Google+ still searching for relevance

The five emerging social media trends for 2014 indicate this could be a key year for Google+ to garner mainstream attention. As someone who works in social media marketing on a daily basis, I’m skeptical. But first, the facts:

In March, a study by eMarketer found that Google+ has the second-highest number of account holders, behind Facebook.


But simply having an account doesn’t mean users are actively using the social networking site. In October, Google reported a 58 percent jump in users, with 300 million monthly active users, up from 190 million in May.

Frederic Gonzalo, a fellow skeptic, writes: “An active user is considered someone who accessed its account during the past month. Knowing how Google has integrated its Youtube, Gmail and other accounts under a single password and platform that includes Google+, allow me to be doubtful about the true level of ‘activity’ users are having.” I agree – Google+ is likely padding its popularity thanks to its connections with actually popular sites.

In its 2013 State of Social Media Report, Pew Research doesn’t include Google+ among the social network use it examines. Instead, Pew focuses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

I promote our news content on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I see the most success on Facebook, where we get the majority of our referral traffic. We have more than 29,000 fans. On Twitter, we see moderate success, with our more than 4,000 followers. But on Google+, we see almost no engagement and no referrals, partially because we only have 248 “likes.”

Maybe this will be the year for 2014, which means I need to figure out how to make sure my company stays relevant on the network. But how do you go about building a following on a network it doesn’t seem like many people use? Does anybody have suggestions on how to build a Google+ following?