Brand Pages Finally Arrive on Google Plus

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]As you may or may not have found, pages have finally arrived on Google Plus.
Brands who sell and market to consumers, have had to really make the effort with Facebook pages and these have fast become a very high traffic source for many sites. The easy ability to comment and like something from a brand has not only brought people closer to a brand but also given a brand more of a personality. It has also dramatically boosted the viral abilities of brands’ marketing. In Fact, Facebook has basically become Digital Word of Mouth, more than any other online place.

On a side note – it is important to realise that while we use the phrase Social Media as a media, it is more of a genre of mediums. Where Email is a medium, Twitter is a medium but also a brand. I’m not sure where Facebook falls. It is a brand but is it a medium? Anyway…

Google Plus PageCan Google Plus Pages have the same success as Facebook?

You can’t write it off. However, as far as the early adopting users of Google Plus are concerned, it does appear to be more business like that Facebook. So Google Plus Pages could end up more B2B than B2C.

In my opinion, Google Plus has failed to capture the consumer market dominated by Facebook. They may have a lot of numbers, but that does not mean they are getting the use!

The early adopters of Google Plus were Twitter users, basically having more characters to play with. Most people said it was Facebook for businesses, comfortably replacing Linkedin – which has turned into a CV Jobsite disguised as a business social community.

Early adopters of Facebook, were people who were, of course very web-savvy, but it was social and not business, unlike Google Plus. This could have easily been because there was not Twitter back then. We’d seen the slow death of MySpace and the Struggle of Bebo as the two loudest social sites before that, which ended up being dominated more by media and music than social communication, which has been nicely dominated by Facebook since and the rest appears to have followed – but not taken Facebook over.

Because Google tried to draw everything together so closely (search, email, rss, photos, videos, now social), it’s very open and it is a struggle control your online identity through Google. Yahoo tried this before and no-one really noticed.

Where as Facebook is more of a contained online world.

This could be because Google has fast become “the Internet” because it is where you start  – you “Google it”!
In fact more people just type the words, close to the place they want to go, into the address bar and then let Google give them the right link – it’s quicker, means less typing and because once you’ve hit go, it’s all mouse-work after that.

To think about the appeal of Google for Facebook users, you can compare and Android Phone to an iPhone. You can see that while Google may have some of the most talented software engineers programming for the general public, they still have not captured that wow factor in usability and look & feel in their products.

I’m a practical guy, Google’s products are perfect for me but for so many people, they have to work too hard to get what they want out of it – normally they want  no-nonsense. I’m still finding new things my GalaxyS2 can do – it’s amazing but I do have to faff about with it, which is sometimes part of the appeal. I have had to re-Rom it 3 times in order to make the battery last more than half a day – but is probably the abysmal attempt at software from Samsung – they’re great at hardware – not too special at software, it often feels like more of an afterthought most of the time.

To summerise, I believe that Facebook will remain, for a long time. Its self contained feel and the fact it is less nonsense than a lot of what Google produces, will keep it as the number one social site – for social. This will keep the consumer brands there.

Linkedin will vanish further into the genre of an online CV where you market your self as a potential emplyee, rather than make money from a brand.

Twitter will remain because its character count per post suits the attention span and makes it very to distribute and share online content, with the addition that it doubles up as a public Instant Messenger.

Google Plus looks to take the B2B version of Facebook that Linkedin thought they had but there will still be a fair amount of social and consumer activity going on, in the right markets – ie: more digital and technical than not as users.

We may see over the next two years that Facebook and Google Plus supply brands with a very different customer base. While many people will be on both, they will be in different modes on each, where Facebook is more about friends and family, Google Plus would be more about socialising with people in the same work and industry, rather than family.

I personally believe the current G+ interface restricts the opportunities to make new ‘connetions’ due to the over powering interface providing too much content and currently it is of both social and business content, which makes it hard to find relevance.

If Google created the option of a twitter type feed of your G+ stream and circles, it could be easier to decide when to engage with a post. right now I have to read too much in order to decide if I care, so I don’t make the time (not unlike emails from Amazon). They already have Buzz, just recommission it as a twitter type feed from Google Plus containing the subject and link back to the G+ post, and allow the subject and link pack to the G+ post to be tweeted, thus sending traffic back to Google plus from Twitter in an automated fashion, easy!

edit 11/11/2011:

On a similar note, historically whenever a new network or technology has appeared, they have been filled by squatters who take a brand name for themselves in the hope that they brand will buy it off them.

I believe Fox did a nice pay out on a domain in 2000, Coke gave the originators of the Coke Facebook page jobs when Coke took the page off them and there was also the sad but slightly amusing story of the UK’s Ian Tunes.

Well apparently Google does not intend to let this happen on Google+, this blog from MikkieTech explains more…read on

Social media helping deliverability

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]I’ve just read a very cheeky little post from Laura at Word to the Wise about how clever use of Social Media can help you get safe listed in inboxes ie: just ask for it!

On reflection, another tie in with social media is the fact that they send so many notifications, retweets, mentions, DMs, friend requests etc.
These are deemed important by people but due to their volume and frequency are commonly filtered off to a folder/label.

Either way it is these notifications / transactions that people will go to the junk folder for and whitelist and filter.

welcomeWith this knowledge it makes it very easy to make the point that a sign-up process medically requires the safe listing  request at the point of sign-up.

If you don’t do double-optin send a welcome message. then on the landing page after submitting the form tell people to check their email, tell them the address it’s from and ask them to safe list it and mark it as not junk if it’s junk. and make the same request in the email.

Transactional social share

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]This has literally just occurred to me, I’ve not seen this anywhere but it seems like a good idea?

Many people are quite proud of their new purchases, sometimes it’s a bi-product of the adrenaline of spending money or just the joy or getting something new. These people are likely to be inclined to tell people about it.

I do see it on Facebook and Twitter, where people take photos of their new gadget or shoes and tell their friends.

If I were in on-line retail, I’d want those shares to link back to that product page on my site.

The way I would do it is to add a “tell you friends” button on the transactional emails associated with that order: payment confirmation, delivery details, follow-up review request, etc. etc.

It maybe more popular to do from a mobile app that integrates use of the camera, eg: the Amazon app could do it and the paper work in the box would remind you to do it when you open it.

As far as email is concerned, providing the opportunity to do something someone is already motivated to do but also get the traffic to my site at the same time must be a good thing!
If someone doesn’t want to take a photo, doing it in a browser should be an easy and enjoyable experience using intergations from your site to the scoal networks using the site’s images to help.

If they do want a photo, a mobile app may well be the better way, but also to make it easy to get a photo from your computer to the share would also be s good idea.

One thing that springs to mind would be a link in an email saying “tell your friends” that click will take you to the product page on the site, then a light box pops up providing the opportunity to share, possibly with screenshots of how it would look on Facebook, G+ and twitter.

If this is not a new thing and I’m just in the dark a bit and anyone has seen this in action, please let me know.

 

 

How Google Plus can complete the Twitter Migration

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]google plus logoMany people seemed to think G+ was going to be a Facebook killer, the early adoption has actually seen a giant twitter migration and G+ has been hailed as the Facebook for business.

You can’t be surprised, Facebook is already set-up with our mates and GooglePlus has limited access so it’s no remotely encroaching on Facebook’s true social network. Subsequently it’s the tweeters who are taking it up and testing it out.

Currently due to the convenience, integration options and the fact that Tweets are so short, Twitter is surviving, however, Google could finish Twitter sooner rather than later…

 

All Google needs to do is create a 160 char interface for Google plus, linking back to the Google plus page for the longer posts; At the same time, allow the main Google Plus account to drag in tweets that can be sent out as a Gplus post and/or allow tweets to appear in the interface that could be re-shared Gplus posts.

Of course this could sound like a big job. After all twitter is a whole app on it’s own, separate from GooglePlus, this could mean that Google would have to write a whole other app on top, or does it?

No it doesn’t, Google already has a 160 char content feed, it’s just that no-one uses it – they called it Google-Buzz and it was Twitter without being Twitter. No-one actually uses it because there was no point at the time – we already had Twitter. But now it can have a use.

On Twitter, most people use Hootsuite or TweetDeck with a column for mentions, the main feed, DMs and then columns for certain lists and searches.

Imagine going to a page where you have a column of all of your circles’ content but just the 1st 140 chars  +  a link back to the full GooglePlus post on GooglePlus if it’s longer than 160 chars.

Then the ability to give each of your Google Circle it’s own column to aggregate the content so you know where to concentrate your time.

This way you can do the quick and easy twitter style use and you have an easy interface to find relevant content on Google plus. You can easily get into the main Google Plus interface to reed and put more of an elaboration in and they will be automatically picked up and feed out into the 160 char interface – not unlike sharing a blog comment through apps like Disqus.

 

If you like this idea and you want to be able to use Google Plus a bit more like Twitter: TELL GOOGLE about it now!
There is a Feedback Button on the bottom right of every Google Plus page, just hit it type in your needs a suggestions, hit preview then hit go -please make sure you are polite and constructive – the good people at Google are hard working people and if you want something from them, don’t kick the gift horse in the teeth – thanks you.

Google Circles aggregate content too

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]google plus logoAs I’ve already said, Google Plus is more for Twitter users than Facebook user at the moment because you are more likely to network at a business level than a close social level.

Subsequently when you start Google Plus and pile all of your mates from your email account into circles you then want to do the same with your tweeple, who you are not Facebook with.

This leaves with 2 circles of friends: Facebooky friends and family, Twitter industry mates and networks etc. Then I add people who are neither into a 3rd circle, like followers – 3 circles.

I then realise that some people from the industry are also friends but not on Facebook, so I’ve got another circle for Industry good friends, 4 circles.

I then realise that some of my industry friends are all about digital media in general but not about email, so I might want to throw all of the geeky email stuff to them, so I make another circle – 5 circles.

Then some of the people that are friends but also industry friends are colleagues, I don’t need to bombard them with all my email geek stuff, so I make another circle – 6 circles.

Then I realise that whilst I now have full control over who I send my content to, what about reading content?

I had twitter lists, to manage what I looked out for and to aggregate the right content to me, some public and some private.

I did have a list of people in digital media in Brighton, so I could pick some of that out of the mists of content, so I make another circle – 7 circles.

Then I find that Mashable have a news presence and as I had a list of digital media publishing on twitter I want that same aggregation in Google Plus, I make another circle – 8 circles.

Then I write a plus post and need to decide who to share it with…

It’s a really hard decision, you don’t want to give people irrelevant content but you don’t want them to miss out, so I sit there for ages and eventually, after checking twitter in between, I make it public!

This is what I think I need  from Google Circles

1. A better interface for managing these circles. If I decide to change people in circles I need to be able to filter the contents of some circles to see: only the ones that are not in other circles or ones that are in specific other circles.

2. I also want sub-circles, so instead of having people in duplicate circles I can put multiple circles into a parent circle, like all my work circles can be work, whether they are networking, friends, email, seo, etc OR if they are Friends circles, friends, family, acquaintances etc. That way when I  write something if it’s work, I can send to all work but if it’s social I can send it to friends, however if it relevant I can send social stuff to other industry bods in Brighton which would be a sub-circle of the work circle.

If you agree on this or have something similar in mind, please TELL GOOGLE about it. There is a feedback button on the bottom right of every page in Google Plus. Use it. Google want  to get and keep users, so right now, they are listening – make sure you are helpful and constructive and not critical and sarcastic!

Google Plus vs Twitter

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]google plus logoAs we all know by now Twitter is a micro-blogging service allow people to throw thoughts, statements and headlines with links in out at the twitter world for people who follow them to look read.

Those who read can then decide to get on with their life, reply to the sender or retweet to everyone else. They can also send that person a direct message – providing both users are following each other.

Why is this good? … Attention span is tiny!

It’s really easy to interact and visually filter out non-relevant information because the content is only up to 160 characters.

Publishers and bloggers have revelled in their Twitter glory – just read the Mashable Story to see how they would not be who they are today without Twitter.

Publishers and bloggers, publish a piece and tweet it to the world then get all of the traffic back to their site. It’s good for traffic and very good for SEO – for the moment.

The better bits get retweeted by readers and more people go and read and share and discuss – in 160 characters. Obviously most of the sites have their own comments section so and discussion can ensure from there, this can get tweeted and more traffic gets directed.

How does Google Plus Compare?

The main difference is obviously that you are not tied down to 160 characters. Also you can have images viewable in the G+ post page, any link you share will get a preview under your post and another big thing is that all comments appear below, like in a blog or in Facebook.

In fact it doesn’t sound anything like Twitter – but lots of people are saying that this will kill Twitter off? – It could but not in this state.

Right now Google plus is more like Facebook but for Twitter users. By that I mean that people hold their Facebook presence a bit more preciously than their Twitter. And the early adopters of Google Plus are people who network over twitter with their online world more than Facebook, which is more for family and friends to share photos, funny quips and the music videos.

Twitter is simply a way to SMS to a public forum, it’s a subject line and a call to action, it’s a glorified RSS feed with an easy sharing button to a central arena.

Twitter is so very convenient and to the point, the G+ interface does not satisfy the tiny attention spans of the masses who want just the buzz. Which brings me to my point about how Google can steel twitter from twitter and this time not die on their arses. Google have already created their own version of Twitter, they called is Buzz, you may have seen it before running away at how terrible it was. However, the frame work is there to give an nice easy & light twitter interface to G+.

In the grand scheme of things, Facebook is so very social, as in for mates, and not really for business – people who post status updates about work to a network full of family and friends, tedn not to get asked to parties; Linkedin is one big CV and job site now and twitter is too…tweety, Google plus will be a Twitterer’s Facebook.

If that actually works out there will be room for Facebook and Google Plus in our lives – that would be weird.