Normally, I try to avoid over-hype of the “next new thing”. However, in the case of “Google+”, the hype just might be warranted.
Social media is all about connections, and managing those connections. Google+ seems to efficiently address the issues that many of us have managing our personal and professional social networking on Facebook and Twitter. Google + accomplishes this through something they call “Circles.”
Google+ Circles helps you organize everyone according to your real-life social connections–say, ‘family,’ ‘work friends,’ ‘music buddies,’ and ‘alumni’. Then, you can share relevant content with the right people, and follow content posted by people you find interesting. For example, you might post an announcement about your engagement and show it only to people in your friends and family circles, or maybe you see a post from the circle you created for your book club that there’s a recent article on your favorite author.
Google+Circles works just like your socialization in the real world. When you talk with your friends about the epic party you had last Friday when you were supposed to be at work, you’re not automatically giving that information to your boss. This could have been extremely helpful to a certain congressman from New York recently.
If you initiated a post in the stream, clicking Limited at the top of that post will show you the profile pictures of everyone you shared with. Only the person who started the post can see this information. If you chose to share with your extended circles in addition to other people, clicking Limited will only show that you shared with your extended circles–specific people won’t be identified.
What’s more, Google+ allows you to limit who your post is shared with. If you want those pictures of your buddy at the Halloween party to ONLY go to your select friends, you can
disable re-sharing that post so that those pictures don’t end up on some damaging website.
Then there’s Google+Sparks. From the social media marketing point of view,
it appears that Google has taken the words of Eric Qualman to heart: “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” Google+Sparks may be the marketing tool so many of us have been looking for.
So what does this mean to the world of social media and marketing? It means that right now, deep in the bowels of Facebook and Twitter there are conversations that going
something like this: “How in the (insert colorful expletive here) did Google figure this out before we did and how in the (insert colorful expletive here) are we going to compete so we don’t go the way of Myspace?”
It means that the world of social media isn’t stagnant, but rather it’s continuing to evolve. It also means that small businesses will need to invest the time to get to know
the next new thing. Spend the time to get to know Google+. It may be the next
step in bringing your business to your customers and having a conversation with
them like never before.