I’ve been thinking a lot about Google+ since they launched their business pages last week.

You see, it was announced at the same time that Joe Thornley, Martin Waxman, and I were recording Inside PR. So we all happened to be on the page watching it happen in real-time.

Google+ announced at 1 p.m. CT and, by 1:11 (yes, just 11 minutes later), Toyota already had more than 3,000 followers.

We asked one another the question, “How is that possible?”

While we talked, I began to dig. The Muppets had more than 6,000 followers and Pepsi was nearing 2,000.

Sure, it makes sense that a social network with 41 million users could attract that many followers. But these are brand pages. And they collected their followers in less than 15 minutes.

Slate had something to say on this in their article, “Google+ Is Dead,”

Considering Google’s marketing muscle—it hasn’t been shy about directing Web searchers to Google+, and everyone who’s logged in to a Google account sees the Google+ toolbar at the top of every Google page—it would be a surprise if Google+ didn’t have so many users.

Here is what I think is going on:

  • Google has been working with companies, behind the scenes, to build their brand pages and collect followers through search and employees, so at launch the perception is everyone is flocking to Plus.
  • Google has paid brands (both company and personal) to jump to Plus and bring their networks with them.
  • Google is less concerned about having a social network and more concerned about improving search and giving us, as individuals, customized information.
  • Google is counting “users” as those with Gmail addresses and not necessarily those who have signed up for Plus.

The interesting thing is, after more than a week, Toyota and Pepsi have both stalled in their growth.  The Muppets have nearly 30,000 followers, which isn’t surprising when you can Hangout with Miss Piggy and Kermie.

Google+ isn’t dead, nor is it a Facebook killer.

Google+ is built for search and, the best way to do that, is to invite us into a social network where we post information about ourselves that the behemoth can then use both for good (for marketers) and for evil (for consumers).

They can’t crawl Facebook, but they sure can crawl their own social network.

So now it’s up to you to decide how customized you want your web experience to be and, based on that, what you +1, search, and post online.

Always be cautioned: The web is not Vegas…what happens here does not stay here.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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