WHY Wineries Might Prefer Google+ Brand Pages Over Facebook’s Pages
In case you didn’t hear, Google+ rolled out brand pages last week. This is one of the biggest developments to happen in social media in a long time. But what does it mean for businesses using Facebook?
Facebook is like a gated community in some ways. They’ve never given Google access to the community which was okay because with 800 million users, Facebook didn’t need Google. But now that may be an achilles heel for Facebook. Google search is the starting point for so many things that relate to business. Google search practically is the internet. Just about anything and everything goes through Google search. Now that Google+ brand pages are live, brands have more direct access to Google search and more importantly, SEO.
According to TechCrunch, the biggest brands on Facebook with over 100,000 fans are seeing healthy traffic to their brand pages, but the mid-sized and smaller brands are seeing a smaller CTR rate. For brands and wineries with over 1,000 fans the average CTR of 1 click per 424 fans nets out to .00236 clicks per fan.
The Novelty Has Worn Off
Facebook brand pages seem like a good idea. But 90% of the time fans never go back to a Facebook page after liking it. Crafty landing pages, contests or other gimmicks used to boost a brand’s fan page following don’t replace the core reason the page exists—to have two-way conversation with fans. Upper management from the companies behind the brands tend to focus on the number of fans rather than the quality of the interactions. I believe we’re going to see a pushback from consumers in 2012 where people will start unliking brand pages they aren’t getting anything from.
If a winery or a brand has invested time building up their Facebook page and it doesn’t directly affect Google search outside the FB ecosystem, is the Facebook page still valuable?
In my opinion, not entirely. Now that brands can have their own Google+ brand page I see much more value for brands to invest time into these new pages. Brands can set up their Google+ pages by going here.
Why Google+ Brand Pages Over Facebook Brand Pages?
This article is targeted at brands who don’t have over 100,000 fans on Facebook. Based on the data above, your Facebook page isn’t providing much value anyway. Sure, there are exceptions. If you’re reading this and you think your Facebook brand page is working and fans are engaged, then you are probably doing something right. Google has said they didn’t set out to create a new social network, but rather create a social “layer” to their services. Google+ tools can be found here.
The key benefits for investing time in a Google+ brand page over a Facebook brand page are:
1. Google Direct Connect - now in Google search you can put a “+” in front of a brand name to go directly to their page. See the video here or try typing +Pepsi in Google search. Once your page is live, adding a short bit of code to your site will enable it.
2. The +1 Button - Not much unlike the Facebook “Like” button, but the +1 is 4x more valuable. That simple little button will have a direct impact on SEO going forward. The +1 has infiltrated the internet, and every time it gets clicked it adds more social mojo to search engine optimization.
3. Google’s Other Services - Most wineries have a Google Place page, Google Analytics, YouTube or any combination of offerings from the web giant. They all tie together — not perfectly yet — but soon. Mobile commerce is particularly interesting as Google maps is a key component to most location-based apps. Did you know the #2 search portal in the world is YouTube? Not only is Google search a major factor, but the integrations with YouTube ensure the two biggest search portals in the world are feeding the G+ ecosystem.
4. Google’s Acquisitions - Is Google going to buy Twitter some day? Who knows, but it is possible. We’re only a few months into the existence of Google+ but adoption is growing. This conversation is going to evolve as the site does.
At the end of the day, wineries only have so much time to dedicate to online marketing efforts. I’m not suggesting Facebook pages completely go away, but rather dedicate more time to Google+ brand pages. If we were looking at a pie chart showing how much time to spend on each social site, I’d like to see even sized pie pieces for Twitter, email, G+ and Facebook…for now. The investment of time into G+ will pay dividends from now on or as long as Google search exists.