Who is using Google+?
Research has shown that while Facebook still trumps Google+ in numbers, Google+ has amassed a unique brand of users, one that is motivated by content and shared interests rather than pure socialization.
“Many business pages (and particularly those that relate to technology) are thriving on Google+ – in some cases even more so than on their corresponding Facebook pages,” Pardot reported in June. “Google+ seems to have attracted a smaller but highly tech-savvy crowd, and the conversation reflects as much.”
Hubspot reported in August 2011 that almost a quarter of G+ users were engineers, and software engineers made up the second-largest group of users at 10 percent. Occupations such as designers, developers, writers, programmers and artists also ranked in the top 10 of G+ users. Almost a year later, Pardot found that not much had not changed; G+ users still worked in more tech-related fields compared to Facebook users. In addition, the top three brands on G+ as of May 2012 were Android, Mashable and Chrome. Compare these to Facebook’s non-techy top three: Coca-Cola, Disney and Starbucks.
How are people using Google+?
According to Pardot, two of the most common activities on Facbook are “liking” and commenting on posts. Google+ activity, on the other hand, primarily consists of sharing pictures, videos and longer text posts. This emphasis on content over comment is evident in the Google+ home feed, which not only includes updates from people in your circles, but also recommends popular public posts from across G+. The Communities feature and G+ search function also motivate content-driven interaction by encouraging users to discover people and posts that relate to their interests. As far as businesses are concerned, Pardot also found that Google+ is geared more toward content marketing, whereas Facebook focuses on traditional marketing and ads.
So how does this help?
Google+ users are looking for content that speaks to them, not at them. While offers and other forms of self-promotion are expected from business pages, it is better to take advantage of G+ users’ seemingly longer attention spans and provide content that plays to their interests rather than their wallets. If you sell comic books, post about your office-wide debate over which super hero has the coolest powers, and ask the public to comment. Hubspot recommends sharing lots of photos on your page to prompt discussion: “Think about your business and marketing visually. Which images, charts, or slides can you share on Google+ to ignite conversations and increase the viral spread of your content?” Consider what will catch your audience’s attention and what they will deem worthy of sharing; if they see you as a collaborator first and a corporation second, they will be more likely to respond favorably to you in the long run.
Additional tips from Hubspot:
- Circles are your friends. “According to a study by MarketingSherpa, four out of ten subscribers reported that they’ve marked emails as spam simply because they were irrelevant. On the flip side, MarketingSherpa also reports that emails that have been tailored to specific audiences through segmentation get 50% more clicks than their counterparts.”
- Take advantage of the email notification option when you post updates. Limit your Circles to 100 members so G+ doesn’t think you are spamming, “and send them only relevant and useful information. Otherwise, people can mute your post and never receive future ones again, or they can even block you.”
Content is key for Google+ users.
Read our Google+ rundown for a guide to the site's unique features, and download Hubspot's eBook on marketing with Google+.