For the business owner, marketing with social media has its challenges. Among the questions that face you in your marketing, is how to best use the different social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. – to promote your business and your services. There are many reasons to be active on all of the major platforms, but in this article, we want to address specific differences in marketing strategies on Facebook versus Google+.
This is not about SEO. This is about content marketing. Yes, SEO is a part of an overall marketing strategy, but that’s where we want to make the initial distinction between Facebook and Google+ social media marketing. When talking about your business, it’s important to think of your potential audience. Will they be looking for you already, or are you trying to create a potential interest? How you answer this question may impact where you focus your marketing budget initially.
Let’s consider two variables – being “searched for” and being “discovered.” For this discussion, “searched for” will be used to mean that your potential customers know that they have a need for your services, and they are likely to actively search for products or services like yours via search engines such as Google. “Discovered,” on the other hand, will serve to describe the products and services that potential customers might want to use, if they knew you existed or met an interest of theirs. Both may be applicable to your business, but consider these factors as you plan your marketing strategies.
If your business, products, or services are ones that customers often search for, then Google+ will be an area to invest time and/or money with content marketing based on a “Search Strategy.” If this sounds like your business, then there are two aspects to Google that you need to understand. Google Places, the “old” site for listing the physical address of your business, adding reviews, etc. has become “Google Plus Local.” It is integrated with Google search and it maximizes your geographical location when folks search for products/services in your area. However, there is a separate Google platform for social media called “Google Pages.” It is not the same thing as “Local.” (IF you have completed the “Get Verified” process, Google will likely merge the two sites. They have begun to do this with some businesses, but Verification is the key!) Both sites may come up in a Google “search,” but as a business owner, you will need to monitor and manage TWO sites with Google until they are merged. The “Local” site will be the place to have customer reviews posted, and you should list your address and key business information as well, but the “Pages” site will be where you post updates, engage in conversations, and distribute content. Pages is the Google platform from which people can “Follow” and “Circle” you, and similarly, it is the platform that business owners will want to use to engage with others by Following or Circling them.
The other side of this strategy question is being “discovered” by potential customers. There is no question that the larger user-base is on Facebook. If your business or services are ones that folks may not know that they need yet, or may not be regularly searching for, an “Awareness Strategy” may be more powerful for you. Facebook would give you a significantly larger audience of users, and therefore potential customers. Businesses can set up a single Facebook site, unlike the two for Google+, and key facts, physical address, and recommendations will all be displayed in one place.
Both Google and Facebook allow business owners to set up free business profiles, brand/business pages, etc., and both allow you to engage in content marketing. Both will allow business owners to run ads targeted to the ideal customers or a target market. AdWords on Google are based on key terms that users might be searching for, and Ads on Facebook are based on demographic variables (including geographic) of the target audience.
Of course the ideal situation would be to be active on both Facebook and Google+ for your business, creating a robust online footprint in a variety of contexts. If your time or marketing budget is limited, however, begin by considering this fundamental question – do folks know they need your specific products or services, or are you trying to create awareness or interest in what you offer?
Top 3 Things I Love About….(a series)