To some extent, Facebook and Google + (or Google Plus) appear very similar. However, there are some significant and important differences that should be taken into account when considering which to use as a social media platform for your business marketing.
- has been around for longer: since 2003, whereas Google + was launched in 2011
- has more users: almost 900 million, compared with 100 million for Google +
- has a longer average dwell time: active Facebook users average seven hours a month online, whereas Google + users average less than an hour
- has a settled personality, whereas Google + is newer to the market and still establishing its position and image
- is integrated with the Google search engine and other products such as Picasa
- offers Hangouts – an integrated video chat system
- has Circles, which enable page owners to separate contacts into discrete groups
- has more business-friendly features and functions
- offers more control over who can join a page or read your posts
So which one is best for me?
The choice of which system to use really depends on your business and its objectives. If you need to reach a large number and wide spread of consumers, who spend serious time on that social media platform, Facebook is probably more appropriate.
However, Google +’s Circles and Hangouts might be better for businesses that want to communicate with defined groups and keep these separate. It might also launch useful new business-friendly features and facilities over time as it becomes more settled.
Do I need to be on both?
There’s no reason not to have a presence on both sites – although their purposes overlap somewhat, individual users will mainly use either one or the other.
Bear in mind though that using social media requires a constant investment of time to maintain the page and keep it up to date. You won’t build a community, and users won’t stay engaged, if your page appears to be inactive.
It’s better to use only one platform (or neither) than to have a presence on either one which isn’t kept updated.