Google+ Re-Invites Brands to the Party — Can You Hear Me Cheering?

The New York Times was one of many news sources reporting today that Google+ is now going to allow corporations to return to the social media network the ones they kicked out earlier when Google+ was first launched.

Can you hear me cheering? No, I didn't think so.

Google+ currently has 40 million users compared to Facebook's 800 million. Brands have flocked to Facebook attracted by the fast-growing and active audience. (More than 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day, according to their fact page.)

As the New York Times article states:
"Relationships with Facebook have proved to be valuable marketing and awareness tools for companies with pages on that social network. Ninety-six of the top 100 brands have Facebook pages. The fast-food purveyor McDonald’s, for example, has over 11 million “likes” and 1.6 million visits to its page. Overall, about 100 million online stories, pictures and other things are “liked” by Facebook users daily."

Google, not surprisingly, would like a piece of that pie. As eMarketer reports:
"US Social Media Network ad revenues are expected to surpass $3.90 billion in 2012 and a large portion of that money is going straight to Facebook. New numbers show that Facebook will likely earn 72% of social media specific ad spending next year.  That’s equal to 7.9% of total online ad spending."

 Google is hoping their new Direct Connect feature taking advantage of Google search will be, if not the Facebook killer, at least the Facebook equalizer. As the Google blog post describes it:
"People search on Google billions of times a day, and very often, they're looking for businesses and brands. Today's launch of Google+ Pages can help people transform their queries into meaningful connections, so we're rolling out two ways to add pages to circles from Google search. The first is by including Google+ pages in search results, and the second is a new feature called Direct Connect. Maybe you're watching a movie trailer, or you just heard that your favorite band is coming to town. In both cases you want to connect with them right now, and Direct Connect makes it easy—even automatic."

So am I ready to create a Google+ business-to-business page? No, not yet. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn keep me busy enough, and we are seeing results with relationships happening and communities being built. Google appears to be focusing first on the consumer market, and is going to have do a much better job of selling me on the advantages of their network for me to support it with scarce resources my time.