So why does Google+ – in my opinion – work so much better for smaller businesses than Facebook? Why can unknowns become known so much easier on Google+? There are a couple reasons. Let’s start with the most important: Google Search. Of course, like all social media platforms, Google+ has its very own search feature. But what makes this feature fundamentally different from Facebook is how it is utilized.
For instance, I want each of you reading this to go into Facebook’s search engine and type one simple word: “photos.” What you will find are pages that have this keyword within the title of the page, maybe someone named “photo,” and four relevant photos from your friend’s recent posts. You won’t even see every page relating to photos or content, you’ll just see the ones who thought to put it in the main name of the page. One thing you won’t see is a photo from an unknown content provider, the very thing you would want someone to see – if you are looking for exposure. What you will see is the very thing your News Feed should have produced in the first place: content from your friends – which is hidden and tucked below at the very bottom.
What you have here is a very closed system. Putting friends first, not content. This makes it very hard for individuals or brands that are not known commodities to reach new followers. Now I want you to type the same word “photos” into Google+’s search engine. What you will find is exactly what you searched for: photos.
You will see two different options, “most recent” and “best of.” Most, if not all of the search results, are from individuals the current user does not know – if these posts have been posted publicly. Also, right from these search results the user can then add individuals or pages to their circles. They can click “best of” to see which content is getting the most engagement and visibility, and if you agree with the magnitude of engagement a particular post has acquired you can add right from these results as well. This is how the unknown becomes known: putting content first.
This is virtually impossible on Facebook, which relies on a one-to-one friend network to expand word-of-mouth endorsements. Because of this, Facebook provides a virtual speed bump for the rapid expansion of content that might deserve the added visibility.
Google+ is a search-first social network. Facebook is a friend-first social network. Just notice when you first type something into Facebook. Friends popup first, and you have to scroll down with the arrow keys or cursor to get to search results as opposed to friends. On Google+ it’s the opposite, a keyword search appears first before individuals in your circles.
The next reason Google+ increases the ability to rapidly expand your follower base is “Shared Circles.” Getting in a shared circle can be an additional way to gain followers and grow visibility for the content you produce. Because the framework of Google+ makes it much more appealing to add individuals you may not know than Facebook, an individual might not hesitate to add a shared circle containing hundreds of individuals relating to their interests. Getting in one of these is usually a gift that keeps on giving. Also, relating this back to Google+ search, people can find your shared circles without even following you beforehand – again, if it is shared publicly.
So if you want to grow followers and increase engagement on the content you produce: first create great content, second post it publicly, and third do it on Google+. Facebook sucks.