Google+, Your Business, and Your Blog
It’s been a few weeks since Google+ took over the Web.
Well, it didn’t necessarily take over the Web, but the latest social offering from search giant Google has certainly been at the tip of everyone’s tongue. The new social sharing site or social utility has been touted as the next Facebook or even the Facebook Killer.
Most people haven’t gone so far as to call this the Facebook Killer, but there is some impressive numbers being thrown around like 10 million users and 20 million users in just the first few weeks.
With all the news about Google+ out there I thought I’d share my thoughts on Google+ and how it should (or shouldn’t) affect your social strategy.
What is Google+
It’s hard to know exactly what Google+ is and how it will change over the next few months and likely years. At the most basic level, Google+ is another social utility that allows people to share links with friends, co-workers, and family. A unique, but not unique feature is Circles, which allows people to segment their contacts and share content with only the circles they choose.
Circles is a nice feature, but it’s hardly a new idea. The fact that it’s not a new feature doesn’t get me too hung up though. Google makes it extremely easy to segment your friends. If people are overwhelmed with sharing information with everyone on Facebook they might be interested in the Circle option on Google. Facebook has a group feature, but they don’t really promote the fact that people can segment their connections.
Hangout is another interesting feature. It allows for video chat and even group chat. Hangout is getting some pretty solid reviews. I can see video chat and video conferencing being an interesting add-on feature for businesses already using Google Docs. I can also see families using Hangout to see their relatives, especially grandkids and kids, when they can’t be there in person.
The other feature is Sparks, which I haven’t looked too much into and haven’t read much about. It appears to be some kind of feed.
Google+ and Google +1?
An interesting occurence happened to me when I shared the news about Google+ with a colleague.
The person said, in response to my mention of the new service, “Google plus? That’s the thing where you click the Like button, right?”
This person was confused by the Google+ and Google +1 situation.
It might be obvious to some what each of the new features from Google are, but for most it can be easy to confuse the two. Both are new and still not widely adopted in the general sense. Most people outside the crazy internet lovers segment are still catching up with Google’s latest social features and can’t always distinguish the difference between + and +1.
It’s a potential issue, but people will probably get it after a while.
Google+, Your Business, and Your Blog
Now, if you’ve been putting focus on your owned property like your blog or your website the impact of Google+ will probably small at this point. It’s difficult to say what uses businesses will find from using the Google+ channel. So far it seems like it’s being used mostly as a forum where people discuss various topics and share various links from around the web.
The conversations are interesting.They can be useful. The concept of creating conversations and sharing content is not new, though. In fact, maybe Google+ is just a classic web forum on steroids.
Really, that might be all Google+ is at this point.
The key for your business and your social strategy is to continue focusing on creating your own content. Focus on your company website and your company blog. Focus on creating the best content you can with product descriptions, how-to articles, and in-depth blog posts with lots of unique perspective.
You want to be the focus of your social strategy. You want people to come to you and to get their attention you can use channels like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and even old school forums to share your information. In fact, create content that’s interest enough and your target audience will share your content with their peers on the channels of their choice. Maybe it’s Google+ and maybe it’s not.
Either way – you’re set because you focus on yourself first and new channels like Google+ second.
Don’t yield to Google+ just as you should not be yielding your presence to Facebook.
Focus on yourself first.
Create a social media strategy where the center of all your effort is on your own platform. Create content on your product pages. Create content on your landing pages. Create blog posts rich with useful content for potential customers at the beginning of the sales funnel. Create shorter blog posts where you discuss your interpretation of relevant news.
You can provide real value for your target audience with useful content. You can add value to your business by owning the content yourself. Don’t give it all to Facebook and Google+ or any other site.
Give those sites just a little. Give them enough to gain interest from their followers. Then work hard to convert those visitors into followers and customers as they opt-in to your site and blog.
That’s my take on Google+.