Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
Choosing Between Facebook and Google+
This is a familiar phrase of a song we sang in Girl Scouts. Why is it pertinent here in an article on business marketing and Google+? Because Google+ is the way to make new friends and Facebook is a way to keep the old.
For a business, the constant flow of new customers is essential. There is no question about that. The image showing here "Customer Lifetime Value by Channel" is from an article on WIRED magazine online: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/07/email-crushing-twitter-facebook/.
This article addresses the various social media and other sources that provide new customers, comparing the social media Facebook and Twitter. Business advice that one needs to be on these media abounds. However, in looking at this comparison from 2009 to 2013, the article reads, "Facebook over that same period barely registers as a way to make a sale, and the tiny percentage of people who do connect and buy over Facebook has stayed flat. Twitter, meanwhile, doesn’t register at all. By far the most popular way to get customers was “organic search,” according to the report, followed by “cost per click” ads (in both cases, read: Google)."
It seems that Google and its matching social media presence Google+ with its positive effect on Search Engine presence are the way to obtain new customers and the other two are not. But, to defend Facebook, it is a way to keep the old friends and customers. It may not provide much income, though.
The company that prepared the charts shown in this article "Custora" states that it "came up with its figures by analyzing data from 72 million customers shopping on 86 different retailer sites. They tracked where customers were clicking from (email, Twitter, Google, etc.) and what and how much they bought, not just on that visit but for the next two years. Over those two years, Custora found that customers who came to retailers from search were more than 50 percent more valuable than average. In other words, they were more likely to shop more and spend more." Please read this article (linked above) to get the full story.
In this next chart, Custora shows "Aquisition Channel Growth" in a similar comparison. The winner, by far, so high it shows only at the top of the chart is Organic Search. Guess where that happens.
The place to find new customers is organic search. The Search Engine that controls organic search for the majority is Google. This is pretty straightforward.
Making New Friends on Google+
This new social media platform is two years old. It has taken off in popularity and is now just behind Facebook in numbers of active accounts. In your Google+ account you build followers who see your posts and find you through the suggestions of others. Because it is a social media, your connection is both social and business. You can have business pages of course. Your profile and your posts are not restricted to those who log in as your friends but are shown in public if you permit them and can be found on all search engine pages with your photo, you know, the photos that draw your eye to that entry on the search page. This is the great benefit of Google+. It is immediate posting on search engine for your information. Thus anything you do on this platform is right there, live, posted to attract new customers in organic search.
In Google+ another way to have people find you and get to know you better is the concept of "plussing". If you make a post and people like it, then they can "+1" the post. This is not like a "like" on Facebook. This is a full referral to all of their followers that your material is good and is suggested to them. It has actual referral value. This referral value provides you exponential numbers of viewers for your material. Here is a little example.
Person A has 400+ followers on Google+. She posts an article. Person B has 55,000 followers on Google+ and sees and likes her article. He puts a "+1" on it. That article post now goes out to all of his followers. If they like it, then they can also plus it, and it goes to their followers and so on. One plus one is not two, it is actually closer to 100,000 article views. "Google Math" is beyond ones wildest dreams for putting materials in front of "new" customers. Again, this is also posted live in the Google search engine as well. You know what number multiples of views does for your good business content in article posts. This is quite amazing.
Another feature we see on Google+ is the ease with which we can find new categories of friends for yourself and your business. You type a hashtag into the search and put it with the keyword important to you. It may be your favorite business topic, or what your customer is looking for. #shoes for example will then bring you up all the posts that include that special keyword. If it is #seo then those who offer this service can find others to be mentors or guides. If it is #glutenfree they it will provide you the posts of all those who both produce and discuss gluten free foods. It could not be easier to find new worlds of friends and potential business colleagues and customers around the world. This platform is all about the "NEW" friends.
Keep the Old Friends on Facebook
Some want to keep connected to their old friends, previous customers, and Facebook is a good place to do this. It is safe. It is a good place to manage history. That's fine. Keep the old while making the new. What we know is that it does not bring you a high percentage of new customers.
Here is an article posted on Google+ by a leading authority on the value of the platform https://plus.google.com/+MarkTraphagen/posts/7VkaBar4KP2 Mark Traphagen cites a study on Facebook customers entitled "78% of a Brand's Facebook Fans Are Already Customers" I encourage you to read this. Follow the link in the article to the study he cites. 49% of the fans are there to support the brand they like. These are not new customers.
Each Business Faces an Important
Keep it small and close to your existing customers, or grow your business by attracting the new ones at the same time on Google+. Which do you want to do? You can do both you know. Give it a try. It is not a black and white situation. Do both. See what works better for you.