Google Plus and the Tumbleweeds

Aside from being a horrible band name, the title of this post will, in my opinion, become more misleading over time. Google+ has yet to “catch on” as a go to social medium, but it is increasing. Slowly and steadily. The mobile app is probably the best of all of the major social media heavy hitters. The website version has gone through too many changes to bother keeping up with. Besides, users are moving away from desktop and over to mobile, though there is still a long way to go (most sites I run are between 10% – 30% mobile usage).

If you run a company or non-profit website and the social media associated with it, you’ve probably asked yourself more than once “should I bother with Google+?”. My answer is “yes”, but with a boatload of caveats. As far as marketing goes, just because it’s Google means we have to at least check it out. Not everything Google does is good or permanent. Google Buzz was awkward and not very intuitive. Google Reader was much loved by a small crowd who cried like babies when their candy was taken away. Google+ has now outgrown the shadow of Google Buzz if not in actual life span, then at least in commitment from Google to promote and improve it. The fact that it’s tied in with other Google services like search, places and maps reinforce the perceived commitment and make it a valuable additional tool for SEO/SEM.

If you’re like me, and already comfortable with your main set of social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and a few others I’m dabbling in), then the thought of adding another, possibly major SocMed app to your routine sounds as enticing as a warm beer (no offense to the British).

What I did to get over that was to add a few recurring events in my (Google) calendar that remind me to go play with the new kid down the street once a week. My hope is that I will develop my circles in a way that’s similar to my Twitter lists, and that my overall collection of friends and pages will be similar to my Facebook set. I expect the audience, and therefore my message to be different because of the relatively low usage. Those that will hear me on Google+ will be a much different breed than my average Twitter follower or Facebook friend. They will be there for reasons that have nothing to do with me, and will probably interact with me in a completely different way than they would on Twitter or Facebook.

When I add a new tool to the collection, I need to remember that each tool is used differently even if for much the same task. Finding the correct voice for my audience on any given medium takes time and trial and error, but once I figure it out, I can comfortably use the tool and expand my reach on that platform.