At the moment, Google+ may not be as mainstream as Facebook and Twitter, although the figures for the social network speak for themselves.
From a business point of view, you can’t afford to ignore Google plus. You only have to look at the figures to understand why that is the case.
Matt Cooke, the product marketing manager for Google+, has stated that the social network has 540 million active monthly users.
Of this figure, 300 million view their Google+ content stream at some point during the month, and a staggering 1.5 billion photos are uploaded to the site every week.
“Slowly but surely we are getting a feeling that there’s a real momentum, but it is still early days and there are plenty of opportunities to grow and add new features and make them easier to use,” he told the Guardian.
Even though it shares many obvious similarities between the other big two social networks, Google+ has some very unique features which have helped shaped its identity, and separate it from the current crowd.
Google’s Hangouts tools is one such feature, which allows users to create video conversations involving groups of people.
Some big brands have been using the hangout feature to attract audiences.
Cadbury, which has more than 3 million followers, ran hangouts with athletes and followers during the London 2012 Olympics, which it was sponsoring.
The chocolate maker has its own community on Google+ where fans swap baking tips and join video conversations with bakers and chocolate makers.
By doing this Cadbury creates a community around their brand, which people from all over the world can instantly connect with.
Sonia Carter, digital and social media lead for Europe at Cadbury owner Mondelez International, says Google+ still has a lot of room for growth, having only been active for two years.
Carter told the Guardian: “Hangouts are one of the standout features, allowing us to have face-to-face interactions with small groups of our fans which can be turned into videos that hundreds of thousands can watch.”
There are many debates among marketers that Google favours businesses that are active on Google+ in their search results – however, Google+ is one of the only social networks to offer ‘DoFollow’ links, so this correlation may be misinterpreted.
It isn’t just Hangouts that separate Google from the rest, there is also the auto awesome feature, which allows users to upload four or five pictures in a sequence which will then be turned into a moving gif file.
The main thing that sets Google+ apart from the rest, however, is that it is so much more than just a social network.
For many, Google+ is a ‘social layer’, which ties together all the search giant’s products from search, mail, maps, documents, apps and YouTube.
There are also the obvious advertising opportunities available on the platform.
With all this in mind, it’s obvious to see why Google+ is a wonderful marketing tool that simply cannot be ignored.