I know, I know, the title is a bit of an insult … bear with me.
As I migrate to Google+, and as I learn that my Facebook friends don’t care to follow suit, I am beginning to understand why.
- Facebook has been in use for 10 years, Google+ for 3 years. Facebook has a huge learning curve lead over G+. This is a world of busy people and the saturation point of learning yet another app or program is nigh. Ergo, popular reluctance to venture into Google Plus, i.e., “Please don’t give me any more homework!”
- Google+ requires a Google Account. Although most Facebook users may have acquired a Gmail account and address, they may rarely use it. The majority of my own contact list reveals most of my contacts use company email addresses since many log on during their workday. Therefore, the less contact one has with their Google account in general, the less likely one may be to even notice Google Plus. Facebook users may also assume all their social needs are met on Facebook.
- Perhaps the strongest point relates to whether or not one is actively participating in social media for business. If one uses social media exclusively for personal use, there is little interest for another platform. Despite the fact that social media users deserve a better User Experience (UX) than Facebook (such as IS provided on Google Plus), most users commonly prefer a bird in the hand rather than two in the bush. But, SMB owners who ARE active on Social Media for their small businesses are far more likely to seek the superior benefits of Google+; especially for the SEO benefits to their search rankings.
But, alas, many SMB owners are often laggards in social media. And if they do participate, it is mostly via hire. Google Plus asks for genuine content from source. Fluff is not effective. Google Pus provides a superior platform for sincere engagement. Facebook falls shy.
Ergo, the analogy – Friends vs Grownups
Business Users desiring a respectful ROI from a social media platform search for maturity in a platform (both personally and professionally). Business growth does not occur randomly.
- Facebook is a growing disappointment for brand awareness potential.
- Facebook is exponentially squashing organic business post visibility.
- Facebook users generally prefer comic relief from their stressful days, i.e., silly pet pictures and funny videos. (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”*)
As a result, a business owner now thinks twice about investing valuable ad dollars for increased visibility on a platform (Facebook) which primarily attracts fans seeking pedestrian relief rather than thoughtful content.
Google Plus, on the other hand, has historically attracted those who seek more from their social media platform. Hobbyists, business owners, IT “geeks,” sports enthusiasts, amateur philosophers, science fans, photographers (G+ has amazing image quality), and more.
This means, a Google Plus audience seeks useful and thought-provoking content, or, valuable information that enhances interests and activities. One does not have to be cute or funny to get attention from G+ users. G+ users are actually embarrassed to comment with only a “great post” comment. On Google Plus, complete sentences and finished thoughts are the rule. Sure, G+ users love humor, too, but it is not required as it often is on Facebook. Google Plus has no character limit and images will show exactly as intended.
So what does this mean for the SMB owner who is considering G+ for business?
Users visit their G+ account less frequently than Facebook users because Google Plus content is more about quality, not quantity. You aren’t expected to post daily or multiple times daily as on Facebook. No one forgets you if you only post once a week or once a month. Scarcity is acceptable – as long as your posts are worth a user’s time. This means if you can keep the topic on interest on Google Plus, there is no need to entertain. Lack of frequency will not discount impact.
So, what is the future of social media platforms?
Personally, I believe Facebook is sounding its own death knell through its recent “Monkey See, Monkey Do” approach for monetization. They are more worried about their stockholders than their users (and in a bass-ackwards way). Google+ will surely surpass expectations as its growth is currently exponential. People tire of sameness and don’t appreciate Facebook’s disregard for personal and business UX.
How else is Monkey See Monkey Do Screwing up Facebook?
- They see Twitter as a popular go-to news source, so decide to add top news stories in feeds.
- They see the attractiveness of Google+ YouTube videos auto-play, so they are promoting a “post your video straight to Facebook” campaign.
- They see the growth of Instant Video and Messaging and create Facebook Messenger. And, of course, Messenger will soon have its own avenues for monetization.
Messenger is a lame attempt at best (imho) to duplicate the many uses of G+ Hangouts and HOAs (G+ hangouts on air) as Android use becomes more dominant. Facebook should have stuck to promoting Instagram.
The familiarity and convenience factor for which users hang on to Facebook is being slowly diluted by Facebook itself.
Yes, Facebook, alienate your brand and personal users by screwing with everything users like about Facebook because you have lost sight of your mission and are scrambling for profits. A shortsighted method for continued success to be sure.
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*Seinfeld: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” http://youtu.be/Oj3VphK9AMk