Should Your Business Have a Google+ Profile? Yes.
With Google+ steadily rolling out to individual users over the past couple of weeks, the search engine has confirmed that they will offering business profiles in the near future. Although an entirely new network for businesses to become familiar with, the opportunities potentially offered by Google+ appear to be more worthwhile than what is currently offered through Facebook pages.
The first supporting factor that will benefit businesses and leaning heavily towards Google+ is search. It’s no surprise Google trumps Facebook in this arena, but tack on the recent news that they disabled Realtime Search and there is no match. After removing Twitter results from this feature, the search monster has shown no interest in renewing their contract with the micro-blogging service, most likely because Google+ plans to incorporate its own version of a live feed; this provides even more incentive for businesses to join and appear organically in search results, something Facebook has not yet had – and probably will never have – the ability to offer.
Communication and Productivity Tools
What about communication and productivity for business? Google once again shines. With its Apps for Business productivity suite, Google offers its users endless tools such as word processing, calendars and countless third-party apps. While Facebook has announced it hopes to end the era of email, Gmail carries 200 million users who say otherwise.
Offering businesses the potential opportunity to compile their entire online presence within Google+, many users may find no reason to leave the platform. Although Facebook has recently made some strides as it partnered with Skype, Google has already previously provided video chat features in several Apps, and most recently, with +Hangouts.
The steady growth of social commerce continues to make waves through online markets, changing the way consumers purchase online. Google has already established it’s own Google Checkout payment system along with Products, which tap into online merchants. Should the search giant choose to loop these into Google+, users will no longer be bounced off the site and onto a third-party service such as PayPal, ultimately strengthening Google’s reputation in e-commerce.
If Google were to choose this route, it could pose an even larger threat to Facebook. Currently, the social networking site requires businesses to invest in third-party applications for e-commerce solutions, as Facebook focuses more on sharing capabilities and user communication with the exception of Facebook Marketplace – a feature that has yet to see much liftoff.
Advertising and Analytics Platforms
When it comes down to advertising and performance, Google takes the lead. Google has been the leading advertising platform since the launch of AdWords in 2000, following the pay-per-click advertising model. Additionally, the release of AdSense allows users to easily embed ads within websites and blogs – offering countless impressions. Although Facebook launched its own advertising platform in 2007, those only remain within Facebook. A few more points go to Google when you take into consideration tracking and analytics. Although Facebook does provide some useful insight for Pages, Google Analytics comes out on top offering deeper knowledge and even more ad performance tools.
Location, Location, Location!
Incorporating location-based information also appears to be an easy win for Google. With both Google Places and Google Maps, users can already see rankings of certain businesses. If Google chooses to loop these features into Google+, users can also interact with that business’ Google+ profile to ask a question prior to making a decision on where to go or what to do. While Facebook does have Facebook Places, the adoption rate is somewhat slow due to hesitation from businesses linking their Page to a location, and they will continue to struggle with their inability to appear in location search results.
In addition to the online payment methods previously mentioned above, mobile payments are also very Google-focused. Although their Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology is only accessible through certain phones, the potential it could have for Google+ is huge. In one scenario, a user could check into a certain location within Google+ and make a purchase as well. Businesses could very easily follow these users through the entire purchase funnel; none of this technology is currently available – or expected any time soon – within Facebook.
It’s a Deal
The viral growth deals services have seen with consumers has caused both Google and Facebook to join in. Google Offers and Facebook Deals are both limited to certain locations, however neither service has yet to take off. However, if Google+ were to incorporate Offers, this would yet again take precedent over any deals-platform Facebook may release going forward.
Google+ is only a few short weeks old, so it is too soon to tell exactly what kind of impact it will have on Facebook in social media. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Google plans on becoming the next big social networking powerhouse, and one to be reckoned with.