Friday, 22 July 2011

Is Google+ the Facebook killer?

A lot of what we talk about here at Souper News often concerns Social Media. It's certainly the biggest thing to happen online for some time and arguably the same could be said for it's effect on marketing. More and more companies are embracing the format, with facebook pages and twitter accounts almost rivalling their websites for importance and the benefits they can bring.

With over 750 million users, facebook is the current undisputed king of Social Media. It has evolved beyond a mere website into many peoples preferred way to browse the internet. Though Google is often still the first port of call when searching for a website, facebook provides an alternative route, with users visiting youtube, news sites, etc via their friends links appearing in their News Feed home page.

A product or service may even be searched for without leaving facebook, with business pages offering the chance for a dialogue with a company, as well as that all important recommendations from a users peers. This is where the focus is for many a business, with the unprecedented level of engagement redefining how an organisation communicates with it's audience.

facebook is constantly evolving and improving it's functionality to ensure it leads the pack, but the bottom line for why it's now so important for business is that huge user base. It didn't happen over night and has taken years to build and that's the main problem for any rivals. It's quite simply impossible to compete with those numbers in the short term and any new Social Network would need to keep going and maintain interest for at least a few years before it could hope to.

But Google+ has made a jolly good start. In just three weeks it's already clocked up over 20 million users and that's despite it still being in an invite only, limited release mode. That's one of the fastest take-ups in the history of the internet, but only time will tell if they keep that pace and begin to challenge facebook's dominance.

With the huge numbers of people already using Google's other services, such as Gmail and Google Docs, and these also being integrated into Google+, it certainly has an advantage that it can press. There's also Google's supremacy as a search engine, which it can use to further promote the new network.

All this still doesn't make the success of Google+ certain. It's not their first attempt at a Social Network, with past attempts Buzz and Orkut never really taking off (except in Estonia). There's also the question of whether there's actually a need for Google+, when facebook already provides a very similar service.

Will people be willing to leave facebook profiles behind, after investing so much time in them, just to have to start again?

That's possibly an even more pertinent question for us Internet Marketeers. As well as creating profiles in Social Media, we also spend massive amounts of time understanding the various platforms and developing effective strategies. So, when we hear that a platform such as facebook may have a rival or be on the way out, it can be a nervous time, where so much work and consideration may soon become virtually useless.

This makes it incredibly important that we always have our finger on the pulse and eyes on the ball. We watch the progress of emerging technologies and changes in the landscape keenly, so that we can offer the very best advice to our clients and give them the confidence that they'll always be at the cutting edge with their online presence.

Regardless of whether Google+ dethrones facebook as the king of the Social Networks or falls by the wayside, we know that we'll be able to utilize the victorious platform to it's full potential for our clients and they know it too.

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