Really, Google? Yet Another Damn Social Network?
“Damn. Now I have to engage in yet another social network?”
I know. That shouldn’t be my first reaction to reading positive reviews of Google+, Google’s new social media platform set for public release within weeks.
As a PR professional, I’m supposed to embrace groundbreaking social networking platforms with open arms. And Google+ really does look like it may be the next big thing.
But I’m more anxious than excited. I already spend an hour each day on Twitter and Facebook. I write a daily blog. I run a business. I try to spend quality time each evening with the lovely Mrs. Media Training. And I try to sneak in a few hours of sleep each night. So where, exactly, am I supposed to find time to nourish yet another social network?
After freaking out for a few minutes, I paused and remembered my standard advice regarding new social networks. Turns out, it applies to Google+ as well. So before you get nervous about the implications of Google+ on your time, consider these seven points:
1. Determine Your Strategy: Many organizations have a limited communications staff that can’t possibly do everything. Before investing hours of time on Google+, review your communications strategy. Given the demands on your limited time, determine the activities that will provide the greatest return. Remember that Google+ is a tactic, not a strategy – so make sure your investment of time in Google+ is truly the best use of your energy.
2. Identify Your Audience: The goal of all marketing is to reach your targets where they are. If they watch television, you run a TV ad. If they drive to work on I-95, you post a billboard. If they use Facebook, you run a keyword ad. The same is true with Google+. If your audience isn’t likely to be there right away, you don’t have to leap in at the very beginning. Sure, it’s nice to be an early adopter – but not if doing so comes at the cost of more valuable communications strategies.
3. Specialize: I’ve long believed that it’s better to develop a limited number of high-quality networks than to try to be everywhere at once. Once you’ve identified the platforms your audiences use most, invest the majority of your time there. For example, I’ve made the decision to use Twitter and Facebook most. That means I don’t invest much time in StumbleUpon and Digg. Does that cost me hits? Sure. But I can’t do everything well, and have made a defined and strategic choice.
4. Capture Your Name: Even if you decide not to jump into Google+ right away, log in and grab your username immediately. Better to have it and never use it than to find it gone when you’re ready. (Note: Google+ has not opened to the general public yet, but is expected to do so within weeks.)
5. Allow People Into Your Network: If people request to become part of your network, let ‘em in. That will allow you to have a base from which to begin once you decide to include Google+ as part of your communications strategy.
6. Maintain a Limited Presence: I imagine that HootSuite, TweetDeck, or some other platform will eventually allow you to post to Google+ at the same time you post to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. If it’s as easy as a button click, there’s little harm in adding your posts to Google+.
7. Monitor and Prepare to Dive In: Monitor your audiences regularly. Are you noticing a groundswell of people joining? Are people talking about you on Google+? If the answer to either question is yes, it’s probably time to jump in.
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