Facebook has been the buzzing social network for several years and it's where all the experts have said you have to be. Through some very creative thinking, Facebook has managed to turn itself into a ubiquitous social network that connects user accounts and interactions across millions of websites around the world.
When Google+ launched in June 2011, many people thought it was going to quickly overtake Facebook as the dominant social network.
That didn't happen.
It didn't even come close to happening. Even 2.5 years later it's still not the dominant social network. Everyday people still haven't fully embraced the everyday usage that's become commonplace on Facebook. In October 2013, Google reported 300 Million active Google+ users, meanwhile Facebook reported 1.19 Million users in its Third Quarter 2013 Results.
There's a lot of speculation as to why it hasn't taken over the web yet like Facebook did a few years earlier. From my point of view, the main reason for the slow adoption is because Google has forced real people to use the network in real ways by not allowed marketing companies to automate posts to Google+ like you can do with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks.
Facebook and Twitter have grown rapidly because marketing experts figured out that you can target your customers by posting a certain number of times at certain times of the day. Then automated systems were created to facilitate that.
In the past 2.5 years a bunch of companies have integrated Google+ automated posting and ways to measure response rates, like Adobe Social and Engagor, but they are way more than what the retail jeweler will need, and their a bit expensive. The less expensive method is to use HootSuite to automate a post to your Google+ Pages. You can also manage the people who Circle you, there's not much you can really do from HootSuite otherwise.
For small business, Google+ simple requires a lot of manual work.
In later November 2013, Facebook changed its system again to limit how many people will see what you post to your Facebook Page. My tracking shows at least a 50% loss in the number of organic views for each post to a jeweler's Facebook Page.
From Facebook's point of view, they'd been offering free advertising to businesses for long enough.
In order to get the same number of people to see your posts, you have to pay to sponsor your posts now. I've carefully watched a few non-jewelry industry experts who still have a lot of people engaging in their Business Page, but they have always used real human to human interaction and posts, rather than a scheduling program.
In a true sense, Facebook's move to limit Fan interaction is a real incentive for you to rethink what you're doing socially. You can spend money paying for sponsored FB posts, or you can engage socially on FB.
On the other hand, you can take all that time engaging on Facebook and instead, apply it to your engagement efforts on Google+.
The positive results you gain from Facebook engagements are fleeting, and have very little, if any, weight in search engine results for Bing or Google. On the other hand, the social posts and engagements on Google+ build in popularity more over time, and they appear very easily in Google SERPs--Call it an unfair advantage if you want to, but I'll call it a smart use of your time.
Google+ is a completely different type of social network. Sharing works differently. People use it differently. Photos are different. Before you start using it you simple have to clear your mind of all your preconceived notions about social networking and start fresh.
Overall, everything I've measured through Google+ has had a positive impact on organic search results and building social engagements.
Simply put, Google+ is good for your jewelry business. This doesn't mean you should give up on Facebook all together; you should still manually post your stuff over there on occasion. But instead of fighting against the forced Facebook changes ,you should rethink your primary social strategy.
To help you better understand Google+, and how a jewelry store should use it, each Monday from now on I'm going to focus my Daily Golden Nugget on something specific to Google+. This will include case studies, examples, how to use features, and what new changes mean to you.
My hope is that 2014 will be the year when jewelers start to think seriously about Google+ and how it will better your business.