Earlier this week Joshua D. Brett argued that as Google shows preferential treatment for content posted to their social network, users ignore Google+ at their peril. Google is ready to sell their soul in exchange for a strong social network, and in my opinion they’re working to turn a suite of Google tools into the dashboard for our lives on the Internet.
Google’s effort to push their social network is working from a sheer numbers perspective, but it seems few brands have figured out exactly how Google+ can benefit them.
61 of Interbrand’s Global 100 Brands list have created pages, which is fairly high considering 79 of the Fortune 100 brands are leveraging social media on any platform. From a user perspective Plus has it going on, but the number of companies jumping on the Google+ bandwagon has decelerated quickly. In fact, Simply Measured found that Honda was the only one of Interbrand’s Global 100 to create a brand page in the past month.
A lot of people are talking about this figure like it’s the impending death of the platform but I bring you back to the numbers in context. Almost 80 percent of businesses using social media marketing have signed up for Google+. Companies understand the importance of being on the platform, but do they understand how to use it?
How Companies are Leveraging Google+
Mentions of social networks were sprinkled throughout the Super Bowl last weekend, but there wasn’t a single mention of Google+. Many people called this a bad omen for the network, but I think the picture is more nuanced than this. Three percent of inbound website referrals to company sites leveraging Pinterest is coming from the pinning network, yet no one mentioned Pinterest during the Super Bowl either. Does this spell sure death? Of course not.
Instead it means people were prioritizing networks like Twitter and Facebook. Look at user adoption and this makes perfect sense. Plus, actual people are still attracting circlers at a pace that far exceeds brands. Bottom line, businesses still have a little figuring out to do.
According to a study measuring Google+ acumen, the average business on the platform updates their Google+ page three times per week. Other organizations, like the NASA, are taking a much more aggressive approach. Either strategy seems to make sense for now, but consistency is key.
Ferrari, H&M, and Google Inc. are dominating the platform when it comes to an analysis of absolute posts and number of circlers, but even among top brands, engagement varies wildly. (For reference, when looking only at number of circlers, H&M, Samsung, Pepsi, Starbucks, and Burberry lead.) H&M is only engaging 2 percent of their circlers while Ferrari boasts a 92% engagement rate. If you’re a marketer looking for someone to emulate, pick Ferrari.
The luxury car brand is also well worth watching because of the pressure they’re getting from other automotive brands. The automotive industry has been one of the quickest sectors to adopt the platform but as the chart below indicates, few have figured out how to turn users into actual circlers. As they figure out how to win Ferrari will start to feel a push to put the pedal to the metal to maintain their lead.
I’m including a number of additional charts below, courtesy of the study from Simply Measured. If you’re looking to dominate Google Plus, emulating some of these top performers is a great place to start. Also watch for the post I’m writing next week about tactical steps businesses can take to increase their fans, followers, and engagement rates on the Google Plus social media platform.