I’ve been arguing for a while now that businesses are naive to completely discount Google+ in their social media marketing efforts. While I have no problem admitting the growth of the network has probably been slower than the team behind the service would have liked, I think over time the commercial argument for marketing through the service has been strengthening.
We all need to make pragmatic decisions about our limited time and resources, and other choices may take priority, but G+ has slowly been making a strong but subtle case for investment.
I’m not the only person coming round to this idea as well. This great post from VentureBeat has been doing the rounds recently about Google+’s long game, and I think it’s spot on, but I think there’s another factor playing in G+’s favour – SoLoMo (or Social Local and Mobile to its friends).
Google have made a pretty strong play by migrating their local business listings into Google+ which is them staking their claim of the SoLoMo space. Although Google+ isn’t perhaps in any danger of overtaking Twitter or Facebook, compared to Yelp and Foursquare their success is far more significant. I feel G+ could become the king of the SoLoMo castle.
Much more local than the other Social services
It’s no surprise Facebook are making moves into the local space, but they’re always going to struggle to get the data Google has on local businesses, venues and attractions through Google Maps. It’s taken years to get that data and I think unless something dramatic happens, the larger general social sites will always struggle to catch up on that head-start.
More far reaching than the other Local Services
I’ve never been much of a Local Social Networking site user, Foursquare went over my head and Yelp passed me by, but I still find it really interesting to read stories like this of power-users starting to leave these services.
There are quite a few different ways of interpreting a story like this. My own personal theory is that it’s going to become increasingly difficult for individuals to maintain a presence on a social network that’s exclusively about local.
I don’t think this means the death of smaller niche social networks, I think those which develop a unique culture like Pinterest and Instagram will have a place, or those aimed at very specific hobbies like Untappd will do well. Something that falls between these and the ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ approach of Plus and Facebook will struggle.
Poised for Mobile Adoption
If you, like me, believe that the future of Local and Mobile are inexorably linked, then you’ve got to accept that Google and Google+ have a great strategic advantage. Every single person using their Android phone are perfectly set up to be slowly introduced and ingrained into the world of Plus.
They start by getting you signed into your Google+ account and slowly begin to get you using the service, often without users even realising.
Imagine, you receive an invite to an event through calendar that contains a link to the venue’s Google+, you click on it from your phone to navigate there through Google Maps; it’d be easy to make that connection. Nobody is better placed to start connecting these dots other than Google.
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