August 8, 2011
Jon Friedman of MarketWatch recently commented on the newest social media craze Google+ and how easy obsession with the site is why “Google+ scares me.” Real fear might be warranted for those who fail to use the platform as the unique new tool it is.
Google+ takes some of the key elements of Facebook and Twitter and makes the experience less cluttered, said Friedman. To start, users can categorize their contacts by ‘Circles’ so that every update they make doesn’t go to every person. Google+ also sports a unique feature called ‘Hangout’, allowing users to have a conversation with up to 10 people at the same time, a potentially useful tool for meetings across great distances. With over 25 million users gained in a month, some wonder if Facebook should be more concerned about their new competitor’s growth rate, despite remaining top dog with upwards of 750 million users.
Google+ is also elitist, only allowing users if they are invited by existing users, though that could soon change. The lack of games like Farmville is a nice feature, since much of Facebook has been bombarded with online games that are not useful for businesses or most fan pages. Of course, makers of online games are poised to launch Google + games within weeks, says VentureBeat, maybe even days. Google + takes after Twitter in its otherwise simplicity, focused on status updates but without the restriction of 140 characters.
What might have seemed like a novelty on Google’s part is clearly here to stay and could win out its competition.
The problem for businesses doesn’t come from not being involved in social media this time, but in how they choose to engage in the over-saturation of social media sites. Google+ could be an unprecedented resource for businesses and business professionals, but as Chris Brogan noted in an article about “Social Media Fatigue” most people are tired of the process of signing up and ‘friending’ their contacts all over again to make the experience worthwhile.
Many marketers have said that simple cross-posting is enough to utilize Facebook and Twitter effectively. Simply write a blog entry and then post the link to all of your followers and fans. But thinking of Google+ as just another carbon copy of that process would be a waste of the new approach to social media that Google is trying to give us. Brogan urges users of Google+ to use the site as a chance to do something different and start conversations for different reasons.
“The thing is this: we’re using these tools to enable new connections. We’re using them to make different kinds of business happen. We’re using these tools to help causes that matter, and so much more.”
So for dealers and automotive professionals already involved with or looking to get invited to Google+, keep in mind that this is not the same old social media site. Do something different this time around and find new innovations to make your brand stand out.