As discussed in a prior post , the social media tug of war between Google and Facebook is now officially an arms race.
Google+ has worked hard to establish a social media foothold and, in the process, take some marketshare from Mark Zuckerberg & co., despite the polarizing affects of Google+.
With more than 40 million users, Google+ is now a digital arena with the potential to become another valuable resource for brands to find their audiences. Similar to Facebook, Google+ Pages is a free service that will provide brands with another place to establish a strong digital foothold and establish stronger relationships with consumers.
Truthfully, the similarities between Google+ Pages and a Facebook Fan Page are eerily present. That said, there are some benefits that separate Google+ from Facebook Pages, and should appeal to both sets of users (brands and users). These include a thorough search element, a new SEO tactic by utilizing the “+1”, and much more focused demographics due to their “circles” feature. These are distinct differentiators.
The detractors already have their claws sharpened, pointing to security issues and lack of administrative ease as negatives. Right now, the competition for the hearts, minds and focus of brands is being won by Facebook. But does this has much to do with Facebook’s familiarity as opposed to the above mentioned disadvantages?
Facebook’s familiarity and strong brand is definitely a part of it but you can’t deny that Facebook executes their Facebook Pages remarkably well. The newsfeed, ads and tab features, which essentially create a website within the Facebook margins, make for an engaging communication experience for brands and fans. And from sneak-peeks, Facebook Pages are going to become a lot more Website-like in the near future. Google+ also lacks in comparison to Facebook when it comes to engagement features such as contests and polls.
With social media there is always the reticence to never be “the first in the pool”. This can explain the trepidation we are seeing with Google+ and Google+ Pages. But as we have learned, what is in second place today can easily pull ahead tomorrow. The torch can be reluctantly passed in the blink of an eye.
The challenge for Google+ is making itself more relevant and valuable to brands, particularly given brands have to determine much time, energy and money they will invest to having a social media presence. For Facebook, the launch of Google+ Pages means it needs to continue to innovate and force Google+ to continue to play catch up.