How useful is Google+ for a small online business?

I have a Google+ account. Apparently everyone with a Google account has one. I never use mine and was curious to find out if anyone had ever used theirs to the benefit of their business. And so, I set out on a quest to find someone who could show they’d benefited from it, and explain how. I saddled up my Internet pony and trotted off to my usual haunts (some of them are behind paywalls) to see what people would say about it. I was asking a simple question.

Have you used G+ to benefit your online business?

The positive answers I got back were all from SEO or social media people who spoke highly of how G+ was helping their businesses. Others who were not in that niche were less keen. One person said they’d tried several times to use it but found it to be a soulless experience. Another said they’d tried but now thought it was a complete waste of time. Perhaps I was asking the wrong question. I tried again.

Is G+ useful for any small business whose core business isn’t SEO or social media consulting?

No takers for that one either.

However, I did gather a range of opinions which I’ll summarise here.

– Most ordinary people don’t use it. They don’t want to hang out on countless different places. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Facebook and Twitter clones. People don’t want to be on all of them. They like to gather at the same watering hole where everyone else is.

– Figures for G+ may be skewed because many people who are ‘using’ it don’t actually know they’re using it. If you have a Gmail or YouTube account, then you’ve also now got a G+ account whether you know it or not. It would be interesting to find out figures about how many people really do use it each day.

– Some people’s interest in G+ was initially as an alternative to Facebook, because of privacy concerns they had about FB. (It’s probably wise to still be concerned about that.) But social networking where no one else hangs out is boring. It’s like being the only person you know with a phone.

So, based on my small sample of those who responded to my questions, it doesn’t seem to be very popular with those who are not in SEO or social media. But is it really a waste of time? The first people to jump on the G+ bandwagon were SEO-type people. Which raises the question of early adopters.

Is it just that many people haven’t cottoned on to G+’s benefits yet?

I found a blog posting which has some interesting ideas and tips about G+. But it’s an SEO business, so they would be in favour of using G+, wouldn’t they? I simply can’t find any business who is not in SEO or social media who has anything to say about the benefits of using it.

Let’s look more closely at the article I linked to above. They conclude their piece by saying that early adopters win the day and people are still catching on, so if you get into it now you can be a sort of early (late) adopter.

I’ve yet to be convinced by the benefits. What I really want to see is a small business owner (not SEO or social media) tell me how it’s benefited their business, and give examples of how it worked for them. Until then, I remain somewhat sceptical about all this.

Do you use G+ for your online business? What benefits, if any, did it bring? If you have any comments or insights to add to this, please post below.


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