Social media. An opportunity to elevate a conversation, foster community and challenge the status quo.It is also a place for heated debate as was the case yesterday.Mike Allton, a social media and Internet marketing consultant and Google Plus evangelist, shared an article that instantly ignited a heated discussion between the Google Plus community and the author of the article.Now before you make the assumption that I am going to launch into a diatribe against the author, let me put your mind at ease. That is not what this article is about.It is meant to extend the conversation beyond the "walls" of Google Plus and discuss the pros and cons of the evolution taking place in and around social media as a whole.
The Great Debate: Google Plus vs Facebook
The Article and Why it Launched a Frenzy
The article, "The Future of Facebook’s Newsfeed: An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg," was a well-written piece by Ken Mueller that (in my opinion) was spot-on in his advice to Facebook.How should they attack future changes to the social giant?In a nutshell, Ken's advice was to "stop tweaking" and let users create their own experience. To that I say, AMEN!Where the conversation took a turn was around his comments that Google Plus is neither social, nor a place to find potential clients. To that I say, phooey!Let me give you my side (and that of many others) when it comes to both platforms.
Change and Why It's Not Always Good
Social media is all about the experience and our ability to create a virtual space that both complements, accessorizes, and expands our offline activities into a vibrant and interactive online space.The problem with that is this. Facebook is now limiting our ability to do just that.It is controlling our actions, interactions and inevitably, the reactions of our potential customers.The latest changes to the Facebook algorithm and newsfeed prove that the "free" use of Facebook marketing may no longer be a viable way for businesses to reach consumers.In an Adage article this week, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the overall organic reach of Facebook posts from brands is in slow decline.
"We're getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you're a business is to pay for it," he said.
As Facebook openly encourages Page owners to buy ads to extend reach, I have to wonder how many companies will make the decision to move away from Facebook marketing altogether in 2014?So what does this mean to you?It will be more difficult than ever to get seen in the newsfeed. Frustrated by your lack of interaction? It would appear that you haven't seen anything yet.
My Comments and Your Takeaway
On the flip side, Google and it's social network Google Plus continue to implement change that is both exciting and intriguing from a marketer and content creator point of view.Lets tackle Kens theory that Google Plus is not a place where consumers are spending their time.Stephan Hovanaian's response was well-thought out and thought provoking:
"Here's my question: you say you want to fish where the fish are and to that I ask: is Google a big enough sea for you? Because that's where people go when they want to buy something."
They search for it. Google+ is Google. Google is search. Search is where people go to buy. Buying is what makes your clients money, which they then reinvest in your services.Given the fact that Google Plus is indeed "Google," what role does the search giant play in getting your business found online?Mark Traphagen, the Director of Digital Outreach for Virante Inc. performed an experiment that provided significant insight.
"A G+ post I created for a specific keyword and then asked people to engage the crap out of eventually did rank high for that keyword, but 20 days after the post creation and engagement occurred!"
Take a look and then tell me which you will choose.Semantic search and organic reach or a platform requiring your hard-earned cash in order to gain the attention of your current fans?Below was my response to the difference I see between the two platforms.But don't get me wrong.I still love Facebook as a place where I can interact with my friends and family. For that, it's a wonderful way to stay up-to-date and connected to those I care most about.
I am the first one to admit, I was not an early Google Plus adopter and did not beat the G+ drum initially.I didn't understand the draw and like many, didn't find value in the community. WOW was I ever wrong.Not only has it been an excellent resource on a local level, but the exposure within my industry is unlike anything I've experienced on any other social network.With Google Plus, I control my own destiny. Not so with Facebook. Between the dilution of organic search and the suppression of posts, Facebook is reducing even further what ability businesses had to get in front of their audience.Google Plus on the other hand is all about the quality of your content, your ability to network and how willing you are to connect, engage and inspire others through your words and actions.If I have to play on someone else's playground, I'd rather do it where I at least have a say in how (or if) anyone else gets to play with me.
So what say you? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments in the below!
For those wanting to see the complete Google Plus post, you can read it here.
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.