Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently or are so immured in Facebook that any other social media news is automatically blocked for your own protection, you’ll have noticed that Google+ is now with us. Google+ is Google’s third – and some would argue first – serious foray into the world of social media, but what do marketers need to know about it?
Here, Giles Luckett, senior digital strategist at full service agency balloon dog gives us his five things that marketers need to know.
1. Functionally, it’s brilliant! Even at this test stage it’s looking great; Circles - the way you organise your chums and colleagues is powerful and has serious business implications, Sparks allows the lazy surfer (i.e. most of us) to have their content delivered to their door, Hangout is a boon to the online socialite and for those looking for somewhere to work, rest and play, Plus is integrated with Google Docs, Reader etc, etc!
2. It’s got its work cut out: Even though it has already acquired nigh on 20million accounts – and that’s in the pre-launch phase – it will have to be something truly special to compete with Facebook’s 750million. The question everyone’s asking – and which few seem positive in their answers – is it too little too late? Personally I’d say it’s fine to be sceptical but ignore it at your peril…
3. Gmail account holders will end up using it: Cleverly, Google has made Plus feel like a natural extension of Gmail – thus enabling it to tap into the 200m worldwide account holders. Such seamless integration not only makes the creation of a functioning account easy but means that Gmail users will inevitably drift into Plus services. Nice.
4. Google+ means business: Facebook hasn’t gone near it, Twitter struggles to be taken seriously and LinkedIn is viewed by most in isolation. Google+, however, has been designed to be a one-stop contact shop with business applications seamlessly worked in. Google has made it plain that such an holistic offering goes to the very heart of the Plus thinking and if it can back this opening up with the litany of Google’s free tools it might just work…
5. Google is serious about plus… VERY serious: Whether it is still smarting from the failure of Buzz and the demise of Wave or whether it’s just feeling piqued by Facebook’s move into advertising and search, Google is serious about making Plus work. Human resource, money and the wealth of data resource that Google has at its disposal has all been put behind Plus making it a force even the mighty Facebook will have to reckon with.
Will Google+ succeed where previous efforts have failed? Only time will tell, but for marketers two things are clear; that it’s going to be a fascinating fight and that the world of social media will never be the same again.
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