Why Google Plus is no Threat to Facebook

by Martin Malden

Every time I’ve read a review recently of Google Plus I’ve seen a chart that measures the time it took for G+ to reach various subscriber milestones, as compared to how long it took Facebook and Twitter.

The line is almost perpendicular for G+, whereas the other two take far more leisurely trajectories, and this is invariably interpreted as bad news for Facebook (usually) and/or Twitter.

But I disagree.

Don’t get me wrong – I like G+ for a lot of reasons. But whether or not I like it is completely irrelevant if I’m hoping to use it as part of my social media marketing efforts.

What’s important is whether my potential customers likes it.

If the people I’m writing for don’t hang out on G+ there’s no point in focusing my promotional efforts there.

And so far, my experience on G+ tells me that, while a lot of people with interests similar to mine do hang out there, they’re not my potential customers.

As much as I dislike Facebook, and I do, more of my potential customers hang out there than do on G+. Still more hang out on LinkedIn and, so far, few have shown an inclination to move across.

This inertia is what will save Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Some years ago I dabbled in a couple of those Direct Sales businesses – the ones where you made more money signing people up for the business opportunity than you did by selling the product (if, indeed, there was a product).

I joined several of the sites that were supposed to be great networking places for people marketing those businesses – Direct Matches and Apsense are two that I recall.

But, as far as developing new business was concerned, they were a complete waste of time. Everyone ended up trying to sell ‘business opportunities’ to each other, when no one was interested in buying – only in selling.

At the moment, G+ reminds me of those sites. Not because people are trying to sell you a business opportunity on G+ – they’re not – but because the membership comprises people with similar interests exchanging compliments and ‘+1’ing each other’s comments (however banal they may be).

Of course, it may change in the future and, if it does, I’ll revise my view.

But, at the moment, my potential customers are on LinkedIn, and many other online marketers have large tribes of customers on Facebook or Twitter.

If those people are not living and breathing the latest online craze (which many of my potential customers are not) they’re unlikely to make the switch.

And, as unkind as the word may sound (it’s not meant to be), they’re displaying the inertia that will, ultimately, limit the growth of G+.

Martin Malden.

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