Monthly Archives: August 2012

Google Isn’t Worried

The success of Google+ will be one part Google genius and one part competitor shortcomings. 

FACEBOOK – The One Trick Pony 

Facebook is the most pervasive social network to date because it changed how we connect with each other in a way we never could have imagined.  I look at my Facebook Page and it’s like a time capsule of my life and relationships.

Unfortunately, Facebook does not give us much control over the content we consume.  The famous Facebook algorithm determines what posts are interesting to us.  Then there are a few simplistic ways to tailor our feed.  We can select people as “Close Friends” or decide on a friend-by-friend basis whether we want to view all, some, or just important posts.

Facebook hasn’t realized that we’re not always in the mood to read the same types of things.  Personally, I like to read news and tech articles in the morning.  By the afternoon, I’m in more of a Bravo TV and People magazine sort of mood – with a sprinkling of friends and family throughout the day.  The bottom line is that I love to research new social media trends, but not at the same time that I’m stewing over how stupid the Kardashians are.

Our Facebook news feed preferences are pretty static.  Facebook figures if you like to read the news in the morning, then you better like reading it in the afternoon too.

Google+ Circles gain an edge in this arena.  They let you filter your feed so whether you’re in the mood for Social Media, Technology, or trashy celeb gossip, you can switch from one to the other fit your mood.

TWITTER: A Disorganized Mess of Incredible Information

Twitter fanatics will crucify me for saying this… but Twitter is a mess.   It suffers from severe disorganization and Google+ is capitalizing on it.  Half my Twitter feed is filled with people’s comments to each other.  They’re out of context unless I click on the post to explore further and let’s face it… 9 times out of 10 I just don’t care.  I don’t want to see people’s comments unless it’s organized as a thread under a post that I find particularly interesting.

Twitter is one big guessing game (which to me, can often be a timewaster).  There are no thumbnails or article descriptions.  I can’t see photos unless I click on the link and my only clue as to whether I’ll like an article is the 140 character hook posted with it.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do find a lot of interesting stuff on Twitter, but sometimes I have to wade through a fair share of garbage to find it.

Google+ understands that we are visual people.  I want to see an image and an article blurb before clicking on a post.  I want the comments and responses to be organized in a thread below so I know if I’m adding to the conversation or just repeating something that’s already been posted.

The great thing about Twitter is that it’s so public.  The awful thing about Twitter is that it’s so public.  Twitter is an amazing resource because you can follow so many different people with so many different interests without having to be friends.  This makes for an amazing resource, but it also might limit what you want to share.

A few months ago I found myself interviewing for a new job.  I had to fight the urge to retweet Howard Stern or reply to anything that could appear unprofessional to a potential employer.  With Google+ Circles I can post publicly the topics that I want to discuss with the world and more privately on ones that are just guilty pleasures.

Google Genius

While Google+ Circles are the answer to most of Facebook and Twitter’s shortcomings, Google’s genius makes G+ a force to be reckoned with.  G+ offers the most control along with the most intuitiveness of any network available.  Plus, Google is standing behind its commitment to integrate the tools so they can all be accessed in one place.

Google+ is becoming more and more integrated with Gmail.  Whenever you receive a G+ notification, you can intiate hangouts from chats and comment and +1 posts from your email.

Google Local is now officially a G+ feature so while you’re sharing funny cat videos with your friends, you can easily look up reviews for local pet stores.

If you own an Android phone, you can allow your photos to be automatically uploaded to the site (a huge timesaver) and then edit them right in Google+.  Hangouts are better than Skype because you can involve multiple people and share your screen all while wearing a pirate hat and… it’s all free.

Events are far more organized and easier follow with than a Twitter.  Plus they can support tons of photos.  Just check out this transcript from a weekly #GardenChat on Twitter and try to make sense of it.  Then compare it to a Google+ fruit tasting event at Andy’s Orchard.

It’s only fair to compare G+ to its social network competitors.  But while G+ has improved upon a lot of it’s competition’s shortcomings, it’s important to see that Google comes to the table with a lot of innovation that the other networks had never considered or attempted.  Say what you will about the Google+ following, their organic growth will continue to build and integrate into the tools we already use every day.  It won’t happen overnight, but it’s bound to come. 

Afterall, it’s Google.  What’s the rush?

This blog is part of a week long Google+ series.  To read more about G+, choose any of the blogs below:

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FINALLY! Google+ Strategies for Businesses

This is the blog businesses have been waiting for!  I am going to tell you exactly what strategies you should use on Google+.

Remember when businesses first started joing Facebook?  No one knew quite what they were doing so they mostly just spammed fans with promotional posts.  So it’s no surprise that barely a year after the launch of Google+, businesses still aren’t clear on how to use it.

Where does Google+ fit into your social media marketing strategy?  Think of it this way.   Your website is the professional face of your company.  It hosts a lot of information, but it’s not particularly interactive.  Your Facebook Page waters down that information into conversational posts.  Twitter takes engagement to a different level as an real time customer support tool.  Each network should build itself around a different angle or facet of your business to build familiarity and excitement around your brand.  Let Google+ take your audience behind the scenes of it all.

Give your viewers an exclusive G+ experience that they cannot get from your other social profiles.  If Facebook represents your brand’s image, then let Google+ reveal the company and culture behind it.

So how do you break down the fourth wall (so to speak)?  Let’s take a look at some strategies by industry.

  • Fashion: Fashionistas would die for the chance to join a Google+ Hangout with Christian Louboutin and ask him directly about his inspiration! Fashion fans are hungry for insider information about their favorite designers and upcoming trends.  Reveal exclusive images of patterns or fabrics being considered for upcoming lines and get their feedback.  Give sneak peaks of what’s coming and they’ll pledge their loyalty to your G+ Page.
  • Retail: Retailers have some of the most loyal fans!  Share photos of your engineers or design team working on upcoming products.  Share sketches and mock ups and bring viewers in on the process of how it travels from concept to completion – all while building enthusiasm for upcoming products.
  • Food and Dining:  What does it look like in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night?  Foodies would love to see videos of their favorite restaurant’s head chef creating that night’s special.
  • Art: Museums should regularly feature Curator Hangouts, where art lovers can ask questions about current exhibits and the specific artists or pieces on display.   I would love if galleries gave a behind the scenes look at where artwork is stored when not on display or posted video of a gallery going from blank walls to a newly launched exhibit in fast motion.  Give first looks at newly acquired artwork before it even goes on the walls!
  • Tech Companies:  Set up G+ Events for new product launches and let your fans share the first photos and reactions in one place in real time to amplify their excitement!

These strategies are just a start so use them as a launching pad.  Google+ is still considered somewhat of an underground social network.  It’s the perfect place to make your fans feel like “insiders” with rare glimpses into your business that they won’t find anywhere else.

I know I only covered a handful of industries, so feel free to submit others in the Comments below or on my Google+ Page and I’d be happy to offer some strategies for those as well.  What ideas would you suggest for Google+ business pages?

This blog is part of a week long Google+ series.  To read more about G+, choose any of the blogs below:

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