I have a confession. As a social media enthusiast, I should have been biting at the chomp for my Google+ invite. Like many, I was not. But finally, a friend passed along an invite and I took a look inside. Kicked the tires and still wasn’t that impressed. Then I attended a local Social Media Breakfast in Appleton, WI, which featured an open group discussion on Google+, where it’s going, and why it’s important to me, and will be, to the small and medium-sized businesses that I work with. Very helpful stuff!
Google+ actually offers something new. Before our breakfast meeting, I considered it merely a rip-off of Facebook, just invented to pull market share. Now, I see that it is a bit different with a different goal. In actuality, I think it may steal more market share from LinkedIn, than Facebook. You’ll see why in the examples below.
The more I use Google Plus, the more I understand how important it will become. Trust me.
So what’s new and unique about Google+?
It offers the ability to control who you are speaking with and allow separate conversations between different sets of friend and business ‘circles’. Businesses professionals will be able to connect with their various customers, leads, vendors and resources separately, but on one closely connected platform. As the sales and business cycle progresses, joining various groups for collaboration will be seemless -just create a new circle.
The magic of Google+ is that it allows you much closer interactions. It opens the doors to people that you may not know, but would like to. For instance, I can follow Chris Brogan and really have a conversation with him. It doesn’t feel the same on Facebook or Twitter. It just doesn’t. So who is Chris Brogan, you ask? He’s my ‘Go-To’ guy (although, I doubt he knows it) for social media advice and online breaking news. Check out his helpful tutorial, “Start Now On Google Plus”. Let me know if you need an invite –I have extra ones!
What’s next on Google+?
If you’ve gone to Chris’ link, you’ve learned some easy ways to connect with people already on Google+. “Friendsurf” a little. What fun.
Then add some more to your profile, add some posts, maybe link to your website, blog and add some photos. Read some interesting posts by others; share them. It has a déjà-vu characteristic to it, but it still feels different and new. Then, as Chris says, check out the comment sections. It’s sort of like Twitter and Facebook combined, pulling from the best of both worlds.
Google+ Rollout Strategy
Has anyone thought of the Google+ strategy behind the rollout? There have been MANY negative comments around this. I’d just like to offer what I hope is perhaps a different viewpoint. I think it may be genius! By limiting the amount of users, and reserving it for the early-adapter, social media techies, Google+’s first phase used a strategy designed to “get the kinks out”. The second phase of their rollout strategy seems to be “by invitation only” which will encourage the early-adapters to support and teach this new stream of users. Since Google and all of their products do not supply ‘live’ help and very little online feedback, this second phase strategy is probably a good idea. Maybe even key to it’s survival.
Why Wait Anymore?
Where the tires hit the road will be in the third phase, which I suspect will be a more open rollout to the public. Soon Google+ will attract ‘niche’ communities, just like other social networks have in their start-up phases. Celebrities have already begun to spring up and other opinion leaders (besides those working in social media) will follow. Just as a tee-hee, I noticed that there is still not a ‘politician’ group on Group As, so it’s still relatively unspoiled.
What lays ahead for Google+?
Will Google+ garner enough enthusiastic support for long-time Facebookers to give up their personal pages, established friend connections, photos, etc.? Or will it perhaps find its own value, apart from Facebook? Will the ‘Walmart-like’ strategy, one of total market dominance, ultimately persuade users to move to Google+? After all, they currently own google.com, youtube.com, blogger.com, and gmail.com. Four of the top trafficked sites of the world. As they become ready to tackle the next phase of growth for Google+, are they likely to up-the-ante on those not using Google+? Could they introduce a scoring system similar to Klout to give advantage to their early-adapters and top-users? Could they lower the SEO of sites not embracing Google+? The possibilities are endless and pretty much theirs to choose. Time will tell. What do you think?
This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, usually a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.
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