Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

What’s the Plus? Giving Google Plus a second fair chance

March 29th, 2012 by

what the plus guy kawasaki
I’m used to the idea that most of the people I personally know aren’t interacting in new platforms. That has never stopped me from being among the first to try.
When Google launched Google+ I was there anticipating that Google must have done it right this time . It was more than three years ago when I suggested that Google will “pagerank” and “map” peoples influence.
The feature that attracted my attention at that time was the ability to select the people who I want to share my ideas with.
As a very private person, I keep Facebook and Twitter as professional networks only, giving up the opportunity to have any personal interactions.
Only, that never happened in Google+: My personal friends are yet to come. They are too busy networking in Facebook.
Looking at my professional connections, most of them gave Google+ a chance and kept updating for two months (most of them survived until August), while the more devoted ones continued interacting until the beginning of this year.
I can’t say that I wasn’t impressed with the success of some of my influencer contacts as +Guy Kawasaki and +Robert Scoble (1.6; 1.1 million circles respectively). They have succeeded to scale their interactions in a way that no platform enabled them so far.
Guy Kawasaki has just published a new instructional book; What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us.
As I’ve always trusted Guy’s insights, and realizing that his large number of circles enables him to see what the rest of us can’t, I’ve decided to start from the beginning, learn his recommendations, and share some practical suggestions.

8 ideas and suggestions taken from “What the Plus!” by Guy Kawasaki

1. Guy has emailed me his first advise saying-

“you should make the pictures in your Scrapbook better. They are pixelated–and I think it should be pictures, not text.”

So I did.
I’ve chosen images of mobile innovations that I’m currently researching.

2. Focus of attention

“Twitter for perspectives, Facebook for people, and Google+ for passions”.

3. Searching for people by interests:

A. “You can enter keywords that describe your interests and passions. For example, try words such as “knitting,” “photography,” “adoption,” “Notre Dame,” “Macintosh,” and “football.” A word like “adoption” is used in many contexts such as babies, pets, and new products, so the more “niche” the term, the better”.
B. “Shared-circle search. You can search for every kind of shared circle by typing in “shared a circle with you” including the quotation marks in the Google+ search bar. (Hat-tip to Mike Elgan for this idea.) This will display all the circles that people have recently shared”.

4. Searching for interesting content

A. “What’s hot.”Google compiles content that is “exemplary, interesting, and appropriate” to show you “serendipitous and diverse information.” You get to it by clicking on “What’s hot” in the left sidebar”.
B. Search with hashtags: “Search for “#” followed by the keywords that describe topics that interest you. You’ll see that Google+ autocompletes hashtags to help you discover which tags to use. When you create a hashtag search (or any other search) that you like, click on “Save this search,” and it will be saved in the left sidebar for you to access in the future”.

5. Sharing statistics:

“Google provides eye candy called Ripples to show how people have shared public posts. Click on the arrow in the upper-right corner of a post and select “View Ripples.” You’ll see a cool graphic depicting the recent and public shares of your post, including the people who did the sharing. Google+ displays the amount of sharing plotted against time underneath the circles, some stats on the people who shared it and the language they used. To use the information from Ripples- you can circle someone who shared your posts with a large number of people. You can study the Ripples of other people to see who effectively shares their posts. Then you can circle these über-sharers and try to engage them, too”.

6. Photo editing:

“The Creative Kit enables you to enhance your photo using basic techniques such as cropping, ex- posure adjustment, and color correction, as well as adding text. Google also provides thematic special effects such as hats, spiders, and ornaments during holidays such as Halloween or Christmas”.

7. Running a poll on Google+:
Guy presents a poll creation procedure:

A: Write your question, and then include text along the lines of “+1 your choice in the comments below.”
B: Share the post.
C: Add comments on the posts that are choices. Do this quickly. You don’t want anyone else to comment before you.
D: Disable comments on the post.

8. Posting on multiple services:

“If cross-posting appeals to you (it’s what I do), then you have to add functionality to your browser via Chrome extensions”. Guy uses SGPlus extention:
“Enables you to share on Google+ and have your post appear on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It will also display your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn streams inside your Google+ stream.”

(Note that there isn’t a way to share from Facebook or Twitter to Google+.)

My Conclusions:

1. “Whats the Plus” is a great practical resource for first time users: it helps you increase your circles of people and interests. It meets users once again as it helps them manage their network and gain more meaningful interactions.

2. Was I persuaded?
I have decided to give Google+ another try.
Reading Guy’s book and further researching its potential, I’ve found myself writing to the social media manager of a leading tech university whom I conduct research for and advise on social media strategy – that we should re-discuss the potential of Google+ and create a stage to engage with their research professors (who we currently miss completely in other platforms). Private oriented professionals seem to find in Google plus some peace.

So maybe Google+ does hold a future as an updated social version of “Google groups” for those who share similar passions?

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5 Responses

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