Google+ is a strange beast.
On one hand, it’s compelling because it is one of the largest social media networks and, as important, owned, of course, by Google.
On the other hand, it is hard for many brands to understand what Google+ offers compared with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Yes, it is important to have a presence on Google+, but what should brands be doing other than posting content so it can be quickly indexed by Google?
For many brands, SEO is the biggest and perhaps the only reason to be on Google+.
Even though there may not seem to be many compelling reasons to embrace Google+, it can’t be ignored or dismissed.
For now, Google+ may be the “ugly duckling” of the social media world, but who’s to say it won’t become a beautiful swan?
For one, there are a lot of Google+ users – 360 million to be exact, although anyone who registers for a Google account is counted a Google+ user.
For brands, there are a few reasons to like and leverage Google+.
In addition to sharing content and having its indexed, Hangouts are a user-friendly ay to have digital discussions. You could argue Hangouts are Google+’s killer app.
Google+ is also business-friendly. While Facebook and Twitter are popular with consumers, Google+ is, in many ways, a professional social network.
This could create a big opportunity for Google+ to carve out a distinct identify.
By catering to businesses, Google+ could stand out itself from Twitter and Facebook. It could be the place where brands do business, as well as connect and engage with consumers.
Let Twitter and Facebook be the hybrid business/personal social networks; Google+ will embrace the same approach as LinkedIn.
In many ways, Google+ is work in progress. It has some good features but Google+ has to become more interesting if it wants to be a place where brands invest time and effort.
More: Check out this Search Engine Land post by Trond Lyngbø that explains how Google+ fits into Google’s search strategy. Here is how he explains the connection:
“Google+ is an identity platform, with potential to deeply impact how we will experience social, local and mobile influences on search marketing.
People debating the importance of social media on search miss the critical point that Google+ is a source of social signals that Google can actually trust! It’s already hard to cheat, manipulate or spam Google+ with low-quality content, and as location data and check-in spam protection kick in, it’ll become almost impossible to game the network.
That’s how Google+1′s will affect rankings. A few years from now, a G+ presence will be indispensable to winning the search game.”