Hi! Lauren Kaye, here, with this week’s Content and Coffee with Brafton. There are some things you do because you get instant gratification, but there are other things you do because you’re supposed to and you hope they’ll pay off in the long run. It seems to me that Google+ marketing falls into the second category. Click play to watch the full video, or read the text version below.

We all know Google+ is good, but you can’t quite put your finger on the reason why. Official counts give the network around 359 million members, which beats out Twitter, but then you have the age-old question: Are those users actually active? How many people use the site to communicate and share content, and how many are ghost users – people who setup profiles through Gmail, but never really use the network?

A Shareaholic report found Google+ drives the least referral traffic of any social platform. Between September 2012 and September 2013, Google+ provided studied companies with around 0.6 percent of all visits. And that was an improvement from the year before. The amount of visits coming from the site increased nearly 7 percent between 2012 and 2013.

Compare this with Facebook, which averaged over 8 percent during the reporting period.

So what’s the deal with Google+? Why do marketers feel like they need to share content on the site and participate in communities? Why is it so important to earn +1s and get in people’s circles? It depends on who you ask. Some think Google might someday consider these social signals in search rankings, and studies have found content is crawled sooner and more often when it’s shared on the network, which provides obvious SEO benefits.

You also can’t overlook the obvious advantage of marketing on any social network. Each site attracts a unique audience and sharing your brand content on the channel ensures your messages will stay in front of the right eyes, generating new leads and driving conversions. So for now, keep sharing. But make sure you’re spending the most time on the networks that make sense for your company because they’re providing results.

Catch you next week, and happy content marketing!

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.