Over a year since its initial launch, the buzz has certainly died down for Google’s social platform. But there’s still some value to be had for video marketers.
If I had to group the top social media marketing sites into tiers, the first one would be pretty easy – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. After that, relative newcomers like Google+ and Pinterest (along with Stumbleupon) continue to maintain their own niches in the social marketing universe, but there’s no doubt that “The Big Three” still reign supreme. (Note: A lot of people would add YouTube to this list as well. While I don’t consider it a pure social media platform, if you wanted to add it to the top tier, I wouldn’t argue with you.)
When Google+ first hit the web last summer, online marketers were keenly interested to see what the new platform had to offer. After all, this wasn’t just any new social media site – it was Google’s. If there was ever going to be a new challenger to the social throne, this one seemed like the best bet.
But while marketers, entrepreneurs, writers and other online personalities flocked to see what Google+ could do for them, there’s no denying that the platform has yet to really take off with your everyday end users. Before long, Pinterest cemented its status as “the next big thing” and interest in Google+ seemed to fade into the background as (at least for the time being) just another social tool.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it should be forgotten completely.
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to video marketing (or any marketing for that matter), Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are generally the best places for most businesses to focus their social media attention. But while the average activity of Google+ users can’t yet compete with the big boys, it does have one thing going for it when it comes to getting more eyes on your videos and online presentations: Google search.
What I mean is, unlike with other social media platforms, Google+ provides the best opportunity for people to engage with your content without actually being on the Google+ site itself. While posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are generally viewable to your fans, connections and followers, Google+ content is indexed more prevalently in Google’s search engine. The result gives your video content added visibility to Google+ users – whether they are super active on the site or not.
Again, should you devote your entire social marketing strategy around Google+? No, of course not. But this benefit alone is worth at least having some sort of presence there for your video marketing content.
With that said, here are some keys to keep in mind:
Google+ is primarily effective for web surfers who are logged in to their Google accounts (which due to the popularity of Gmail, is a whole heck of a lot of people these days).
When a logged-in user runs a search in Google, their results will be different than if they were not logged in. And if they are a Google+ user, they’ll be more likely to find content and posts from those they are connected to listed higher in their search results. This is why having a large network of connections on Google+ for your brand is useful.
There is also the “Plus 1” factor. A Plus 1 works similar to a Facebook like, and users can Plus 1 your content from within Google+ or from the content itself (if you have a +1 button enabled on your website pages, that is). This is important, because it means that even if a logged in user isn’t connected to you on Google+, your content can still receive a higher search ranking for them if someone they ARE connected to gives it a Plus 1. In fact, that person’s avatar will appear along with your content in the Google search listings, helping it to stand out from the rest of the results, which can lead to more clicks.
While there are lots of other features in Google+ that make the platform interesting for marketers, this is the one that has always really stood out for me. After all, Google is first and foremost a search engine, so it makes sense that its social media tool would be heavily incorporated with what the company does best. It may not be enough to push Google+ past the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but as a video marketer, it can still be well worth your time.
For more on Google+, check out my podcast from January with Jesse Stay, author of Google+ for Dummies. And for additional tips on using video with social media, read this post on how video makes your content more shareable.