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Google+ vs. Facebook – Local Businesses Need To Get Clear on the Difference

Google+ has quickly grown since its roll-out by Google in 2011. However, it doesn’t appear to be picking up the popularity that Facebook did rather quickly after opening to the public in 2006. Within a short period of time, Facebook had millions of users, with more than 800 million today. Analysts predict that Facebook will break the 1 billion mark in users within the next few months, and its gaining popularity around the globe, including in countries such as India and Brazil where Google’s Orkut has been the top social networking site to date. Thus, it appears that Facebook will be asking Google to step aside in several countries around the world.

However, Google+ definitely shouldn’t be written off by any means. But, it’s important to understand why Google+ is valuable to a  local business, and for the most part, it’s because it’s owned by powerhouse Google; not so much because it’s a social network. Google has been the number one search engine for quite some time, and shows no signs of stepping aside for competitors. Because Google rocks at providing several useful tools to help local businesses market, track and grow their business, it’s wise for local businesses to take part and use these tools as they can all be integrated and work together; which means when you have a Google+ account, you have access to several Google tools that work directly with Google+, including Google Analytics, Google Ripples, Google+ Search, and more.

What does this all mean for a local business owner who’s utilizing Google and Facebook?

It means they need to clearly understand how each can have the most impact on their local business so they’re utilizing each effectively. If someone is putting in a lot of effort to gain more followers on Google+, or getting their Facebook followers to convert or join Google+, for example, then they might be wasting their time.


Because people (which translates to consumers for the local business owner) love Facebook, and the majority of them simply don’t want to take the time to learn and understand another social network. Why should they? They have Facebook, which is straightforward and easy to use and gives them the ability to connect with individuals and businesses around the world in an already accessible network.

So if your goal is to market and promote your business via social networking to get out in front of as many people as possible, then Facebook is probably the place you want to invest resources. With Facebook, you can tailor ads, your communications, etc. to focus on your target market, and Facebook gives you a great opportunity to market locally to a global audience.

On the flipside, if your goal is to boost search engine rankings to gain exposure and get found online, then Google+ and Google are where you want to be. Though Facebook can indeed help you boost search engine rankings when optimized correctly, Google+ gives you the power of Google and Google tools, such as Google Authorship, that can do wonders when someone is looking for you or your type of business in the search engines.

In summary, I recommend both Facebook and Google+ for local businesses to gain exposure, market and grow their businesses, but I also recommend they become familiar with each so they clearly understand how each impacts a local business so they can properly invest resources for each without wasting time and money.

Written By

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses about their marketing efforts, Marentis provides insight on what it takes for small businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s evolving digital environment. His notable career includes creating the foundational blueprints for online marketing, e-commerce and content branding for AOL's Interactive Marketing group, where he served as Senior Vice President. While CEO of Clearspring Technologies, Marentis developed one of the most widely adopted venture-backed Web 2.0 technology platforms. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.



  1. Anderson Dias

    February 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Great tips, thanks!

  2. Joey

    February 4, 2012 at 4:25 am

    I agree with you, to gain profit for business one should understand both the platforms clearly. Both the sites have unique features and that is the reason why both are popular. But I think, Facebook is more dominating than Google+. I agree with you, Google+ did not get much popularity as Facebook received after its launch. But one should also think about getting various Google tools which are much beneficial for a business growth. Google Analytics is the most vital tool for any business. So I think business owners should try to get out of Facebook addiction and think of Google+ also, it would prove more profitable for their business.

  3. Nicolas Cailot

    February 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I agree with you and I think that google plus is a bit complicated. You need time to understand it which we can get only if we take some time off FB, but who wants to do that. I think FB should be the primary medium of growth for local businesses.

  4. Dan

    February 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I agree with you that both are important. Presently, Facebook is probably a better bet for engagement and traffic back to your site but I do believe the Google plus will increase their relevance quickly especially if they factor in google plus information into their search results. When this happens, I think Google plus will be more important for business owners and webmasters to focus on.

  5. Tracyann0312

    February 6, 2012 at 4:41 am

    I agree that both of them is important. But, we also know that there are differences between the two. We must need to get clear all of it to know what can be the best to get in the two social media. For me, I think that Facebook is more important because a lot of people benefited from the networking site!

  6. Nicholas

    February 6, 2012 at 5:16 am

    I think that diverting business owners from FB to Google+ is very difficult as everyone has taken FB to a different level. But if viewed from business point of view I think businesses will benefit from Google+ more. Business owners will have to see the business features which Google provides. There is no harm in using FB but I think they should not just stick with one. It is always better to make most from all the available resources.

  7. Margurite

    February 6, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Google does not have too much power. They know what they are doing and are very profitable at it. There are many other search engines out there that people use like Bing and Yahoo these days.

  8. Amanda

    February 6, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I’m sure that Google+ won’t have the same popularity as Facebook has, but I agree with you that people should decide by themselves what goals they have and then decide what social network is better for achieving them

  9. Groshan Fabiola

    February 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

    It is always better to be on both the social networking sites, it will only add to the profit for local business owners. This way they will be able to get more exposure which is essential for the local businesses. But I agree with you that Google+ has more business related tools which one can use to grow their business. Business owners should focus more on Google Analytics, Google Ripples, Google+ search engine, etc Google+ tools which are much needed tools for getting success in business.

  10. chanikacha

    February 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

    As an internet expert I do agree that this two social media are the best to drive more traffic. In my own opinion I spend my time marketing on Facebook that google plus. The benefits on having this two on the internet is that you can drive more traffic on your website.

  11. James Harrison

    February 7, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Taking advantage from both FB and Google+ the top popular social networking sites is always better than getting engaged with just one. This will help in getting more targeted traffic for the business. Business owners should think of making most from both the sites. But I think they should be engaged in Google+ more than FB as it has much business tools which you have mentioned. These tools will help them in getting much exposure in the market.

  12. Danny

    February 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

    What I liked most about this post about Google+ and fb is the great explanation why Google+ is not gaining popularity like Facebook did. Not because it is less good or too complicated.

    I think a lot of marketeers ignore Google+ because they believe it’s not catching on. But that makes it more interesting for others such as yourself to pay attention and put some work into google+ as well as facebook. The competition is less fierce and you know Google has a long breath (ie deep pockets).

  13. rene

    February 9, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Hmmmmm. I’m going to have to say I’m probably leaning towards facebook over google+. As much as I love Google and use it for absolutely everything, I’ve seen some amazing marketing strategies on Facebook that can be done so easily, and are accesible to everyone (because everyone uses facebook)
    I must confess though that I haven’t really spent enough time working out google+. It’s really a sit down, take some time and study me tool. But saying that I can definitely see it being very handy in the future.

  14. Mike

    February 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Although the learning curve for Google Plus is a bit high, as a IT Security Specialist, Google+ is far more robust and secure…..once the public catches on, G+ will explode! potentially making Facebook seem old & childish like it did to Myspace. If folks would pay attention Facebook actually has you (the user) to do all the work, then sell you information!….It specifically does nothing for you, were as Google will integrate with anything & Android….not to mention its search engine that can be tweaked to crawl the web for sites, businesses and opportunities especially for you….no doubt Face Book is going no were soon….but they had better peak over their shoulder…. theirs a new kid on the block who’s younger and more hip….peace….

  15. Ryan Hawan

    February 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

    As an IT professional Google + has an edge over Facebook security wise. As part of the very establish google network, G+ has more benefits for business owners and website owners. Currently G+ must address challenges in marketing there service to the young users to be able to catch up with FB. With a little improvement to make the interface a lot more user friendly no doubt G+ with conquer the market that FB used to have. Get more of IT networking news.

  16. stella

    February 27, 2012 at 8:08 am

    google plus is complicated and need time to understand other wise facebook is easy way to continue a small business so we should go through the complicated ways to enhance our business

  17. Jason

    February 29, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I think for small business’ looking to promote there brand via social media having Google+ is a good idea. Despite there being far less users, the majority are on there for a reason and not just to follow the ‘craze’ like what is happening on Facebook and Twitter.

  18. Emily

    March 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    We try very hard to stay on top of the latest social media trends, Google + was a bit confusing at first, but our law firm understands how important it is to our business! We post just as much on our Google + page as our Facebook page and our twitter account. We just wish more people were on Google + so we can connect with them!

  19. Dipendra

    March 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    As Far as I believe, Google + will have very high impact on search Engines. Since google owns the network, it might use Google + to boost rankings. No doubt Facebook and other social sites has its impact on Yahoo and Bing search but I have not experienced effects of Facebook shares in Google search. May be Google is planning to relate search with its social network.

  20. Grey

    March 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    For me, social blogging and searching for a great satisfaction won’t not attain successfully without this Google +, because it has a huge part for making things possible…

  21. Beatriz

    March 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Nothing impossible when it comes to Google +, it stands an effective engine for the productive business result….

  22. Bishwajeet

    March 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Facebook is best for SMEs as the ROI is best,so you don’t need to worry about Google Plus yet,as most of the users are inactive

  23. Nicole

    March 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Nothing I can wish for when it come with Gorovides a Google +, because it pe help to all of us… Business become more productive using this kind…

  24. spinx

    March 30, 2012 at 5:43 am

    If we compare Google+ with Facebook for business promoting the Facebook is better choice because it includes lots of users and also includes many attractive facilities for internet marketing. I support your selection as Facebook.

  25. Rita Dawson

    May 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Google + or Facebook. I just love both. And for sure both are effective ways in marketing your local business.

  26. Easin

    August 5, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Facebook truly is the top networking site. It would have been good if Asian and African countries were also included in the survey. The social media has taken the world by storm and now its not possible to think of communicating without these sites.

  27. Douglas

    November 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    The main thing is Google plus is popular among webmasters, internet marketers etc. but Facebook is popular all over the web so it is really very important for business promotion too compared to Google+.

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