Amid the hype and anticipation, some question whether consumers will follow brands to Google+ or whether they'll stay where they are: on Facebook. So, maybe we should continue our focus on Facebook business marketing and ignore the potential for business marketing on Google+.
Several theories underlie the belief that Google+ business marketing may not be all that rosy. Here are some of the arguments:
Consumers are overwhelmed with sharing options.
I've heard this notion from many folks, including some top marketing folks at a recent AMA (American Marketing Association) networking event. The idea is being spread by social media giant, Mashable, in a post over the weekend predicting a Sharepocalypse - apocalypse is the most trendy word in the social media vocabulary recently.
The argument goes like this:
In the Sharepocalypse hundreds (if not thousands) of online friends share content with us across various social networks, culminating in massive information overload. Our lives will become more fragmented, we will lose productivity, and we'll perpetually be playing catch up.
Many folks on Google+ already complain about the time sink - logging on for a few minutes that becomes hours. But, it it really a time sink? I'm not so sure, even though I'm one of those who've spent hours in front of the screen consumed in conversations on G0ogle+. But, for me, this is Google+ business marketing at its best - I'm discovering new, valuable blogs I should be following, I'm meeting all kinds of new people forming networks that should be mutually beneficial, and strengthening my existing network of social media colleagues.
But, will the average consumer enjoy this witty reparté? I think it's too early to tell. Right now Google+ is populated by tech geeks, photographers, and social media types. But, the celebs are beginning to trickle in (and I'm not sure who gave an invitation to Paris Hilton, but they should be shot). Consumers will likely follow because they can't get enough celebs.
Circling is complicated
Again, I here this. But, mastering your circles is a critical element underpinning Google+ business marketing. If consumers try to use Google+ the way they use Facebook or Twitter, they'll likely become overwhelmed, fullfilling the Sharepocalypse predicted by Mashable. Facebook takes care of this through moderating what shows up on your wall. It displays posts from people who seem to be more interesting - based on having more interactions in Facebook.
Of course the problem with Facebook is that your grandmother, who doesn't post often and likely doesn't get many likes, shares, and comments is invisible in your newsfeed. Google+ fixes that by allowing you to decide WHO shows up in your stream. Select too many people in circles and your stream looks like your Twitterfeed - moving down the page at a pace too fast to read.
I only have about 300 folks in circles and, during busy times, I can't hope to keep up with the stream and I miss everything between times I login. I manage this by having a list of influencers who share great stuff, like Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki, and a list of folks I interact with, like Mari Smith and Michael Stelzner. When I haven't been online for hours, I take a look at my stream, then posts from these 2 circles.
Will consumers figure out a system like this that works for them? Who knows.
Will Google+ evolve as Facebook did to make it less complicated? Probably. Google is very responsive to comments by users and engaged with us. I think they'll figure out a solution and probably that's part of the reason for waiting before rolling out Google+ business pages.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Where do you see Google+ business marketing going?