Is Google Plus a Giant Flop or an Opportunity?

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Is Google Plus a Giant Flop or an Opportunity?


I'll admit, I don't use Google+ much at all. To me, it's the equivalent of having another email inbox to deal with, another social network that you must update daily or die. Many people agree with me, but many think I'm missing the boat entirely. TechRepublic did a poll recently, and 55% said that G+ is "doomed to imminent failure" while 45% disagreed. There are some heavy hitters out there like Robert Scoble and Chris Brogan who think the Google social network is the bees knees. So what's a neophyte to do—jump on the bandwagon or politely decline? Since it's another election year, let's take a fair and balanced look at the issues (NOT!).

Google+ is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

is google plus a giant failureSince I'm obviously a complete newb when it comes to Google+, I'll paraphrase why Chris Brogan loves it:

  • Google Hangouts - free cool chat room for teaching, collaborating or just shooting the scat
  • Easy video integration - OK, but is this really new or unique?
  • Google (outbound) - yes, well, there is that. The stuff you post on Google+ has some magical way of finding your target market better than other social networks, at least that's the theory.
  • Google (inbound) - also great way to find information, think hybrid between search and social.

Here's what Robert Scoble said on Quora, "Every 15 seconds a new post shows up on my Google+ from the people I've circled. In about six months I've gotten 200,000+ followers. It took me five years to get there on Twitter and on Facebook I only have 80,000+ followers. No one has gotten that many followers on Quora. So, is Quora a failure?"

Google+ is Gathering Dust in My Bookmarks Toolbar

I'll take this one because I'm familiar with it. I think Mr. Brogan makes some very good points that every marketer should pay attention to. Here's my rationale for ignoring Google+:

  • I have way too much other stuff to do
  • I love how responsive and simple Twitter is
  • I'm an old dog and I don't want to learn new tricks
  • I like Facebook for socializing, so why do I need another place for that?
  • I like LinkedIn for business networking, so ditto on the new place

Granted, these are personal reasons and not exactly backed by academic research. I guess I just really need someone to convince me that I should invest the time to learn how to leverage Google+, then commit to using it every day to get the most ROI for my time. I've seen the blogs and videos, but I'm still unconvinced. Right now, the world seems pretty divided on this question, with the majority leaning my way.

What do you think? Should we give the mighty Google experiment a chance, or move on?

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Great article; I agree with your sentiments. It's interesting to note that when Google morphed Places into Google+ Local it transferred 80 million pages, essentially compelling tens of millions of small businesses to get on board with the fledgling social network.  
Given this and other evidence, it seems increasingly clear that Google is #@#@ bent on making G+ work. 
On a personal level, I'm having a hard time committing to Google+ for the very reasons you outlined above. 
Thanks for the post. 
Posted @ Thursday, June 14, 2012 7:01 AM by Chris Horton
Thanks Chris. You make a good point about Local and the obvious push to drive more Adwords revenue. You would think the smart folks at Google would get that people on social networks don't want advertising and don't care about Google monetizing schemes. If it's useful, easy and truly free, they will come - or in my case, maybe not.
Posted @ Thursday, June 14, 2012 7:10 AM by John McTigue
Interesting, on the other hand I love Google+. I find the conversations more cerebral in my industry, in fact I picked up this post there. The quality of interaction feeds my desire to do more.  
AND this is the big one, Google has integrated Google+ and +1's into their organic algorithm. For long term search positioning the carrot is simply bigger for participation with Google+ than Twitter of Facebook.  
Although I like and use the other applications, I am finding that I personally am spending less time on Facebook and choosing to spend more time on Google+.
Posted @ Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:56 AM by Nancy McCord
Nancy, I'm glad you chimed in. I have heard that about Google+ from other marketing thought leaders as well - that there are more serious-minded folks talking about relevant topics than you generally find in the other networks. Also, the carrot for organic search is undeniable. That's the kind of convincing I probably need. Now if I can just free up some time! Thanks again.
Posted @ Thursday, June 14, 2012 9:02 AM by John McTigue
John, fantastic article. I love that you referenced Chris Brogan. I've learned so many things from him and glad other people find him as useful as I do.  
I think Google+ is such a perfect combination of Facebook and Twitter, that businesses will love it. I actually have written a blog about it. I think you would enjoy it. 
I am new to your blog, so I don't know the rules about posting links, but if it's something not allowed I will refrain from it in the future.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 20, 2012 2:42 PM by Richard Morrison
Richard, thanks for sharing, and yes including your blog post is very relevant and helpful information. I believe everything you say, but getting over the additional investment in time and effort seems to be holding back a lot of people. Would be interesting to see some real documented results for businesses accelerating qualified leads due to sharing on Google+. I will continue searching for those as they become more widespread.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 20, 2012 2:52 PM by John McTigue
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