20 July 2011
Google’s first foray into the world of social networking, Google+, has already reached an impressive 10 million users. Impressive, when you consider it’s reached that figure in just 2 weeks, when it’s taken the location-sharing app, Foursquare, over 2 years to reach the same number of users.
But beyond the hype and the staggering pace of growth, Google has been quick to discourage brands from signing up to G+ just yet, asking businesses to wait for the business-specific Google+ for Brands which launches later this year. Once that’s available what might Google+ be able to offer brands and businesses?
Making it personal
Google+ fosters one on one interaction. We’ve heard social companies say that before but with G+, relationships and circle segmentation is largely personal - you cannot see the name or the description of a Circle you’re in, neither can you see who else is in a fellow circle.
Because circles on G+ are largely private so can the relationships be between users and brands. Unlike Facebook, where brands can be ‘liked’ sometimes for the wrong reasons (be it social kudos, peer pressure) or retweeted publically on Twitter, maybe in a bid to get some free stuff. Google+ can create truthful, useful engagement directly between users and brands by directly share tailored information, services and experiences with one another. There’s no audience and no pretence, just direct interaction.
The key thing for me about G+ is that shouldn’t be positioned compete too aggressively with Facebook and Twitter. As a network, it has a great opportunity to collaborate and learn from users’ full social graph, from their tweets, the friends they have on Facebook, their photos of Flickr, the style in which they write their blog posts, if Google is smart enough.
Google+ may represent a great opportunity for brands but we don’t yet know whether it will rely upon a user specifically requesting to ‘Circle’ a brand and if a user is prepared to do that, then it’s likely they’ve already got a good relationship, one which isn’t unique to Google+.