Google+ vs. Facebook: And the winner is… (Part 1)

Last week, Google+ opened for business.

You can now create a brand page for your company and, over the last few days, many have rushed to do so. The buzz surrounding the event is nothing short of astonishing. It is being considered by some as a revolution in social business, and the battle of the tech titans has now become a war.

Google now directly rivals Facebook in the territory of social networking, and although neither Mark Zuckerberg nor Larry Page will admit it out loud, the two heads are involved in what looks to become the tech version of the cold war. The sneaky rivalry remains in its early stages, but recently manifested itself with Zuckerberg’s jab labeling Google+ as a “little Facebook”. And, to be fair, at the moment Facebook is winning the “tech race” when it comes to social media, with its 800 million user powerhouse. However, writing off Google+ would be foolish as its potential, simply put, is infinite.

This conflict is likely to develop greatly over the coming months and the buzz surrounding it will inevitably grow. But I’m not going to discuss Google+ and Facebook on a personal level. I want to try to ascertain which one is (or will become) better for business. Should you have a Facebook business page, a Google+ one or both? How are they different from each other? And is Google+ just going to fizzle out like Google Buzz?

So that’s a few questions to get started with.

Google+ has been hit by a wave of criticism since its launch. Many have suggested that it has forgotten a number of key features and is simply not a worthy advisory to Facebook. I however disagree, and I am not alone in that opinion. Yes, there are some drawbacks or weaknesses at the moment but Google has promised improvements in the immediate future and my personal opinion has been shaped so because of the value I place on potential in a business perspective. So, to answer whether or not Google+ will fizzle out, I would have to say no.

Understandably doubts have arisen because, as a company, you probably have a Facebook business page now. You already have a social media presence and managing it already requires a substantial time investment. You don’t want to spend even more time on another site when you’re not certain it will be beneficial. Don’t get me wrong, I can completely understand this point of view. Google+ brand pages are brand new, they are not perfect and they have a way to go in terms of competing with Facebook. But what Google has planned is certain to rival the social media giant.

Google is the largest search engine online. YouTube is the second largest, and Google owns it. Armed with this power, imagine the potential that Google+ has as a social business network. During the internet boom, companies set up a website so people could find them. Google+ makes you easier to find. It is not unlikely that social media will become more important than a company’s website in the next few years. If someone requires your services they most likely search for you on Google. So why wouldn’t you want a brand page on Google’s own social network?

Google+ Direct Connect allows people to find your brand page easily. By adding a “+” in front of the company’s name you will be taken straight to that company’s Google+ page. It’s simple to set up and the returns can be great.

Another plus for Google+ is the +1 button. This drives traffic through word of mouth, which is widely recognized as one of the most important things when it comes to your company’s promotion and your customer’s opinion of you. It has been reported that some websites that currently use the +1 button indicate that they have experienced a 350 percent increase in visits; a figure that cannot be ignored.

As well as driving traffic, the +1 can hugely improve click-through rates. The influence of the internet and technology in today’s world allows people access to a wealth of information about the product they want to purchase. People trust people, and ultimately the +1 button lets consumers know if your company and your product are good.

These are just a few benefits of using Google+ in a business context. If nothing else, having a brand page will increase your visibility online and can simply act as another source of information about your company. What is important to remember though is that this is just the beginning.

What will Facebook do to respond?

How will the rivalry progress in the coming months?

What is the future of social business?

It won’t be long before we find out…

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2 Comments

  1. I agree with your thoughts on SEO. Google has a huge benefit over Facebook, certainly on the B2B side of things, whereas Facebook – one could argue – might be better for B2C businesses.

    I think both will be useful, but I’m not sure how much time is left for Twitter. Could I see Google+ stealing market share? Absolutely.

    Reply
  2. Yes, I agree with you that Facebook should be better for B2C simply because it has been around for a few years now and has built up a huge, and loyal, user base.

    I don’t think it’s going to be a question of who will win, as I don’t believe that one will erradicate the other. However, my personal belief is that Google will come out on top when it comes to monetization of the sites because that is what it does best.

    I’ll be talking more about that in Part 2!

    Reply

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