A little more than a year after the launch of Google+, usership of Google’s “social layer” remains anemic. Brands, many of which jumped on board in the early days of Google+, have yet to enthusiastically embrace the platform. This is either because of simple platform fatigue, or – and most likely – because Google+ still looks like a ghost town.

But consider the long tail for a moment. There might not be as many users on Google+ as there are on Facebook or Twitter, but Google+ does have users – passionate, creative, enthusiastic users – who might love to follow your brand, if only you were active on their preferred channel.

Now, consider that many Google+ brand pages are mere shells – they exist, but they’re not active. These are brands you might compete with (either directly, or for attention) on other channels, but that just haven’t bought into Google+ yet.

And in that, is opportunity.

The business case for Google+, as it stands today, is not the various sharing options and ways to connect with your audience – those will always be there. The best reason to come on board right now is that your competitors are likely not active in the channel. And as long as brands stay away from Google+, the easier it is to get the attention of its users.

Like many opportunities, this one won’t last forever.

This year, Google has made several moves aimed at increasing adoption. This includes integrating Google+ into a user’s overall search experience (SPYW), converting Google Places listings into Google+ Local pages, and merging Google+ Business pages with Google+ Local pages.

Given this, brands will either come on board whole-heartedly or be left behind. The brass ring will go to the brands that do it sooner, rather than later.