The new year brings a sense of optimism to PR professionals, as budgets are set, programs are under way and that new iPad is now full of great apps. But this new year also brings a foreboding question: What are we doing with Google+? It’s a question that’s rippling across the PR landscape.
Recent data on the relatively new social platform may prompt an answer to this question. On Jan. 2, Experian Hitwise tweeted that Google+ generated over 49 million visits in December—an increase of 55% over November. Separately, Paul Allen, an unofficial Google+ analyst (not the Microsoft co-founder), reported that as of Dec. 27, the social network’s user base had surpassed 62 million—25% of which joined in December.
While the numbers still pale in comparison to Facebook, the surge in traffic and membership indicate that the potential for Google+ as a viable social network is growing. In fact, Allen forecasts that Google+ will hit 400 million users by the end of 2012.
So what should you be doing with Google+? Well, something, says Jonathan Kopp, partner and global director at Ketchum Digital.
“While Google+ is still nascent, it has moved into a position of a best practice. If you’re syndicating across properties, adding Google+ to the mix is a no-brainer,” says Kopp.
Exactly why, though? What can Google+ offer that Facebook or any of the other social networks can’t? Kopp indicates that the answer is in the name: Google. He says that he sees two big upsides to Google+: First, search relevance and rank can be dramatically improved by being active on the network and, second, the linkages created across properties and profiles through Google+ makes it a frictionless platform.
We spoke with three early adopters—Tim Cigelske of Marquette University, Krisleigh Hoermann of the American Heart Association and Andy Page of media Web site SpoilerTV.com—and asked them to share their brand-page best practices (see below).
While it may not rival Facebook just yet, Google+’s growth is impressive, so ignore it at your peril. PRN