What’s the most popular social media channel B2B marketers are currently using? If you read our recent blog post by Collective Content founder Tony Hallett you’ll know it’s LinkedIn.
That’s based on two data sources. One is our own research among B2B tech and telecoms vendors about the adoption of content marketing, in which LinkedIn not only trumped all other social channels but ranked in the overall top three things included in marketing activity and ranked by importance. While the 2014 Content Marketing Institute (CMI) B2B study (see Slideshare below) puts LinkedIn at the top of the list of social media used by B2B marketers. There are many reasons for that – more of which here.
What’s interesting is how low down one social channel still ranks on these types of lists when it comes to B2B marketing – and most likely for B2C as well. Lying in a lowly fifth place in the CMI study – only just above Slideshare and Pinterest – is Google+.
It’s the marmite of social channels and a lot of that is simply down to a lack of understanding of how it works and how best to use it in a content marketing context.
Why does it matter to me if it’s so low down on the list, you might rightly ask? Well there’s some evidence to suggest there’s a head of steam building up behind Google+ and that it will become increasingly important as a channel for distributing and sharing content and engaging with a target audience.
First look at the size of Google+. By number of users (according to Google’s own figures) it is now the second largest social network, with 540 million (as of October 2013) worldwide, behind Facebook and its 1.28 billion monthly users. Twitter is back in third with 200 million.
Tech analyst Forrester ran some of its own research on Google+ earlier this year and came up with some unexpected findings. Its survey of 60,000 US online adults found 22 per cent visited Google+ each month – the same figure as for Twitter and more than Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Forrester also found that Google+ generates much more brand engagement. It studied more than three million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven of the major social networks. And guess what – Google+ posts generated nearly as much engagement per post as Facebook and almost twice as much per follower as Twitter. Guy Kawasaki believes Google+ is a place for “passions”, with high-quality content and deeper engagement with like-minded individuals and communities. And that’s surely a dream for marketers.
Rate of growth
Then let’s look at its rate of growth as a channel used by B2B marketers. If we look back at the CMI’s study for the past three years, Google+ has gone from being used by just 13 per cent of B2B marketers in 2011 to 55 per cent in 2014. And while we’re talking rates of growth, both Pinterest and Slideshare are also big movers – but that’s another blog post.
But there are other important reasons to take note of Google+ as a channel for content marketing activity and that’s all to do with the SEO magic of Google’s platform. The Google Authorship feature enables businesses to link content to an author’s Google+ profile, giving it a higher ranking and adding a badge of credibility and trust, even if recently some have started to question this relationship.
We’re exploring ways to use Google+ for B2B content marketing and we’ll share some of our tips and lessons in future blog posts on here.
*photo credit: I am Veronica via photopincc
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