Google Plus has been live for over three years now and as of December 20113 it had over 550 million users* on the network. For comparison sake, Facebook has 1.19 billion users** and its mobile business has been growing rapidly; however, its user growth rate has slowed.
So, will G+ supplant Facebook as the world’s most dominant social network? Well, according to G+ expert @RebekahRadice, blog post, “Google Plus vs Facebook: Why G+ Should Dominate Your 2014 Marketing Strategy,” G+ will become a much stronger player in the social media space. I strongly encourage you to read the post in its entirety as it is well thought out and includes quotes from other thought leaders on this subject. Key quote:
Google+ is Google. Google is search. Search is where people go to buy. Buying is what makes your clients money, which they then reinvest in your services.”
In my humble opinion, Facebook has a great deal of functionality that enables and fosters community building. This is great for businesses and sales professionals who plan to manage a community and foster business via long-term relationship building. This will require time and an ability to generate engaging content that inspires and generates ongoing conversation.
Google+ is much more for brands and business who want to be found online. And…given the growth of online shopping, this objective continues to grow in importance for every business. G+ in its present form does not have the robust feature set as Facebook. This definitely gives Facebook an edge in community building and management. However, G+ continues to improve and the fact that it is Google provides an inherent value that Facebook cannot match.
The bottom line: I believe brands, businesses and individual sales professionals need to have business pages established on both platforms. Currently, the networks serve different purposes with Facebook serving as more of a CRM tool for customer incubation and G+ providing an edge in search. I don’t believe there is an either / or answer to the question of whether you should market your business on Facebook or Google+, but you must understand the differences, understand your business/marketing goals and spend the time / money that is appropriate for you on each platform. Oh yeah…G+ is launching social ads.
Now, to answer the question of whether or not G+ will dominate social in 2014? Yes, I believe it will grow more rapidly than any other social network. No, I would not expect it to “dominate” social. There are way too many smart app developers and start-ups in No. Cal., Boston, Austin and many, many other cities around the globe creating an entirely new Web environment every day, but as my Advanced Writing professor taught me…draft attention-grabbing headlines.
Bonus thought: Regardless of how much time you dedicate to Facebook and/or G+ this year, make sure everything you post, design, develop is done with a mobile audience in mind. The growth of mobile and the volume of content consumed will only increase in 2014 and beyond.