Google+ is Google’s latest attempt to build a social networking site that will rival Facebook – and their initial efforts suggest they are likely to meet with some measure of success.
Launched just a week ago, Google+ is still in a limited trial. Invitations were sent to prominent tech and social media influencers who then invited some of us regular folks.
Given that the traffic seems to have slowed recently, I suspect more invites will be forthcoming soon. You can request one here.
Google+ vs Facebook and Twitter
The one aspect of Google+ that most differentiates it from Facebook is how Google is openly asking for feedback from within the Google+ site. Since Google is also being responsive, this evidently explains why they had to release it to a limited (and manageable) crowd.
In addition to that, there are Googlers (Google staff) actively using Google+. This transparency is very humanizing, and quite a contrast with Facebook. While I don’t know any of these folks personally, I can follow their comments much as one could on Twitter.
That combination of public following with personal interaction is taking the best of Twitter and Facebook to create a uniquely attractive social network.
Real People Mingling with Their Customers
Suddenly, Facebook feels like a big stuffy corporation, with behemoth Google suddenly becoming the friendly folks that you want to mingle with.
Facebook has a history of surprising its users with changes, and slowly responding to the backlash. Google is not only listening, but doing so from within their own site.
Much as you and I can best listen to our clients by getting out from behind our desks and into the communities we serve, Google is doing the same within Google+. This is really creating an atmosphere of trust that will be essential for Google+ to rival Facebook.
Hanging Out on the Front Porch
Social media works best when it closely emulates human behavior – and that includes how we interact. Long before technology, many of us recall just hanging out on the front porch. Google+ includes a cool feature called Hangouts that comes very close to this.
So, if you happen to stroll by a group of your friends or followers on Google+ who are hanging out, you can either keep on going or drop in and join them. This is exactly what Facebook was trying to accomplish with the new Facebook groups, but it just never caught on.
Facebook groups are clunky. The ongoing interaction is via an email notification. Whereas, hanging out on Google+ is much like it would be in real life – a short term interaction with a definite beginning and ending.
Look for more to come on this. I hope more of you can snag an invite soon, as I’m confident you’ll discover Google+ to be a refreshing new take on social networking.
Until then, make it a habit to actively listen to your clients to enhance their experience in working with you and your small business.
Here’s a little preview of Google+
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Enjoy your weekend, Jeff