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Facebook versus Google+… it’s game on!

Here’s why we’ll all benefit from the fierce competition between the two giants of social networking – Google+ and Facebook.

When Google launched its social networking site, Google+, last year, Facebook sat up and took notice. While Facebook has an established network with 800 million users worldwide, it took Google+ just 88 days to reach the 50 million mark.

Just over three months later, it added businesses, brands, organisations, sporting teams and entertainment to the fold in the form of Google+ Business Pages.

What followed was a war of the words with both camps arguing they could provide a better social media business platform than the other.

So, is Google+ really the answer? Or is it just another social media network to add to your marketing mix?

Where Google+ has the advantage:

1. Search Engine Optimisation

A current challenge for Facebook is the facebook.com domain has a lower click through rate from search engines. It is most likely the result of people seeing the domain in the search engine and believing it’s irrelevant to their query. As a result, the low click through rate makes for a low quality score in Google’s search engine model.

While it is too early to predict whether the same will happen to Google+ Business Pages, we do know Google already includes Google+ pages in its search engine results.

There are also many that question whether Google will look to offer extra search engine benefits to Google+ Business Pages in the future. While it could lead to a deep mistrust of the Google brand what could stop it from offering Google+ users a highlight here or a bold listing there? Would it go as far as changing its ranking algorithm to benefit Google+ users? Only time will tell.

2. Direct Connect

Google has developed a new feature called ‘Direct Connect’. By typing the + sign before the business name, Google will take you straight through to the business’s Google+ page. Google can even add them straight to your circles.

3. Each product can have its own page

Google+ allows brands to have more than one page, meaning you can dedicate a separate page to each product.

4. Google Analytics

Google+ allows you to incorporate Google analytics into your business pages. Those that already use analytics will know how detailed the information is when it comes to how people found your page and how they explored it. This is the information you need to improve the experience for your customers.

Where Facebook has the advantage:

1. Single user login

As it stands, only one person can manage a Google+ account.

I can see this being a huge problem for large companies. I can’t imagine any manager being too keen to share their username and password with other staff members.

2. Can’t hold competitions

One thing that has worked well for businesses on Facebook is the use of competitions and prize draws.

According to Google+ : You may not run contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or other such promotions directly from your Google+ page. Instead, users must run contests from an external website and may provide a link to the site from their Google+ page.

Based on the above, I think Google+ has the goods over Facebook…for now!

But the war between Google+ and Facebook is far from over, and that’s not such a bad thing. As business owners, we will all benefit from the fierce competition between Google+ and Facebook as both camps roll out more and more features in a bid to win over businesses.

So who will win the war? Facebook has a huge head start but watch out for Google+ which is gaining momentum. Play it right, develop a separate marketing strategy for both and your business will be the winner.

What do you think?

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Michelle Gamble

Michelle Gamble

Michelle is the Chief Angel of Marketing Angels, an entrepreneur who has built Marketing Angels from the ground up over the past 10 years. Marketing Angels has grown into one of Australia’s leading marketing consultancies providing marketing education, advice and outsourced marketing management to business. Michelle claims she's a bit of marketing geek, having started her marketing career in telecommunications and online working for both Telstra and Optus before starting Marketing Angels. Michelle is also a busy mother to 3 children, and lives in Manly NSW.

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