I've been known to ask people who engage in social media if they are a Facebook person or a Twitter person. I do this mainly because I have found that people usually gravitate to one or the other; geared internally to the posting model or the conversation model. So far, from my perspective, Google+ seems to be a good balance between the posting/sharing nature of Facebook and the conversational nature of Twitter, mixed with a grand ability to seamlessly include video chat and transparent follower segmenting.
The buzz has been widespread to say the least. And, once Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) opened the doors a little wider, the interested parties streamed in: 10 million of them in two weeks. Yeah, it's mostly the geeks, but it's also the marketers. As champions of our brands, we must always be first into the fray, evaluating the novel and the niche. But what about everyone else? Why, with so much focus on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, would so many have so much more bandwidth to spend on a new player on the scene?
Are You Ready for G+?
Well, for one… It's Google, baby. Who knows the Web and those who use it better than the boys and girls of Mountain View? And with so much knowledge, why wouldn't one think they could put out the perfect social product? And, I mean… it's GOOGLE. It's a household name. People feel more comfortable signing up with Google than with some new no-name. Gone are the days when Gmail was just something the techies used.
And two, we just aren't quite satisfied. It wasn't just curiosity that drove those millions of registrations. What Facebook lacks, Twitter has, and vice-versa. But there has got to be some way to have everything I need in one site, right?
To the majority, this social media thing is still somewhat new. It is easy to get entrenched in believing that these sites will make or break the social revolution. But MySpace taught us that there will be an evolution and probably numerous shakeouts that leave multiple sites in the wake of others. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) leaked its new site, "Tulalip," on Wednesday. You can still hit the main-page-to-be at Socl.com to see the nice excusatory message they replaced the home page with:
Oops! Didn't Mean to Click Send!
And it's not just Microsoft. I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but I've seen social sites popping up everywhere I look: niche sites like untappd.com (for beer connoisseurs) and eons.com (for baby-boomers). So perhaps we are all going about this wrong in thinking there will be "one site to rule them all." The future may just be one site for every niche.
But Google is a game-changer. It has what other sites don't. Here are just a few things I see that make Google+ a solid draw:
- Familiarity. Maybe just because it is Google, those dissatisfied with Facebook security settings and the site's unwillingness to listen to the desires of its users will find happiness at the site they use so many times a day.
- Utility. It's shown to be an encompassing tool thus far. Chatting, blogging, email, SMS, video chat… It's all there. Google has taken what looks like the best of what exists and built a single platform to house it all.
- Simplicity. Bite my tongue, right? But it is fairly easy, especially the selective transparency with which Google allows you to broadcast to audiences. "Circles" allows you to use Google+ for both business and personal stuff, separated by the click of a button. No more "I don't like to mix my personal Facebook stuff with work" or "I have another Twitter account I use for that." There is no longer a need. Simply choose what you want to share and specify the Circle you want to share it with. I realize you can do this to some extent with Facebook, but it's usually at the contact level instead of the post level.
As marketers in this realm, we need to remain broad and flexible in our focus regarding our strategy for social. Mark my words: Google+ isn't the last major player we'll see step in like this. And it is imperative that we monitor our brands online, even as the landscape grows and new opportunities emerge, allowing people to let their voices be heard in new ways.
Have you used Google+? What are your thoughts? Haven't used it but already have something to say? This is the place to do it. Your comments are welcome.