Despite all the lies and assumptions from publishers like Tech Crunch, Forbes, and others, regarding Google Plus as a “Ghost Town”, I’d like to point out how I and others on the “Booming Social Network” have managed to build magnificent brands, who unlike the fake media I pointed out above, is actually run by real social media professionals, who understand the network well, and not some cheap blogger at Tech Crunch that cites “fake sources” and makes bogus assumptions with no real explanations to back them up. As you will soon see, Google Plus today is actually the driving force of social media, a true social gathering place, and an enticing interest based network, hardly the ghost town that the uninformed have painted it out to be.
Welcome to Boom Town!
The fact is, today Google+ is exploding in growth, and the social properties I helped create and manage there are living proof of this, including the exponential growth of many of the communities and brand pages we created. Our community Strategic Social networking just recently hit 50,000 members, and in just a few short weeks it now stands at 51,809 members at the time of this writing; not to mention the community has received a total of approximately 20,179 posts since its inception in Dec of 2012.
Or take for instance the Travel Photography Community, another community under our ownership and management, which now has over 70,000+ members and counting. Google has even catered to photographers by providing ways to enhance photos, and photographers from all over the world now call Google Plus their social media home.
Some ghost town right? Maybe it’s all a dream, and none of these people exist? It’s all just a figment of our imagination right?
What I mentioned above is nothing compared to what I’ve seen grow on Google+ over the course of the last year, with some communities now numbering in the millions of members. Communities are the part of Google+ that big media and publishers like Tech Crunch don’t get! The entire network is actually run by everyday people like myself. The actual people on Google+ are the real gatekeepers, and they hold the keys to this network, not some media giant who understands nothing about social media.
While many big brands and publishers on the web flocked to Google+ with brand pages popping up everywhere, the rest of us looked to cement control on communities, the real driving force of engagement on the network. Today the majority of Communities there are owned and operated by every day people, who turned the network into the conglomerate social empire it has now become.
While brands control pages, they don’t control Communities! A word of caution for publishers like Tech Crunch here, in case they didn’t know it, community owners and managers can literally flip a switch and choke off those who abuse the network with false assumptions. In fact, in the case of Strategic Social Networking, we could literally wipe every last Tech Crunch article out of the view of our 50,000+ members permanently if we wanted too! And that’s just one Community!
The Birth of New Brands!
Besides Google Plus’ massive “Interest Based” Communities, the network has spurred the growth of thousands of newly minted brands, including our own gaming news organization, Gamers Bay! I’m proud to say this powerful brand was born on Google+, and now stretches across multiple social networks. Gamers Bay Community now has close to 4,500 members who posted over 14,000 times in one year, and our brand page has close to 6,800 followers. Collectively speaking, the brand has over 15,000 members spread across multiple social networks.
Where else on the web can you find such an audience so quickly, take an idea, and literally turn it into a reality overnight, without ever spending a dime? If you can imagine it, you can build it on Google Plus!
Today people associate Google Plus with being an “interest based” network. They know they can search for a given subject and find a corresponding community somewhere on the network. This isn’t always the case elsewhere on the web, and it’s one of the reasons the network is thriving today.
The True Network For Professionals:
The first thing about this network to catch my attention, were all the professionals I engaged with early on. Many Communities and brands on the network are run by people who are true professionals in their field of expertise. They are the “Go to folks” for anything related to their industries, and many of them are now pioneering their fields as a result.
Move along Linkedin, if it’s making the connection with real professionals who have real credible endorsements you seek, then Google Plus is the network for you! Google makes connecting with others simple with the use of Circles. I tend to create different circles for different IT based subjects. If you like web design, then just create a circle for it and add those who share that interest with you to a corresponding circle. Then when you have something enticing to share with those folks, it’s as simple as selecting the circle in question and hitting the share button.
Easier to Manage Social Properties:
Compared to other social networks, Google has some very effective spam filters in place, and their algorithms put suspicious posts made in communities directly into a spam folder, and out of the view of community members. Google also puts community owners and moderators in the driving seat when it comes to dealing with abusive members, including the ability to ban and further report suspicious or abusive accounts in the click of a button.
The Battle Against Facebook:
Oh wait there is no battle, since Google Plus stands very well on its own. I guess the other social networks can battle it out between each other. Here’s another ridiculous article that makes assumptions about Google Plus, this time from wired.com, (by the way I "nofollowed" this link, not giving these people any credit) in which the article states, “people already have Facebook, and the Google Plus front-end doesn’t give them much that’s different; and G Plus didn’t work as an actively-used social network because it provided no new features users wanted” (Wired). Yeah, I know, face palms are taking place as you read this. Comparing Google Plus to Facebook is like comparing apples and oranges, there's no point as they're both unique in their own ways.
Even wired can’t get their facts straight! For one I would take the Google+ user interface any day over Facebook's. What they aren’t realizing is that, maybe the users on Google+ don’t want or care for an interface like Facebook’s? “G+ didn’t work as an actively used social network?” A world of assumptions and it’s all from big media what a shame. My recommendation to publishers big and small, don’t write about and publish content surrounding subjects you know nothing about, it doesn’t give you any credibility.
Google recently rolled out plus post ads, an ingenious way to market social content from brand pages across the entire web. With Plus Post Ads, the days of the traditional advertisement are now out the door, as marketers seek to find better ways to connect with their audiences online. Now users across the internet can engage directly with brands right through the ads themselves.
One of the great features of marketing on Google+ is the ability to post gifs! More often than not, one of the biggest complaints of social platforms like Facebook is the lack of support for gifs. Google makes it simple to upload your favorite creations, or if you’re a marketer, an enticing moving animation that will grab network user’s attention as they scroll through their home streams. In the case of Gamers Bay, the use of gifs as a marketing tactic has been an important one, and we would be at a loss without this functionality.
Paving the Future of Social Media:
If there’s one thing Google ever did an excellent job of, it was the integration of their products and services. While there were a few hiccups along the way, Google eventually pulled it off, going as far as to integrate Youtube with the rest of Google Plus. The integration of these two technologies means an easier way to share content from Youtube directly to G+, and easier management of conversations on posts, regardless of where they are.
Users on Google+ also have the ability to embed posts directly in their blogs, driving more engagement among their regular blog readers.
What will the future of Google+ hold? While we can only imagine, Google has been known to turn to its avid users for help determining the future course of the world’s largest “interest based social network!” In fact, a majority of changes made to the network over time actually grew out of the ideas of the networks users themselves.
As for those like Tech Crunch who make false assumptions from non credible sources, the Google+ community is balking at you now. We could care less for unsubstantiated opinions, and if the people there wanted too, they could simply rip you out of the Google Plus traffic flow altogether. In the future, it’s probably best if publishers who plan to report on social media actually have someone who knows about it do the writing.
In the end, Google Plus has a strong, vibrant, an actively engaging user base. The network will never fail due to the strong forces of talent that drive it today. What many failed to realize is that, Google didn’t make the network what is today on their own, as it grew out of the inspiration of the people who make use of it!