Taking a Ride on the Google+ Bus

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Over the summer, we wondered just how powerful Google+ would actually become. We had our doubts, particularly considering how the search engine giant’s other social media efforts had come up short. But as the platform became available to everyone last week and we played on it some more, we started to realize the vision, enjoy the benefits and wonder if we should talk to our social media marketing clients about adding Google+ to their social media repertoire.

Now, don’t get it twisted — we’re not hopping on the bandwagon in favor of ditching Facebook or Twitter. Those channels still work and are valuable marketing tools for communicating with clients. But Google+ does win in the ease category. If you already have a Google or Gmail account, signing up takes less than two minutes. Google+ then uses all of your information to gather up things you might like and tries to find people you might know. It’s basically a risk-free social media endeavour for those who might have resisted signing their lives away to Facebook. Google is a trusted brand that social media doubters might feel a little more comfortable hanging out with.

Given the news-feed overload of Facebook and the recent Twitter ad explosion, Google+ is refreshing in its stark, easy to read and easier to use layout. Decked out in Google’s primary colors with a white background, the site reminds me of YouTube’s kinder, gentler, less-branded days. While the ad-free space surely won’t last, we hope Google+ hangs on to its layout for a while since it helps the site stand out from the pack.

But the big question remains: Can Google+ be used as a marketing tool? Many brands are already saying yes. In fact, given the numbers — the site is the fastest growing social media site in history with the No. 1 app on iTunes — taking your business to Google+ couldn’t hurt. Unlike Facebook, Google+ is moving businesses to network on the site like individuals. It remains to be seen what else Google will load the site with to entice marketers and companies alike to use the tool to reach customers. But consider us hooked and intrigued.

Readers, what’s your take? Are you interested in Google+ or have you burnt out on social media altogether?

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