Much has been written about the business benefits of an engaged presence on Google+. And while most of this discussion has been centered on the undeniable business benefits of connecting the dots with Google in a way that ultimately benefits search, today I’m going to propose an alternate and powerful view you might have overlooked.
I recently wrote a book called The Content Code and for more than a year I dove deeply into the economic drivers of content and social media. Here’s a statistic that made me pause -- 83 percent of CMOs claim that SOCIAL SHARING is the primary benefit of social media marketing.
You mean it’s not clicks, follower, Likes or new followers? It’s not even TRAFFIC for heaven’s sakes?
These CMOs are smart people because they know that consumers who share your content are likely to read and understand what you do before they make a decision to share it. In essence, they are learning how to be your advocate. And 70 percent of your customers are more likely to buy something when they see content about a product or service shared by a friend.
So the foundational bedrock of content marketing is not the content. It is the transmission of the content.
The economics of transmission
When people “like” something, they are only lightly associating with it. But when they share something, it is an intimate and powerful act. They are raising their hand in a virtual way and saying “I believe in this … and you should too.”
Now, here’s the bad news. In general, people DON’T share content. On average, somebody on Twitter only shares one out of every 318 links that they see. Facebook reports that only one-half of a percent of a brand’s followers actively share their content.
Perhaps 2 percent or less of your audience is actually sharing your content. In the book, this is what I call the Alpha Audience – the elite group of sharers who are the bedrock of your business. “Traffic” is not creating your economic value. Social transmission does.
And this is where Google+ stands tall.
A new economic view of Google+
One of the hallmarks of the social media site is the high level of community engagement among its passionate and intelligent audience. In fact according to 2014 data, Google+ is only behind YouTube when it comes to the level of community sharing.
So the economics work like this. Value does not come from content alone. It comes from content that moves, that is transmitted in a way that creates advocates and informed buyers. And when it comes to moving non-video content, Google+ is the king.
In an extremely dense world of information, we must be more resourceful and look for the unsaturated niches that can deliver engagement and social transmission. Google+ may offer an alternative, especially if it is a platform ignored by your competitors.