Are you still ignoring Google Plus because you think it’s not up to the standards of the all-mighty Facebook? Still not convinced that Google Plus will stick around? This post will persuade you otherwise. You’ll learn Google Plus’ sneaky adoption strategy and how Google lures users in with their suite of awesome webware.
Google Plus is Now #2 Behind Facebook
In roughly a year and a half Google Plus has come from nowhere to become the second most popular social network. Yes, the gap between Facebook and Google Plus is still huge, but second place is nothing to sneeze at. Google Plus now supports over 400 million users as of late 2012, supporting higher traffic than Twitter which had a five year head start.
To put those 400 million users in perspective that’s roughly 25% of all total internet users (compared to 21% using Twitter and 51% using Facebook). One out of every four is impressive.
When you’ve got a powerful user base like that you can do cool things like, invite the President of the United States to a video chat with your users. In addition, Google Plus is constantly creating hot new features, like Hangouts and Communities to lure more users. People are finally starting to realize that this Social Network isn’t going away anytime soon.
Yet It’s More Than Just a Social Network
If you still think that Google Plus intended to compete directly with Facebook then you don’t fully recognize the power of Google Plus. It’s strength lies in being tied to a myriad of other insanely popular web services (all of which have their own impressive user bases).
It’s been said that Google Plus is the “Social Glue” of all of Google Products. It’s not about being a stand alone social network; Google is leveraging its other web services and pulling them all together with Google Plus. Here are a handful of Google services that are allied in ensuring Google Plus’ success:
The first most popular search engine: Google
The first most popular video sharing site and second most popular search engine: YouTube
The most popular online email client: Gmail
The most popular web browser: Chrome
The most popular web mapping service: Google Maps
Think about it; how many of these are you already using? The takeaway is that Google Plus is not a standalone service like Facebook or other social media sites, it’s tied to a massive company and an assortment of hugely popular products.
Google’s Sneaky User Adoption Strategy
Impressively, Google has achieved this success with a soft sell approach to marketing. The company doesn’t heavily promote Google Plus, they use their many products and services to pull you in. You may not have realized it, but Google has been making some major changes in it’s products to lure new users to Google Plus:
When Google launched it’s public beta in September 2011, they added a huge blue arrow on Google’s homepage to pull attention to Google Plus, luring people to sign up.
Google created it’s new Author Rank program to lure bloggers into Google Plus with the promise of a headshot when their blog comes up in the search engine results. This personalizes their search result and gives Google Plus users an advantage over non-users in the search rankings.
The Google Plus One button is becoming more and more popular, because research indicates that it positively affects your search engine rankings.
Google Places was absorbed into Google Plus, so that small business would create product pages and pull customers too. These results are tied to Google Maps, which pulls in Zagat ratings, Street views, and reviews from people on Google Plus. This again helps search ranking.
Are you starting to see how all of these tie together? Google keeps coming out with amazing products, all tied together with Google Plus, and they give them away for free. Remember that Google’s business model has always been about giving away awesome products/services and making money on the advertising.
For example, one amazing feature of Google Plus that stands above all the rest: Google Hangouts. It’s free video chatting that in many ways is better than Skype. You don’t have to download anything (it works seamlessly in your browser), and unlike Skype you don’t need a premium (paid) version to have a multi-person video chat. People are even starting to use this for interoffice communication. It’s a game changer. The only catch is you need to sign up for Google Plus to use it.
Another way that Google pulls you in is by allowing you to use your other Google account user names and passwords to access Google Plus. This makes the process simple and frustration free from a user standpoint. You don’t need to fill out a lengthy form to access Google Plus, you can log in with your Gmail or YouTube account (or any other Google accounts).
Who Benefits Most from Google Plus?
Most social networks have target markets or fanatic user bases whether they are intended or not. Pinterest typically has been more popular with the female demographic, Twitter is popular with younger kids who are leaving Facebook after being friended by their parents, and Facebook has a growing portion of older individuals.
What demographic is the most engaged on Google Plus? Who will get the most from joining? Statistics show that Google Plus is still more popular with males (about 69% male users). In addition, there are a few industries and demographics that are on fire at Google Plus.
Initially, Google Plus drew a more tech minded crowd. It’s popular among developers and engineers. This is not surprising, since Google was founded on the philosophy that engineers are the most important people on the team. What is surprising is that there is also heavy engagement from the designer and photography crowds. One reason for this is because the design of Google Plus lends itself well to photos. There is plenty of space for pictures to breath with all that white space. Designers and photographers appreciate this.
If you are in any of these industries -Software Development, Engineering, Photography, Design -and you are not yet on Google Plus, you are missing out on tons of opportunities to “hang out” with and engage customers in your industry. It’s not too late. Join Google Plus, then check out their newest feature: Communities. It’s the best way to talk to potential customers in your industry.