GOOGLE PLUS: A LESSON FOR ALL OF US, INCLUDING GOOGLE

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Google Plus, Social Media 25 Comments

Nancy Myrland - Social Media Marketing Adviser - Google Plus Over on Facebook, my friend and colleague, Tim Corcoran, a senior executive with Hubbard One, posted a link to an MSNBC Technolog story about Google+, which stated there was a 60% drop in use after a 1200% surge in users after opening up to the public in mid-September.

Tim said:

“I joined G+ the first week, but haven’t spent more than 10 minutes there since.  90% of the friend requests are from people I don’t know, whereas 95% of my FB friends and 75% of my LinkedIn connections are familiar to me.  I just don’t have the energy to dig in at the moment.”

I joined the conversation by sharing:

“I’m not spending as much time there as I did in the first 6-8 weeks, but that’s partially because I was in a heavy learning phase at that point.  This happens with every new product or service I use.  I’m also distracted by other responsibilities, which adds to less time there overall.  Given those two factors, I regret that I am not spending as much time there as I’d like to because I like what I’m learning over there.  There is a great deal of sharing going on, so the ability to learn and educate is strong.”

INTEREST AND EXCLUSIVITY

I continued:

“There is another issue that has been on my mind since Google Plus’s early days.  There was a great deal of interest and enthusiasm for G+ when it launched on June 28.  It got A LOT of press, conversation, WOMM (word of mouth marketing) and interest from all over the world.  It wasn’t open to everyone, so that caused some pent-up demand as it was beginning to be perceived as the place to be…’if they would just let me in!’ “

A MISSED WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY?

“However, Google let too much time slip by, perhaps missing a window that stayed open for several weeks. Enthusiasm from potential users was diminished, partially because they got irritated that is was too exclusive with the invitation-only entry, but also because people are very busy, and somewhat overwhelmed with the other tools they are still using and learning.”

WHEN PEOPLE ARE EXCITED, THEY MAKE THE TIME.

This doesn’t mean they won’t recover that momentum, and that good marketing and product development can’t help them relaunch to the masses in addition to those of us who were early adopters, particularly when they launch business pages, but they have now given themselves an additional obstacle to overcome, haven’t they?  When people are excited about something, they make the time to investigate and use it.  When their enthusiasm is dampened, it takes extra effort to build it up again.”

Our discussion continued, when our friend, Mike O’Horo, Co-founder of RainmakerVT, shared his perspective:

“It may be that Google is simply too late to the party because few people have the mental bandwidth or time to support another social network.”

To which I replied:

“People ARE definitely stretching themselves to support the Social that they are involved in, so your statement is on target.  The reality, however, is that these tools will come and go, new ones will be developed, and our involvement will continue to grow.

We will probably see new tools developed to help people choose, target, economize, find efficiencies, measure, etc., but I don’t see how we will be able to stand still for long.  Change and growth in tools will force change in behavior.  Resources will have to grow to enable use of appropriate marketing tools….the same issues we’ve been challenged with in marketing for years, right?

The difference today is that these tools are not as passive as the traditional ones we’ve used in the past.  They require involvement and engagement, so if our potential/clients are using them, we have to find ways to meet or lead them, or we risk losing opportunity.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I like Google+.  I hope it finds a way to thrive because I like the conversation, Google+’s nuances, the amount of content and education that exists there, the ability to “hang out” with people via video from all over the world, and other interesting features.  It’s simply that, from my marketing and sales perspective, an initial window of opportunity, when tremendous interest and enthusiasm was present and growing, was missed.  I know the service was being perfected because it was still in Beta, or field trial as Google called it, and Google was admirably taking advantage of generous feedback being given by many of us using it from the start.

A LESSON TO BE LEARNED

Let this be a lesson to every firm, company and organization out there that has a new, shiny practice, a rockstar addition to add to its staff, a new office or location, or a new book, product or service to offer.  Yes, build your marketing plans so that you build momentum in phases, but be careful not to tire your audience before you ever let them have what it is you’ve spent so much time and money planning and building.  There are too many other choices and distractions out there.

Sure, tease your audiences with announcements if you can get away with it, but watch your timing, exclusivity and messaging closely so you are ready to announce, or launch, when you’ve built enthusiasm to its peak.

Don’t miss meeting passion at its peak.

THE SOLUTION

Do I know the exact solution for Google at this moment?  No, I don’t.  There’s no way a marketing or business adviser worth his/her salt could provide an informed solution to any business without further analysis and discussion, which is why I’ve invited you here today.

SO NOW IT’S YOUR TURN….

What do you think about Google+?

  • Do you use it?
  • Do you like it?
  • Do you agree with me?
  • What is the future of Google+?
  • What should Google+ do to continue to build momentum?

For related posts on Google+, I invite you to read:

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22 comments
tbcorcoran
tbcorcoran

I don't know that it's dead yet. But as Nancy points out, reviving the killer momentum G+ had at launch will be far harder now because there are cynical users who will think twice about jumping on the bandwagon. But Steve Jobs' recent passing and all the accolades he received reminded me that I owned an iPod for almost a year before I loaded any songs on it, because my initial reaction was that my Creative Labs Zen Jukebox MP3 player was sufficient, and the iPod and iTunes store and all that that hassle seemed too complicated to dig into. Once my Zen Jukebox broke (inevitably), I dug unto the iPod and have never looked back... and have purchased 11 more since then. So there may indeed be a point at which G+ regains the interest of people like me, but at the moment there isn't a compelling value proposition and even the foibles of FB aren't nearly enough to push me away, despite my whining when the FB gods change something. Nancy's underlying theme about the need to nurture momentum and buzz is a good one.

mike_gingerich
mike_gingerich

I do think G+ lost mojo with the big gap in a business product. They waited too long! Combine that with massive Facebook new rollouts and my attention has waned!

Heather Morse
Heather Morse

A huge problem with G+ is "who the hell has the time." We've already invested time and effort into Twitter and Facebook (business pages, establishing brands). We do need to work, after all. Sure, if I'm Coca-Cola and have a HUGE on-line marketing team, I'd throw resources at G+, but I'm not.

A law firm, no matter how high on the AmLaw 100, does not have enough dedicated professionals to do this. And THIS

is where G+ messed up, in my opinion. They didn't "get" why 90% of the social media time is spent on on FB - family and friends, and then the games. They did not perceive a need and fill it ... they tried to compete where there isn't a big enough vacancy to create a void.

joshhumble
joshhumble

Thanks for the great post, Nancy - I'm not using G+ as much, either, but looking to do more. I think I share the same sentiment as most. On the other hand, I think G+ has eliminated a lot of the cluttered junk that accompanies facebook. As for facebook, I feel the large following, the "coolness," and the user familiarity will be difficult for G+ to break (we never really become familiar with facebook, though).

On another note, G+ seems to really be a hit with the photographer community.

MariSmith
MariSmith

Excellent post, Nancy!! "Don't miss meeting passion at its peak" - great statement!! I too am spending far less time on G+ than I was in early July. I still love the platform and wish I could spend more time there... but it's just not feasible with other demands, and I have chosen to remain active on Twitter and of course Facebook... which now has TWO channels to manage: profile with subscribe and fan page. Hmmm. Not to mention a half dozen fun and active groups! Honestly, I just think Facebook Groups (especially Secret) are sooo much better than Google Circles. It's a very different experience. Of course, they're designed for different purposes... or are they?! :)

pwhaserot
pwhaserot

My experience is pretty much the same as Mike O'Horo's.. I don't think about Google+ very often and since I'm not grounded in it and haven't build up my circles, it's mostly off my radar. And, yes, we don't get reminders. I am sure it has a lot of promise,...

Phyllis Weiss Haserot

backslashartist
backslashartist

Google+ still has no street cred. This article is spot on. Google did take way too long to let everyone join. And where was there big innovative marketing campaign enticing people to join - I missed that. They should have put up a Sponsored Ad on Facebook.

bdorman264
bdorman264

I have Google + but I can't say I really use it. I have had 3 video chats w/ people from Budapest, Canada, California, Georgia and Florida at the same time so that was pretty cool. Other than that, I have taken on all comers but I don't spend time on it. Therefore, I'm glad is slowed down because my gig is still primarily twitter and blogs. However, I'm starting to see more of a blend of my twitter crowd mixing with my FB crowd now so that probably means I will have to pay more attention to that.

I know we have to grow and be prepared, but I didn't personally see the need for Google + at this particular time. However, I will never be accused of being an early adapter that's for sure.

So good to see you; I know you have your hands full. Hang in there.........

LarryBodine
LarryBodine

I like Google+ so much better than Facebook and Twitter, but I forget to use it. On Google+ I have a handful of people following me, but on Twitter I have 3000+, so that's where I spend my time.

salescoach
salescoach

I'll confess that I've taken no initiative with G+. I simply don't think of it. A few times/wk, though, I get an alert that somebody has added me to their circle. As Tim Corcoran, said, a high % are unknown to me. Out of curiosity, I click on them to see who they are. Many seem pretty interesting, so I add them to a "Business" or "Thought Leader" circle. I don't even know why, since I rarely go there and look at the conversation. I guess I need the FB- or LinkedIn-style prompt that lets me know what happened. If I care, I'll take a look and contribute; if I don't, it's easy to ignore or delete.

Who knows, maybe my perplexity is simply a by-product of failing to consult with you, Nancy.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@tbcorcoran Thanks Tim. I read a post yesterday about someone at Google saying there would be daily announcements of new features G+ is launching. If they do that, I can see that momentum could build slowly, vs. a fast relaunch. I can see business pages causing quite a stir. Every time I remember to go over there, I am happy I did as I am following some very interesting industry people who help me stay current with what's going on, which is important to my practice. I also see content that's different over there, and that more of it is being shared in-stream, vs. having to click on a link to go find the content, which I don't do if I'm busy. Thanks for adding to the conversation, Tim.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@mike_gingerich Thanks Mike. It will be interesting. I can only imagine that, after spending almost $600 million getting this product to field trial, Google won't pull out all the stops to make this work. I'm sure they have more up their sleeve to draw people back in, or in at all for those who haven't joined yet. Yes, our attention is being drawn elsewhere, isn't it?

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@heather_morse Heather, Social Media and Social Networking have thrown all firms and companies in to a challenging situation, and that's one of allocating resources to media that aren't fully understood. Management in *some* firms is still struggling to understand traditional marketing, thus not allocating resources wisely, so doing so in brand new (Social) media is, indeed, and will continue to be, a challenge.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@joshhumble Josh, those are your people (the photographers)!! I agree about G+ not having a lot of the clutter, although they went and added games, which is a step toward adding clutter, isn't it? ;-) Yes, the cool factor is definitely part of G+ right now.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@MariSmith Hello Mari! Thanks for your great comment! What an interesting question about whether Facebook Groups are designed for the same purpose as G+ Circles. I LOVE some of my private groups on Facebook, and find more value in the sharing and discussion that takes place there than many other places I spend time in Social. They serve a different purpose....less of a business development/sales focus in these groups because of the trust and sharing that goes on in them, vs. Circles, which don't seem as intimate or safe as a safe place for discussion. So much of the knowledge I share from others, and of my own, is generic enough to the masses, so, even though I have built a healthy ecosystem of Circles, and am placing people in them, I am not choosing them as much....yet. Thanks for your support about my meeting passion at its peak comment. :-)

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@pwhaserot I think it does have promise, Phyliis, but we need to see a lot of effort to bring it to the public, which is what it will need to do to sustain its business model. If people can't find their buddies and their target markets there, they will take the path of least resistance, which is to stay comfortably where they are. Nice to see you!

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@backslashartist It's interesting. I actually think it has credibility among many users, but there's a lot of work that needs to be done to bring it to the street in a way that will propel it in to the minds of the masses, which is what Google must have to sustain its investment. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@bdorman264 Thanks Bill. Not everyone has to be an early adopter, otherwise there would be no such term as early adopter, right? ;-) All kidding aside, yes, I think you will find your Facebook presence growing because Twitter friends can become real friends, which lends itself to connecting on a more personal level on Facebook. The connection grows stronger when that happens because people have then expressed a desire to take your relationship to a deeper, more trusted level. As always, thanks for stopping by!

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@LarryBodine Larry, I like it too. i like the way people are sharing their thoughts in a longer format, almost like mini-blogging, whereas Twitter is micro-blogging. You're right, though, when I'm away from it, because I have all the notification settings turned off, it is easy to forget about it. I have to remind myself to go visit, and I'm always glad I did because I find very interesting content over there. I have a Circle of about 40 Google Staff that I follow, and learn a great deal every time I check in. I also have several other Circles, much like the Lists I have set up in Twitter, and the Groups I belong to, and visit, on LinkedIn. It's all about taking the time to establish a presence, find people of interest, then form relationships with them. As I like to say, all of it takes proper care and feeding to grow. Thanks for stopping by Larry.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@salescoach Well, of course that's the reason Mike! ;-) It's interesting. I have met, and begun to know, completely different people on Google+ than on other sites, which I enjoy. Time will show what kind of tool this is meant to be for each of us, which will likely change from person to person. Thanks Mike.

joshhumble
joshhumble

@NancyMyrland Thanks, Nancy - regarding coolness, I was referring to facebook's long-established "coolness" being difficult for G+ to overcome; but then, it seems like no one I talk to actually likes facebook, but it's where everyone's at, so we put up with it.

And for photogs on G+ - one niche market, as visually appealing as photography can be - obviously can't carry the weight for a social media model that was scaled for the mainstream, so hopefully, more people find use for G+. So far, I feel G+ beats out facebook in quality, usability, and design, but if no one goes there, it can't be the social place to be, and it won't win the market, hence the issues you've pointed out.

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland moderator

@joshhumble Ah, I see what you are saying....cool, yes, definitely in terms of which one is being used by the masses. It is interesting that a product with a quality difference like G+ has to do so much more to become the tool of choice of the masses. I agree with your comments about the quality, usability and design. Thanks for the conversation Josh.

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