Most people know that social networking is an important part of Internet marketing with Facebook and Twitter at the helm. However, Google announced in January 2013 that they had reached a user milestone of 343 million on G+. This is the equivalent to nearly 50 percent of Facebook’s active users, making it the second largest social network. This means that it has outranked Twitter, which stands at around 288 million active users.
Being that G+ is only around two years old, it has certainly made its mark with its rapid growth and networking tools, making it a social networking platform for lawyers to consider as they brand themselves online and develop their practices.
G+ Compared To Facebook
Every social network is compared and will be compared to Facebook. While G+ is similar to Facebook, there are some functions that are more streamlined, such as content sharing. It is much easier to filter content based on different groups or “circles.” It is also easier to discover topics of interest, called “sparks,” and to like or “+1” items straight from the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). All of this is what sets G+ apart from the older social networks.
But why should you care when Facebook has over 700 million active users?
The answer to this is rather simple in that Google is a big deal, so you should treat G+ the same way. And as Google continues to strengthen its stronghold on its importance in the online world, G+ is going to continue to flourish.
Social Media Fatigue
Now if you are nodding your head, saying you would rather not deal with another social media website, G+ is different. It is time to throw that social media fatigue out the window and focus on what makes G+ different.
Facebook and Twitter have their advantages. If you play your cards right with both of those, you can reach a large audience. Google+, on the other hand, does “clean up” conversations and the ability to find interactions is much easier and organized. The page is not overwhelmed with ads, so all you are seeing are postings from the people in your circles.
Google Is Dedicated To G+
Also consider that Google is bound and determined to make a very large impact in the world of social media. This is why they are integrating G+ into practically everything they do from search to mobile. They have it into YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, and all of their current programs. This “all-in” attitude of Google is something that any lawyer can benefit from.
But if we look at anything, let’s look at the search. Google provides results for 3 billion searches each day. They tend to promote G+ in some way (not to mention the G+ toolbar is at the top of the screen). For lawyers, this is very important when individuals do a name search because Google will give your G+ profile priority over any other social networking profile. Because you can link any content from around the web to your G+ profile using the “rel=author” and “rel=me” html tags, the content will be served to searchers higher in the results than what it would otherwise.
Google is also personalizing the search results for content by looking at what you and your G+ circles are sharing with one another. Google even promotes content to non-G+ users on the search engine results page, which is another area where lawyers can win BIG.
For example, your uncle’s third cousin is a G+ user. If she visits your firm’s homepage and clicks the +1 button, your page will show up higher to everyone in your uncle’s third cousin’s circles when they are looking for an attorney in your practice areas and your city. If this person has a large network, that’s even better for you.
G+ And Google Places Got Married
If you like to hear of happy nuptials between couples, then the G+ and Google Places marriage is one that is getting happier. When your location comes up through Google Places in the search engine results page, you can click on the Google Places listing to be connected with the G+ profile that any applicable photos displayed alongside the Google Places map belongs to. As time progresses, it is expected that this relationship between G+ and Google Places will become even stronger.
So Should You Care?
Of course you should care and it pays to not listen to those who say that G+ will only be a niche player. Having over 300 million users that will easily turn into 400 million is hardly a niche. Of course, it could be a long time before people switch from Facebook out of preference for G+, but that’s where it pays to not give into social media fatigue quite yet. There are benefits to all of them, but G+ is one to utilize and one to watch carefully as it continues to edge into our everyday lives a little more every time Google comes up with a good idea.