It seems like every week I see a media outlet call Google+ Facebook’s competitor. They speculate on why one is more successful, who will be more successful in five years, and which platform is more popular with teens.
This always grates my nerves.
Sure, each of these social media platforms is competing for users, ad space, and market share in their own way. Yet each of them does fundamentally different things. While Google+ and Facebook are both considered “social media platforms”, they’re not the same. Just like basketball and football are both sports, but are not the same game.
Facebook is a great place to connect with friends and family. Why are most people using Facebook? To catch up on others’ lives. Teens can already do this at school, and have more direct, privatized methods. As such,Â Facebook’s demographics skew older and olderÂ as the years go on. In fact, since teens are fleeing the platform in favor of hipper mediums like Tumblr andÂ Snapchat, in a way Facebook is turning into a competitor of Classmates.com’s instead of Google+.
Google+ is focused much more on search. This makes sense since search is Google’s bread and butter. However, the search capability of Google+ is extremely important to understand when it comes toÂ branding yourselfÂ and your business.Â I’ve heard many professionals state that “Google+ just isn’t for them” because they prefer Facebook. Their friends are already there! Yet G+ offers benefits likeÂ authorshipÂ and publisher, and can favor your published content over another’s as your presence grows through Circles. Perks like this make it a mistake to ignore this platform. If you want to make sure your professional reputation displays all of your accomplishments, Google+ is just as important as LinkedIn.
Ultimately, Facebook is for personal use while Google+ can have significant impact on search for your business as well as your professional reputation. They’re not truly competitors in my eyes. They’re different platforms with different uses for your life. Both have value.