Do you remember the advent of the internet? The days when you were haunted by the clicking and humming of your modem; back when waiting actual minutes for a page to load was considered perfectly acceptable.
It almost seems archaic now, but back then it was state of the art. Luckily technology developed fast, the internet began to present us with whole new ways of communicating. There are a number of social networks now, but can you think back to when they first started appearing? Their numbers could probably be counted on both your hands.
On to the Next One
Of course as technology developed further, so did social communication. Forums spawned profiles, which in turn grew into networks. Communication is a dynamic practice though, and the networks needed to be constantly updated to keep up with their audience. They had to choose whether they would evolve or die, which meant many faded into obscurity pretty quickly.
Friends Reunited gave way the more youthful MySpace (with customisable profiles!), and whilst for a while this was thought to be the pinnacle of social communication, it was soon bested by the more professional looking Facebook.
Top of The Pops
Nowadays there are countless social networks, but none of them have yet toppled Facebook from its podium. Whilst its constant updates and tweaks may annoy many users, it seems to keep it fresh enough to stay at the forefront of social networking. So much so in fact that Facebook is now the most visited website in the world, putting that other web giant, Google, in second place.
It is because of Facebook’s shining success rate that other businesses have developed their own social network, Google included. You may be wondering the reason I’ve included a very brief history of social networks, but its purpose is to help exemplify the struggle that Google+ (as it’s branded) has faced a stiff challenge to establish a strong footing in the over-crowded social media market.
A New Challenger Appears
In comparison to other sites, Google+ is incredibly new to social network game. It’s been around for less than 2 years, but what it’s achieved in that time is quite astonishing. It’s already in the top 10 social networks, and it has gained over 500 million users. Its success is mostly down to fact that it’s got the established Google branding behind it, but it has also managed to establish itself as a business-friendly social media.
Good for Business
Many companies have seen the potential in Google+’s ‘Hangouts’ and enjoy the fact that they can organise and categorise their friends and followers into ‘Circles’. Whilst these can no longer be considered USP’s, many find Google+ refreshingly different and resourceful enough to use it daily.
Businesses have seen a wealth of potential in Google+, especially for SEO. With Google being the world’s most popular search engine, many businesses have realised that having an active presence on its social platform may have benefits elsewhere.
Linking their Google+ to their online content, businesses are able to put a face to their results in search engines. With Authorship people are suddenly becoming more responsible for the content they produce, as a picture and a link to their Google+ profile will appear alongside the links on the search engine results page. It is fast becoming a popular representation of the value your content can offer.
Good for SEO
Business pages on Google+ are also indexed regularly, giving your brand wider online coverage. Ensuring your brand values are properly represented and that the page is optimised successfully is vital. Use organically placed keywords and terms to give your brand a better chance of being seen online.
Using the Google+ ‘+1’ tool (similar to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button) businesses can better promote content to specific groups of people depending on which circle they wish to share with. +1’s from other people can also act as social signals that Google use to determine how relevant your page is.
Obviously it’s important to have a positively strong presence across the web, and social networks, especially those owned by a brand as big and as successful as Google, are a great way of building your online personality.