google plus

Google+: A Platform, Not The Message

Google+ is here -- what do you need to change about your brand message to leverage this new tool? Nothing!

Now more than ever, your brand message needs to remain strong and consistent, and your focus needs to stay on building relationships.   Don’t let new tools (like Google+) distract you from your brand message!  As I continue to say, successful social media marketing is all about relationships, and the tools simply facilitate those relationships. Without the people and connections, the tools are meaningless.

I am not, however, suggesting that you ignore Google+, because it does have the potential to be a powerful social media marketing tool.  Make sure someone on your marketing team learns the intricacies of Google+ ... and by all means integrate this new platform into your social media marketing strategy in whatever way serves your brand message and your company goals.  There is an amazing opportunity for brands to build interactive two way engagement, interaction, and sharing within this platform, but consumers will have to adopt it to make worthwhile and only time will answer that question.

My main point here is a caution not to let the Google+ fervor take your focus away from your current consumer relationships.  You still need to offer your consumers consistent value through your products, services, and content, and you still need to engage with them through their current platforms, even as you may be looking to expand to Google+.

Your consumer/brand relationships are the fuel that make each platform work, so don’t neglect them when a new promising platform shows up.  You can actually turn this into a two-way beneficial conversation by asking your consumers what they think about the new platform, and asking them for ideas about how your brand could effectively use the new platform in a way that works for them.   This is a perfect chance to tap into consumer insights and show them you value their opinions.

Bottom line: new and old platforms will come and go... it is your message and strategy that count, so make sure they are clear, strong and consistent!

-Ted Rubin, Social Strategist

The Single Moment of Truth: Will Google Plus Change the World?

I have to admit I was pretty skeptical when I heard about Google Plus. I thought to myself, Google only has so many Gmail users. Will they really be able to get non-Gmail users to sign up just for Google+? Well, here are some pretty impressive stats:

  • Gmail has 170M users (as of 2010). Google Plus has 10 million users and claims that 2 million of those users were new and signed up in a matter of 32-34 hours. That equates to 17 people per second.

I don’t know about you, but that growth rate is staggering.

Now consider Facebook.

  • By the end of 2006 they had 12 million users and grew to 50 million by the end of 2007. Using the same math, they grew roughly 1.2 people per second.

Now, I’m not trying to predict that Google Plus may or may not grow to exceed Facebook, but the initial growth seems to indicate that Google Plus has the potential to grow like wildfire.

A logical person might argue that “joining” doesn’t necessarily mean “using”, so consider this:

  1. Facebook claims over 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month.
  2. Larry Page claimed on last week’s investor call that over 1 billion pieces of content were being shared and received on Google Plus every day. That’s the equivalent of Facebook with only a FRACTION of the users.

Consider the implications:

  1. +1 Button: Social recommendations are going to take on a whole new life. What our friends and families recommend will proliferate one of the biggest channels we use to find information: Google. According to Page, the +1 button, with a limited release, has been clicked on 2.3 billion times a day.
  2. Circles: Circles will allow us to do what we’ve really wanted to do all along. Merge our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. The fundamental flaw with Facebook? I don’t want a business contact to see how hammered I looked at my girlfriend’s bachelorette party last weekend.  The genius of Facebook? I am so ridiculously pleased to connect to friends that I would have never been able to find by any other means. If you give me that all in one place. I’m sold. As a consumer, it’s convenient. As a marketer, it’s powerful.
  3. Hangouts: Page says that hangouts will allow “serendipitous interactions”.  Now I haven’t used it so I can’t say how or if it is better than either Foursquare or Facebook, but I’m fairly certain at least half of my friends don’t care that I’m at the Forrester Marketing Forum, but my “marketing” circle will.
  4. Coupons: Imagine being able to serve up specific deals based on specified interests. Now I like Groupon, but segmenting based on geography isn’t exactly relevant. And for those advertisers out there, it’s just a “spray and pray” approach to offering up specials.

I don’t know about you, but this time Google has me intrigued. As a consumer I’m interested in the possibilities. As a marketer, I’m salivating.

-Angela Sanfilippo, Senior Director of Marketing, Zuberance