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Google+: Is it worth your natural company's time?

Google+: Is it worth your natural company's time?

Admittedly, I'm not a Google+ user.

As the lead coordinator for New Hope Natural Media's social media efforts, maybe I shouldn't be announcing this. But here's why I am.

Google+ is good in theory, and for a while it started to take off. It has the ability to create "circles" to privatize the information you share with only those you want to see it. It has "hangouts" which are fun video chats that take me back to 2007 when the Yahoo! Live video streaming service created mini celebrities simply because they had a webcam. It integrates photos from your Picasa Web albums. Its "stream" (comparable to a Facebook wall) has a far superior user design that's easier to read and comment on.

But in order for a social network to flourish, the community must flock to it and consistently use it. And I'm just not seeing that happening with Google+, especially not in the natural space.

I mean, someone actually created a website that answers the question: "Is Google+ dead?" (Go ahead and click; I'll wait.) Back? See, if there's no community buy-in, then there's no social network.

But alas, if your brand can't be found in a Google search then you don't exist. And if a majority of your customers actually are using Google+, then it's wise to start a presence there. But first, poll them on Facebook and Twitter to find out if dedicating your resources to another social network is worth your time. Also, run a search on Google+ for your brand or natural store's name. If there's a lot of discussion there, it may be time to hop on the bandwagon.

Natural brands on Google+

I applaud the natural pioneers (such as Sambazon, Stonyfield and Guayaki Yerba Mate) who have jumped on Google+. But it appears many have simply reserved their space so that no one steals their virtual identity (a good practice). The inactivity of many of these brands simply confirms my suspicion: Their customers aren't flocking to Google+, so why invest the time there when you could have a much more robust audience on, say, Facebook?

Here are two brands that have used/are using Google+ to a greater extent:

Is your natural brand using Google+? Tell me if you think it's worthwhile in the comments.

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