Google + is all the rage. Or is it?
These days, I’m spending the majority of my time helping people learn about social media. I’m not teaching them how to tweet (they pretty much figure that out for themselves), but I’m teaching them how to more effectively use social media as a part of their overall marketing and communications strategy. I’m talking to individuals, small business owners, comms teams in corporations and public servants. Most of the people I’m teaching are coming in with many years of previous experience at marketing and communications. They are taking courses because their jobs are changing, and they need to learn about this fundamental shift in how people connect, communicate and share information and how it impacts the way they work.
It’s not about the tools. Until it is.
Many of the people I am working with are NOT early adopters. They certainly aren’t super duper early adopters like me, and many of my colleagues and friends (whom I affectionately refer to as “Social Media Geeks”.)
Non-early adopters are the vast majority of people. Social Media Geeks are not.
And because of this, the vast majority are coming to my classes because they want to learn the more mainstream tools…blogging, podcasting, Twitter, Facebook, and video. Google + has barely entered their lexicon at this point.
Yes, the early adopters and “experts” will tell us that Google + already has 50 million users. Yes, they tell us that it handles privacy and filtering and search SO much better than Facebook. They will tell us we’d better hurry up and get on board because we don’t want to miss the steam train that is Google +.
I call shenanigans.
The truth is, there are 750 million more people on Facebook than Google +. There are 150 million more people on Twitter than Google +. It’s true, some of my students’ audiences may be hanging out on Google +. But MOST of their audiences are still on those other tools, and they are there in a big, big way.
And even with all the features and benefits and potential of Google + as a platform, it’s not there yet. It’s not mainstream. It’s not where the vast majority of the non-early adopter community are focused.
You want my advice? Spend your time with the platforms and tools that already have some best practices. Spend your time where people have already run some successful campaigns. Build a body of amazing content on your home base (your web site or blog) and then find your audience on the outpost tools (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and find ways to link those two.
Don’t forget about Google + though, because it does have potential to be a contender in time. Do take the time now to explore the platform. Set up a profile, and do a bunch of searches, and find people having interesting conversations and get involved. At this point, it’s a great listening and learning tool. It’s just not quite yet the business communication powerhouse some would have you believe.
What it comes down to is this – if you shift gears away from the platforms that the VAST MAJORITY of people are still using to focus your efforts on the new shiny thing that is Google +, then you run the risk of missing out on the opportunities that the tried, tested and true platforms still offer.