One of the biggest non-social features of Facebook happens to be the fact that anything you post, share or comment gets broadcast to your entire network. For being a social network that is one un-social way to network. Aunt Sally sees the latest industry report you posted intended for co-worker Dan. Conversely, co-worker Dan sees the constant barrage of baby pictures you posted intended for Aunt Sally. Not only does this clutter everyone’s news feeds and increase unnecessary noise in communication, but if you think about it, this broadcast method is really not the way most people socialize in real life. We have specific topics we discuss within specific social circles.
And making online social interaction seamless with offline social interaction is where Google+ excels. It forces everyone to group contacts within social circles. This way when you share content you can target your message accordingly. Aunt Sally sees the baby pictures, and co-worker Dan sees the latest industry report you found on your lunch break.
The circles approach has numerous benefits.
- Cleans up the newsfeed – One of the biggest frustrations with Facebook has been the cluttered newsfeed. Facebook has made an effort to highlight updates from those you interact with the most, but it doesn’t make information sharing more efficient. Ultimately, users should be able to control the manner if which they want to see these updates and to whom they want to share.
- Addresses privacy concerns – Here is another big win for Google+. Circles allows you to keep things private. Also, Google has promised to not share your information with others. We don’t know if this will change in the future, but for now, it’s a big plus.
- Consolidates social networking – The concept of circles means you can start grouping all your professional contacts within a Google+ “professional” circle. So eventually, there should be no need for LinkedIn. Additionally, since you can follow someone without them following you back (currently in Facebook both have to agree to connect), you can maintain a “following” circle. This should eventually eliminate the need for Twitter.
- Impressive ancillary features – There are other features such as the “hang out” with video conferencing, instant mobile photo upload, and a slick mobile app that makes Google+ rise above Facebook.
So, how can businesses leverage Google+? For now, they’re asking everyone to be patient. They will be rolling out specific features for business. This way, companies can avoid the whole page vs. profile fiasco and fan vs. friend issues with Facebook.
I admit I’m a big Google supporter. I’ve been called the “Google fan boy” at work. So, I tend to get carried away with anything new that Google launches. From Orkut and Lively to Buzz and Wave, I’ve eagerly tried them all. As we know not all of these products have been successful and have lived up to the hype. However, I think Google got this one right. With how fast people are adopting this new tool and enjoying it, I think it will give Facebook a run for its money. Google+ is here to stay, and you’ll need a strategy to leverage it for your business. Stay tuned on how.
What online strategies are you using to engage with your audience?
Let us know below.