I've been watching Google+ business pages very closely since they launched to see if they are something that should be used by our clients. Brands were very quick to embrace the new platform and set up pages when they were first announced. But rather than speculate on their potential, I thought I'd leave it a few weeks to see what the engagement was like after they had been up and running for a while.
I compiled the list of brand pages below by thinking of some of the biggest brands in the world who already embraced social media on other platforms. Sure enough, all the names on my list had a presence on Google+ with nice brand pages, but as you'll see below, the engagement levels and the amount of updates being posted show that business pages are not really taking off yet.
One of the biggest drinks brands in the world was quick to jump on the platform and was held up as an example of how it should be done in the early days. They started by creating a nicely designed page and updating their followers. However, they have not posted an update in nearly three weeks, showing that they may already have lost interest in Google+ as a platform.
Coca Cola were very quick to arrive on the scene and launch a branded page. Yet they have also not updated in well over a week and any updates that they do post are getting very poor engagement levels. Their latest post got a paltry five comments which is tiny for such a large, well established international brand.
Either they see it is as long term play and are developing their strategy for the platform, or they just don't see the benefit in engaging with such a small amount of fans. McDonalds have launched their page but have not even sent one update yet and their followers are very modest so far.
I wanted to find a brand that was actually updating their page and Volkswagen would generally be recognized as a brand that are extremely active on social media. Their main page has a paltry 1,600 people following it and their latest status update has no comments or reshares at all.
Again one of the most iconic brands in the world who are extremely active on all the social media channels and who were very quick to grab their Google+ page. They have followed a similar pattern of putting a couple of updates live, but then posting nothing for the last three weeks.
What Does This All Mean?
You could look at this in a number of ways with many claiming that it is too early for brands to be on Google+. The volume of consumers is clearly not there yet to engage with these large brands like they do on Facebook. Brands all clearly thought it was wise to own their page early and many are just sitting on them waiting for the masses to arrive but it must be a worry for Google to see them all starting and then giving up so early.
The engagement levels are very very low, and it is simply not worth the effort it would take to maintain and moderate these pages at the moment. Maybe Google brought the business pages to market too soon and without the mass market appeal, the pages will just die. There may be other smaller business pages that are flourishing, but for this piece I only wanted to focus on the big guys who are doing well on other social platforms. It is clear from looking at these pages that, for the moment at least, Google+ is just not relevant.