Google+ “Punkd” The Oatmeal. It’s definitely a nerd alert from me, but I love social media, so, social media humor is welcomed.
Quite often I am asked what it’s like to be on Facebook all day. Or Twitter. Or whatever else social platform you want to enter in here ________________. Anyway, I usually just laugh and say something like, “it’s work.” The truth is, managing social media for a successful business is a beast of a job nowadays, especially if you are doing it right and growing, expanding, innovating…and staying on top of the community. The funny thing is, to a person that really knows very little about social media, I am just playing on a website that their 14 year old kid sits on for hours a day with that smart phone they shouldn’t have yet.
In reality, managing a social presence across many different platforms and channels for a business, is like running a business in itself. You need customers (fans and followers) and you need to provide a product or service (great content). In return you get paid (engagement). If you are really lucky you turn that into profit (actual revenue by web traffic to your site or sales direct from the platform). Simple equation, right?
What a lot of people don’t understand is that it is MUCH more than just monitoring Facebook and Twitter. If that was the case, then social manager jobs in big cities wouldn’t ask for 3-5 years experience managing a social presence for a business and brand(s). At this point, not much beyond 5 years can really be required, since such a large number of businesses hadn’t even adopted social media yet in 2007. Well, most of the platforms that we all know and love didn’t even exist yet. We still don’t have “experts” in social media yet. We are close, but not quite there yet. Yet!
Believe it or not, but a lot of thought goes into individual posts, social campaigns, and content. The most important is the latter. Without great content you won’t have engagement. Without engagement…why are you on social media? Just to sit there and be a brand? If you think you need a Facebook page or Twitter handle just to have one, because that’s what businesses do now, then you’re missing the point. You need a plan. You need goals.
This might seem like I’m complaining about people thinking that managing social media is easy or elementary, as I manage social media for a brand. However, I am more so just defending other social media managers, and hoping to educate people a little bit more about what it is that we do.
I will expand on this sooner than later, as I’d love to pick some of my favorites from around the socialsphere from brands I like, campaigns that were awesome, etc. Look for it.
I’m not reporting the news by any means, as pretty much anyone who is a little bit social media savvy by now is fully aware of the changes to Google+. I am only offering my quick opinions after playing around on it here and there throughout the day.
I really like it.
About a month ago I wrote a blog about how Google+ is still one of my favorite social platforms. This was before I knew about any specific changes coming to the appearance or functionality. I knew Google was committed and I was simply looking forward to what was next.
Next just happened.
It’s still very new and has a lot to be played with and tried, but my initial reaction is that it is a few things:
- Very clean
- No ads make it just look better than Facebook
- User friendly
- Functionally it makes more sense
- Enhanced useability of things like Hangouts and G+ apps on the side
- Improved cover images for both personal and brand pages
- Much bigger, vivid imagery in the timeline
- Better integration with YouTube, search, and Gmail
I know there are many more new things and cool things that just changed. These are just my initial observations.
Also, I was on a call yesterday with Twitter and they told me they are now at 140 Million users. Google+ announced this week they are at around 170 Million. Wow. Now I know that doesn’t technically account for ONLY G+ users (Google has many other services and platforms), but the fact is that it’s growing. A lot.
Facebook remains king…for now.
I’ve been preaching this all along to people, but look out for Google+ over the next year.
I jumped on the Google+ bandwagon right away when in launched in the summer of 2011. I was skeptical at first, mainly because Facebook was the boss (and currently still is). I couldn’t understand how or why Google would want to dive into this arena with a completely new social platform. And then I remembered…
They’re Google. They are doing it because they can.
I’ve been impressed with Google’s commitment to their social network. It seems like they are constantly updating the actual website, mobile and tablet apps, integrating +1 buttons all over the web, and now even adding a G+ button on their patented, well known search engine homepage. The latter point was pretty recent and really showed the world how much they are in this to win it. My G+ connections are right there on my gmail homepage and accessible for chat and/or a hangout (Google+’s group video chat). It’s all integrated and ever-growing.
And Android? Google+ is going to be taking full advantage of the alternative to iPhones. New users to the Android interface will be asked if they want to create a Google+ account right off then bat when setting up their phone.
The prediction right now is that Google+ will have 400 million users by the end of 2012. That would be half of all current Facebook users in only a year and a half. Wow. Took them over seven years to get here.
I’ve said from the get-go that this is going to be huge, and many of my friends and colleagues still think I’m crazy and refuse to get involved. Google has so much power behind it, the two biggest search engines (Google and YouTube) – they control a HUGE chunk of the web.
I’ve felt since last year that Google has been releasing just bits and pieces of Google+ in order to keep us interested, and it will just continue to grow and innovate, chipping away at Facebook. I’m not staying it will overtake Facebook, but it will be right there. And, the audiences are very different right now, so they aren’t really to be used the same way. Google+ is not for event promotions, contests, and sales ploys, like Facebook. It’s a more techy audience that is into the innovation and change, and happy and refreshed to be connecting with folks outside of Facebook. The engagement and interaction between businesses and fans is very honest and open. The G+ folks are pretty into social media. They had to be to dive into a new, unknown platform, right?!
I’ve been a big fan from the start and I still am. I love it for personal use and I love it for business use. Getting in circles is the way to grow your follower base quickly, just another little thing that makes Google+ different and cool.
Looking forward to see where it will be at the turn of the new year.