With the latest numbers from the GlobalWebIndex pointing to Google+ as the new #2 social network (and YouTube as #3 BTW) on the planet, it was just a matter of time before social media marketing platforms started taking note. Today, Sprout Social, who has an estimated 10,000+ customers according to the announcement earlier Tuesday, will now make Google+ Pages manageable through its engagement, publishing and analytics platform.
The number of Google+ users has risen to 359 million active users, up from 269 million at the end of last June, a 33% increase according to the GlobalWebIndex. Requiring, or at least making it somewhat difficult to register any new Google account, whether it be Gmail or otherwise without automatically being given a Google+ profile doesn’t hurt either considering the company’s dominance in that area.
There is also the claim by Claire Stokoe, social media manager for UK based Mediaworks in a Business Insider article that, “… (an) authoritative Google+ account is one of the factors that will help you rank high on Google.” She also goes on to say that Google+ accounts were an important part of the algorithm Google uses to rank pages. No one knows, except for Google, exactly how Google ranks pages but the increased presence of Google+ Pages in search does appear to benefit those who have pages versus those who don’t. And Google+ pages with hundreds of thousands of users or more, certainly have an advantage when other Google+ users who have the brand in their circles, search for queries where the company’s Google+ page shows up in personalized results. Much in the same way Bing is integrating Facebook (FB) in its results, allowing Facebook friends to interact with results using likes and ‘in-search’ commenting along with shared links on it’s sidebar and the ability to see what your friends favor when searching for Italian restaurants for instance. Along with their suggestions on what to order, not order, etc.
This seems like it’s something that would be even more valuable for Google users, particularly as Google+ grows to include not just early adopters or inactive accounts, but all your friends. Let’s face it, most people use Google for search, but Facebook when it comes to social networking. So i guess the real question to ask, when trying to determine which will provide users more value going forward (Google search with G+ integration) or (Bing search with Facebook integration) is will Google+ overtake Facebook as the top social network before Bing overtakes Google as the top search destination?
One feature unique to Google+ core functioning is the use of circles, a way to organize groups of people in meaningful ways by placing individuals or brand pages into one or more circles representing how the person relates to them in the world. Friends, Coworkers, Family, Hockey Team, Chess Club, for instance could be examples of circles you can create. The announcement from Sprout Social earlier stated that users would be able to take advantage of these unique features. When publishing content, Sprout users can target one or more circles in addition to making the update public. Other features of Sprout like drafts, Queue and scheduling are also available for Google+ now as well.
Justyn Howard, founder and CEO of Sprout Social noted, “We were careful to be sure our Google+ capabilities didn’t feel bolted on, but rather fit seamlessly to improve the overall Sprout experience and enable better social communications. As with every enhancement we build, our primary goal is to ensure customers will be successful using Google+ as an extension of their brand.”
To learn more about Sprout Social or sign-up for a free trial click here.