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Google+ vs. Facebook

A summary of Google+ features and usage and how it compares to Facebook in marketing your business.

What is Google +? It is another social media network designed by the Google Internet giants in an attempt to give other social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked In a run for their money. It has similar features to some of these existing social websites but there are a few differing features. Just like many other social media giants, Google + when it first launched was giving Facebook a big scare that they would dominate this website in much the way that Facebook stomped out MySpace.

Regardless of the marketing goals that Google intended when launching this, there are a few concepts that make it useful as an online marketing tool. Originally when set up, Google + did not allow for business pages to be created within its network. However, there are useful tools that can help increase traffic to a business site and gain a following for a business now.

Google + is set up to have a social network of friends that are in “circles.” These circles are categorized by how they are acquainted to the Google + user such as friend, family, business associate, or other categories. Google uses a tool called Sparks to help share articles, links, photos, videos and other media and to share other interests. Additionally, it has video chat where people can communicate one on one with each other.

The number of users is within the millions for people that are utilizing Google + and since its launch, there are numerous business owners that are now taking advantage of this social website to capture an audience that may not have other social media accounts. It is free to use and is associated rather closely to anyone that uses an Android smartphone. It is gaining popularity and at a rapid speed. If anything, it is an excellent tool for any business owners to at least take a look into and give a try. If there doesn’t seem to be any traffic increase as a result of using it, it at least is another tool to increase business visibility.

Which of these - Facebook and Google+ - is the winning contender when marketing your business? It can be a toss up. Google + is the Internet mogul’s answer to social networking and it involves sharing information with people in your circles, not everyone. With Facebook, people can post a business page and spread it to everyone virally. Google + launched in 2011 while Facebook launched in 2004 with the focus on connecting students in universities. With Facebook, its American creator Mark Zuckerberg probably had no idea that less than a decade later it would have nearly 800 million users while Google + is still building in popularity.

Since Facebook already had a basic guideline to follow, Google + was able to use it as a blueprint and add to it to make it different. Google + has some features that leaves Facebook in the dust such as places called Hangouts where people can communicate through video chat whereas Facebook allows one-on-one video chat through Skype. Google + also offers “Sparks” which is a news feed that covers different topics. If a person types in horseback riding, there is the information including articles from newspapers and blogs about that topic. How it applies to a business owner is to be able to share information on the site about their products and services.

Facebook Chat versus Google + Chat is also different. Facebook requires people to be friends first before “hanging out” while with Google +, these forums are open to anyone you don’t know. This would be a good way to benefit a business owner because they could openly speak to any user and inform them about their products and services. Since they see a real life person on a web cam, it eliminates spamming. Facebook has an edge on Google + because so many websites use it for sharing items Facebook. You can go to almost any website and there is a little Facebook or Twitter icon to share information instantly.

The pros and cons of each are up in the air. Google + is up against a tough competitor that already has an enormous following. However, both are useful tools for online marketing and sharing information about your business instantly.