There’s so much social media going around that it’s hard to know which trends are worth spending your time on and which ones will fade away before you can say Google Wave. (I just got my good-bye to Google Wave letter this morning). Google+ is taking the world by storm, and this one looks like it will stay.
I love social media, but it’s just so hard to stay current and connected on all platforms. I told myself that I wasn’t going to invest too much time in it until Google+ started supporting business pages. Well they have, so I’ve been having a good time trying to figure it all out. Business pages are a lot like fan pages on facebook, but there are some important differences.
Only one person can be an administrator of a Google+ page. Facebook allows for multiple administrators. That means that unless you’re willing to give out your gmail password to the person that want to administer the page for you, you have to do all the posting to the page yourself. This can be a real bummer for larger companies that have multiple people running their social media campaigns. On the other hand, that means when people like Guy Kawasaki post something on Google+, it’s probably actually him.
There is no way to schedule posts on Google+. Facebook and twitter allow you to use tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts. Not so with Google+. Everything has to be done manually. To be successful with it and engaging, you need to log in to it at least a few times a day. On the other hand, that means when people like Guy Kawasaki posts something on Google+, you know that he’s actually online the same time that you are, and it’s easier to engage him.
There is no way to stylize your page so that it stands out in a crowd. With Twitter you get to play with the background of the page. With facebook, you can have a large logo and use welcome pages to let people know why they should “like” you. At least for now, every page on Google+ looks basically the same. You brand it with a square shaped logo, but that’s it.
There are fewer people on Google+ than on Facebook. That said, Google+ is growing in popularity (not like Google Wave) and has done a lot of things right to make it a very successful social media platform. They have taken what’s best in both Facebook and Twitter and have created a really fun platform that has been catching on like wildfire.
It’s a live feed (twitter)
You can add people to your circles (follow people) even if they don’t friend you (twitter)
You can have posts that are longer then 140 characters (facebook)
You can share pictures and videos without needing to open a new browser window (facebook)
Circles is another brilliant thing that Google+ has that facebook seems like it’s experimenting with now. By adding people to circles, you can share content that is relevant to them and not to others. In my personal Google+ account, I have circles for geeks and for anipals. I share my geekier posting with the geeks and the cute cat videos and animal welfare articles with my anipals. It’s great because I don’t feel like I’m spamming the wrong group with information that they could care less about.
I have a page for The Pet Wiki. On that, I share everything publicly. I figure that if you decide to add The Pet Wiki to your circles, you must be expecting to get pet stuff, otherwise you wouldn’t have added it to your circles in the first place. Another good reason to share things publicly is that the public posts get indexed by Google. Who couldn’t use some SEO help? I’ve seen some of my Google+ posts show up in search results. Not the pages that the posts point to, but the Google+ pages. That’s reason enough to be on Google+.
It seems like there’s a bit of mayhem going on with Google+ pages. As far as strategy goes for getting people to find your page, there’s a few ways to do it. Pages can’t put people into their circles, but they can put other pages into them. Find pages that fit your niche and add them. Share their stuff. Comment. Interact. People who have those pages in their circles will see you too. Write good comments, and you may get noticed by others and those others will add you to their circles as well.
Make sure to add people following you into your circles. If you don’t they won’t show up in your stream and you have no way to interact with them. No one wants to be in a one sided conversation. That’s not what social media is about.
Make sure to let other people know about your Google+ page. If you have a following on twitter and/or facebook, let them know that you now have a Google+ page too. Some may not have made the move to Google+, but others may have. It’s a good idea to share the information.
Another good way is to display a link to your Google+ page on your website. The +1 has been around for a while and a lot of people have started adding that to their sites. Now is the time to put a link to your Google+ page as well. I had fun adding it to the skin of The Pet Wiki. I’m very pleased with how it came out.
I would say that Google is Google and you know that it’s going to be big, but on the day that they announced the death of Google Wave, that just seems silly. This is different. With Google+ they didn’t try to create something new. The took existing platforms, copied them and made them better. I have totally joined the Google+ bandwagon. I hope to see you there!