Forget Facebook: Google+ and Twitter are the social networks of 2013, says social media mogul Jon Morter
The integration and effect Google+ has on SEO will make it the social network of 2013, according to the social media expert behind the Rage Against The Machine and Hillsborough Justice Collective Christmas chart campaigns, Jon Morter. Morter's first campaign ran as "a bit of a joke" in 2008 when he tried to push a Rick Astley number to the top of the Christmas charts in protest at the X-Factor hold over the traditionally high profile spot. It didn't work, but surprised at the rapid growth of his Facebook page and with some more focus and effort the next year, Morter achieved the unthinkable when his social media campaign brought the UK's most unusual Christmas number one to the airwaves, outselling X-Factor winner Joe McElderry's effort by 52,000 copies. Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name sold over 500,000 copies, resulting in the American rock metal group staging a free concert in London's Finsbury Park six months later and donating the proceeds of the sale of the single to homeless charity Shelter. Morter recently backed the chart effort to get Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead to number one after the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. After the success of the Rage Against The Machine campaign, Morter was recruited to a number of others, including Save BBC 6 Music, and campaigns to mark music milestones for the Sex Pistols, Nirvana and the Rolling Stones. He has also worked with brands IKEA, Sony Ericsson and Universal Records on social media strategy. While Morter's campaigns began on Twitter, changes in the social networks have altered his approach, with Facebook sidelined in favour of Twitter and the rising Google+. "It's only going to get bigger," Morter says. "It was a slow start but I genuinely think Google+ is going to be one of the big players. It's so integrated with Google itself now and with their tie-in to YouTube it will get bigger. Unofficially, I believe the Google +1 button really does help your search engine optimisation on Google, I've got no doubts about that whatsoever, so for that side of things I think it's a vital tool." Google announced in December last year that the number of active monthly users on the site had increased to 135 million. The network integrates with other Google products, such as search, gmail, calendar and drive, and all new gmail accounts are Google+ enabled. Morter's Rage Against The Machine campaign was conducted mainly through a Facebook group but when he was recruited to take over the online side of the Hillsborough Justice Collective - a celebrity single and tribute to the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough football disaster in 1989 - attempt to secure the Christmas number one last year, his attention shifted to Twitter. "In 2009 it was purely Facbook-focused," he explains. "I did do some tweets which I asked people to retweet but there wasn't a dedicated Twitter account. It was really part of the plan because in those days the bulk of the people weren't there. They are now. For the Hillsborough campaign I did the opposite from the 2009 and focused solely on Twitter. "To get something going on Facebook now is a lot harder and I genuinely think Twitter had a massive part to play in that being number one." Morter says that changes to Facebook have made it a better marketing tool for those with a budget, but "organic" campaigns around a fifth of those who 'like' a page are ever likely to see content from it, limiting its wider uses. While there is much chatter around other emerging networks, Morter remains to be convinced of their long-term prospects. "Pinterest had a big influx of signups but for me personally the jury's still out on Pinterest, and Instagram. It's something to have if you've already got the other ones and you want to spread your message that little bit further, but as long as you've got Facebook, Twitter especially, and I think by next year Google+, I don't think the other ones are going to have much to build distance." Google+ offers a number of features expected to push it further ahead in popularity, including the recently launched Communities groups, in which interest groups can be created to share and discuss content to interested users, while its Google Hangouts feature allows free video conferencing for up to 10 people - something Skype charges for - and enables live streaming of conferences for others to view.