If you are being strategic about your internet marketing, then you are likely engaged or at least aware of all the social networks out there for you to put your brand and attempt to engage with your potential customers. Most of you ask if it’s worth putting in all the effort for so many different profiles and trying to reach your audience all over the place. However, unlike almost all the other networks that Google (or anyone else really) has tried to push out (Google Wave anyone?), Google+ actually makes social networking interesting again. So how did they do this, why does it matter and how to benefit from it?
How They Do It
Google really ramped up their war chest of developers for Google+ and it shows, not only is it an extremely powerful platform but they are constantly pushing new updates to it to make it better all the time. They also took the time to think about how to make the most compelling experience they could by taking what makes Twitter interesting, what makes Facebook dominant and how to make a really unique social experience.
The term “game mechanics” is thrown around far too often in startups, especially if you watch any of the TechCrunch Disrupt conferences “We are going to take game mechanics to badges and FarmVille your friends for profit and lulz”. But Google+ really does take just enough elements of true game mechanics that make the users actually feel good when new people add them to their circles.
Why It Matters
Why does it matter that Google found a way to make game mechanics meaningful in a social network that isn’t a Zynga brainchild? ENGAGEMENT. While Google+ is still invite only (don’t have one? let me know in the comments what your gmail is and I’ll invite you) so it has small, but rabid user base. TechCrunch has Google+ showing up in their top 10 referring sites regardless of the fact that their Google+ presence is 1/10th the size of their Twitter and Facebook connections.
The Benefit (and how to get Google+ users right now)
Besides the obvious perk of more traffic, it’s important to grow your audience in Google+ because people will engage with your content. This extension of your conversation is great for you because when people comment and “+1” your posts it will resurface the content in your audiences feed so the conversation doesn’t die as easily as it does on Facebook and Twitter.
The important thing to note here however is that you don’t want to put all your eggs in the Google+ basket because you don’t own it like you do your Aweber list, and while Google+ is awesome today – social networks can come and go, but you need to own the rights to your hard work and be able to help them engage across any contemporary platform in the future.
(Pro Tip: Add a P.S. with a link to your Google+ profile in your next email blast and watch your follower count go up)
If you are already on Google+, what are your thoughts? If you aren’t and need an invite just let me know in the comments.