Many socially savvy web users think the problem with new social media platform Google+ is that there aren't enough users on it. A recent Wall Street Journal article referred to Google+ as "a ghost town" compared to its well-known competitor Facebook.
With more than 100 million users currently onboard, a lack of users is not the problem with Google+. The problem with Google+ is that users -- particularly businesses -- don't realize the degree of amazingly cool stuff of which the platform is capable.
A few Google social executives were on hand at the ad:tech SF conference, giving insights on how brands can capitalize on with Google+ in a Tuesday presentation entitled "Google+: How Your Business Can Come to Life on the Web."
Their point? If you're using Google+ like Facebook, you're doing it wrong.
For starters, the concept of the Google+ +1s takes a little extra legwork for a business. For that little extra legwork, though, your brand or business can get fantastic additional exposure.
A Facebook "Like" will show up only on Facebook and has a relatively short shelf life of visibility. Unless a consumer scrolls obsessively down your timeline, they will not see Likes from weeks or months ago.
Your +1s on Google+, however, will remain visible on Google search engine results pages basically forever. These recommendations don't just show up on Google+. They also show up on the millions of search results Google produces daily. Your aggregate number of +1s will always display, no matter how far outside your personal network they originated.
This does require some effort, but only about 90 seconds' worth. A business needs only to fill in some Google+ widget information and then a link to your G+ profile, plus all your +1s, will display on any relevant Google search results page.
Within Google Analytics, you can actually track where your +1s are coming from and identify your most influential public recommenders and brand endorsees. "You can put them in a circle," said Rikard Steiber, Google's Global Marketing Director for Mobile & Social Advertising, "they are the key amplifiers of your message."
The biggest wow-factor for branding on Google+ has been there for six months, yet few people know about it. Google Ripples will produce for you a killer, interactive infographic displaying where all your public +1s are coming from.
"Maybe you have big influencers that you didn't even know about," said Dan Friedman, Google's Product Marketing Manager. "You can find them through Ripples."
"There's a whole lot more coming," Mr. Steiber said in closing. "We just launched brand pages five months ago." That might send a few ripples of panic through the offices over at Facebook.
This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech San Francisco event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.