Google+ for Business: How Did I Get Here?
You should be a bit skeptical about starting with yet another social network. And it’s not like I know every person picking up this book, but some of you just started figuring out Facebook not too long ago and maybe still don’t understand what all the fuss is about Twitter. And here comes another living-in-his-own-world marketer/business guy telling you that Google+ is where it’s at, right?
I’ve decided to make the first chapter of this book a bit of an answer to the question “why?” because I think it’s important. Whenever you hear the buzz about something new, that’s probably the first big question that rushes into your head. Why should I have to know about this? Why must I spend even more time typing into yet another box? What can all this mean for my business?
Another reason I wanted to start this book with some answers to your potential skepticism is because I’ve felt that, too. I started blogging in 1998, when it was called journaling, which might be reasonably early for blogging, but isn’t that early for someone having a web presence, meaning, I wasn’t much of an early adopter.
In 2006, I was reasonably early (but not bleeding-edge early) to Twitter, which I came to believe, with all my heart, was going to change business communications and marketing. Because I started so early, I was right about that. It made a great difference to my business, and I helped lots of other companies (and some individuals) figure out how Twitter could add business value.
But for the last few years, I’ve been asked at every keynote presentation and corporate meeting I’ve spoken at: What’s the next big thing? I haven’t been able to answer that question. In every single case, I’ve answered in a kind of mumble that “I don’t actually know what’s next, but I’m quite convinced that mobile platforms are big, and uh, I would never bet that either Twitter or Facebook would be forever.” I haven’t had a good answer to “What’s the next big thing?” until now.
I’m just as surprised as you.
Why Is Google+ the Next Big Thing?
I’m not a Google insider, by the way, so this all comes from a passionate user’s seat outside the Googleplex. I know nothing more than most users. I have no secret in. What I do have, in abundance, is the ability to extrapolate and speculate, and that’s part of what fuels my answer.
First, the easy stuff. Google+ is a social network indexed by Google. In recent years, Google searched for ways to amplify the way humans pass links and data inside social networks, which is different than how one page references another page for a search. Stated more simply: Google+ is tied to Google search, so by using it well you can improve your primary website’s findability for folks searching for it.
Second, what’s probably the least obvious but most powerful part of Google+ is how much of it is built toward making it easy for people to discover you and connect with you, on the one hand, and how simple it is to choose to limit what you share and with whom you share on the other hand. When you choose to follow new people, you can see who follows them, and often, you can see who that person has chosen to follow. (And by “follow,” I’m talking about the act of opting to receive updates from someone inside of Google+.)
Facebook and LinkedIn are somewhat more closed. If I’m not your Facebook friend, you have to make special effort to see what I share on my wall. If we’re not connected via LinkedIn, you don’t receive updates from me. Twitter is more like Google+ from an inclusivity perspective.