Google+ and Minuses

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With Twitter and Facebook marketing, there’s always that question: How effective is this social media stuff, really? Doubt seems to double when talking about other social networks like Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn. But when it comes to social media platforms constantly questioned for their effectiveness, nothing beats Google+. Just barely a year old, Google+ has been simultaneously greeted with applause, disdain and indifference during its short time on the social media radar. A new report released last week shed some serious light on the Google+ topic and, while things don’t look great, they don’t look as bad as we might have thought.

First the good news: According to a new SocialShare report from BrightEdge, brand presence on Google+ continues to grow. Brand superstars like Visa, Hermes and Wells Fargo have all joined Google+ in the past two months. Also, Toyota and H&M have recently passed the 1 million followers benchmark while Red Bull, Mercedes and BMW are all very close to reaching that milestone, as well. The BrightEdge report also showed some serious growth for social integration into searches. Marketwatch.com reports, “More than 30 percent of brands with Google+ pages have these pages show up in search results six times higher than reported in February.”

Now for the bad news: Even though brands are flocking to Google+, less than 30 percent are linking to their respective Google+ pages on their websites. And brand-user engagement is still a big problem for Google+.

“The exponential increase in Google+ pages showing up in search results means consumers are starting to engage with brands more regularly on the platform and vice versa,” said Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge. “However there is still much higher adoption on Facebook and Twitter, whose offerings some feel include deeper engagement models which they have built and matured over time, thanks to their earlier start and sustained investment. Brands need to continue to assess and adjust how they leverage all of the social signals to capture the digital engagement and sales they’re looking for.”

The consensus on Google+ marketing seems to be stuck at a solid “wait and see.” Until engagement really clicks with followers, it might be stuck there for a while. But you tell us: Have you had any luck pushing your products on Google+? And do you use the “+” button as much as Facebook’s “like” option?

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