking a dime from your pocket, Google+ enables you to find leads (Google Communities), promote your content to targeted audiences(Google Communities and Circles), easily find and start discussions with like-minded individuals and thought leaders (Google Communities, Circles, and Hangouts), and even adopt the ever-handy #hashtags for enhanced search functionality.
Well, I Just Can't Stop Now...
Yes, Google+ may be like that annoying kid no one likes to be around at first, but when that kid invites you to dinner at the nearest four-star restaurant and you actually spend some time together your opinion suddenly changes. You realize that what the kid is really pretty cool. After all, a surf and turf dinner on someone else's dime tastes much yummier! Am I saying that you should drop all of your pay-to-play services? No. Especially if you have your own adoring public of thousands of followers and are seeing leads and sales come from those services. It all comes down to ROI: If you are making more than what you are shelling out, that is a good thing. Never spit in the eye of success. Although, if you are barely breaking even, or are seeing declining returns, it may behoove you to start spending time elsewhere. If you aren't there, you should at the very least consider that 'elsewhere' at a table for two with Google +.