Which social network is right for you?

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Google Plus was not a relevant social network like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest were a few months ago.The Editor of AICPA’s “CPA Insider,” Sukanya Mitra, originally asked me to write a column in response to Pinterest’s rapid growth.  I retorted with an explanation of the demographic that Pinterest addresses:  It is not that congruent with a professional journal or publication, specifically for CPA’s.  You can read my full explanation in the column.  I proposed to write a column on the 4 leading social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest) and the demographics each represents, the target markets that marketers or advertisers could reach through them.  I purposely left Google+ out.  At the time, statistics showed that Google+ was less popular than MySpace.  I didn’t think it was a relevant player yet and therefore shouldn’t be included in the article.

In the time since I wrote the article, Google has forced Google+ down our throats.  In what might seem as an “evil empire” move, Google has integrated Google+ into their dominant search platform.  They’ve replaced their Google Places pages of Google Maps with Google+ Pages, thus forcing us to use Google+ at least from a corporate perspective.  When we conduct a search looking for companies, service providers, retailers, etc., these pages appear on the map in the results.  Google+ has now become fairly integrated into Google’s world, right or wrong, plus or minus (pun intended).  It has become increasingly an obligatory space for advertisers, marketers and phoneBloggers™.

To talk about Google+ is really to talk about Google in general.  I still don’t think that people are using Google+ as a social network in the same way people are choosing to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Pinterest, which all serve different needs and purposes in their own life. One person can be on all 4 networks but probably uses them in different ways, which you can read about more in the column link.

However, when it comes to Google+, people are not actively using it.  They may be using it by default because they are logged into Google to use their Gmail. They search, find and look at Google+ pages.  Now they are sucked into the vortex of Google+, an extension of Google login.

We will be increasing our usage of Google+ to help our clients through the phoneBlogger.net™ process.  Google is nonetheless part and parcel to the word-of-mouth marketing world of the Internet.  People are Googling each other even (and especially) when they’re being recommended or referred.  I left Google+ out of the column purposely and I maintain it is not a leading social network in the strict definition of the four I talk about in the column.

What do you think?  Do you use G+ to network with colleagues or friends?  Do you think it’ll catch on?  Find its own networking niche (outside of a commerical/blog directory)?  Will it overtake Facebook’s 1-in-9-people-in-the-world population?  Moreover, will G+ introduce a freemium option?

Click here to read “Which social network is right for you?”.

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