As marketers, we’ve been spoiled the last three or four years in the social media department. Essentially the two “must have” presences in the social networking space were Facebook and Twitter. Now, we have a plethora of options at our disposal including (but not limited to) Google+, Quora, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Each of these provides value to our business, but unless you have an unlimited budget, or a lot of extra time, you can’t possibly have a meaningful presence on all of them. Right?
With Google+ gaining serious ground, and Facebook making a series of community killing decisions, it might be time to take a closer look at what both have to offer.
Food for thought…
Facebook ranks dead last in customer satisfaction while Google+ ranks near the top of the social media world.
According to the numbers, Facebook came in last place in customer satisfaction amongst major social networks in 2012. With a score of 61 out of 100, this signifies a drop of 8-percent from last years numbers. In fact, Facebook has fallen each of the last four years that The American Customer Satisfaction Index has performed the survey.
Google+, on the other hand, touts a score of 78. Scores obviously don’t tell the complete story but it is revealing and it bridges nicely into my next point.
Engagement is key, and Facebook is the most engaging site online.
The Wall Street Journal reported the average user spends approximately six hours per month on Facebook as opposed to only – are you ready for this – three minutes on Google+.
If we’re talking mobile engagement the numbers are even more damning. The bright spot is Google+ has higher traffic via mobile device than laptop or desktop traffic (which wasn’t included in the three minute figure above). We can’t get exact traffic numbers unless the two companies release them, but analysts estimate Facebook receives nearly four times the mobile traffic as Google+.
Facebook is driving away its community through a series of bad decisions.
2012 was a year of not-so-popular decisions for Facebook.
It all started with the decision to switch to the timeline, which was met with an overwhelmingly negative reaction. Sophos Security polled more than 4,000 Facebook users and over 80-percent of them responded negatively with answers of “I don’t know why I’m still on Facebook” (32.6-percent) or the most popular answer “The Facebook Timeline worries me” (51.29-percent). Popular poll site SodaHead saw similar results with 73-percent responding “Lose it” in a “Like it or Lose it” poll.
Facebook marketers then learned of “EdgeRank” and its implications on your hard-earned fans. What is EdgeRank? Well, it’s essentially an algorithm that decides what appears on your timeline based on how engaging Facebook thinks the content is. It appears that – depending on engagement numbers – most brands are only reaching approximately 10-percent of their total fan base.
With Google+, no such algorithm exists. If your fans and friends want to see your updates, they see them.
Just for good measure, there was one more huge blunder in 2012 that met with near universal disdain: the announcement that Facebook-owned Instagram could use your photos in any manner it saw fit including, but not limited to, profiting from photos that never belonged to them in the first place. Luckily for Facebook they reversed course mere hours after the announcement was made.
Facebook has such a large user base that it’s unlikely they are all going to disappear en masse ala MySpace, but you have to keep it in the back of your mind that with bad decisions and unhappy users, loyalty is probably going to be pretty low if and when something better comes along.
What about my current fan base?
This is a valid concern, and if we’re weighing pros and cons, this is a definite con when it comes to switching your efforts to another social network. Fans are valuable, and even if all of your current fans made the switch to Google+ with you, Google’s network has far less potential at capturing new fans at the same rate as you can on Facebook.
So what do I do?
The decision shouldn’t be whether to switch or not to switch. Both networks have their place and I can’t see one driving the other completely out of the market. The question you need to ask yourself is how much time should I be spending on each?
That’s an answer I can’t give you.
Some think (whether correct or not) Google+ is better for B2B sales and networking while Facebook is better for B2C sales and brand awareness. I’m not in a position to agree or disagree with either, but I do know the best marketers are those that are testing to find the right fit rather than writing one or the other off as a bad fit or waste of time. So, Google+ or Facebook… which camp, are you in?
Chris Warden is a seasoned entrepreneur and CEO. Starting his entrepreneurial career at age 19, he has performed in numerous capacities owning and managing both offline and online companies. Chris now serves as CEO of Spread Effect, a leading content marketing and publishing company. He is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) and often writes on topics of content marketing, SEO, and business development. He’s passionate about building and mentoring world-class teams and loves to chat with like-minded individuals. You can connect with Chris via Linkedin, Twitter – @ChrisWarden_SE, or Google+.