Google Plus: The Just In Case Network

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Google Plus. Some love it, some hate it, and quite a few are still trying to figure out what it is. Google’s much beleaguered social network has been overwhelmingly unimpressive. What is impressive: The strong opinions many have espoused.

Launched in June of 2011, Google+ now boasts an impressive 400 million users, 100 million of which are active every day. Granted, it still lags behind Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but 400 million users is nothing to sneeze at. I’m pretty sure we’d all be doing backflips if we had that kind of monthly traffic. However, there does seem to be a strange disconnect between the sheer volume of users and vocal few who seek to malign it.

Why are so many people, especially social media aficionados, using a social network that they spend so much time complaining about? Or worse, that they find irrelevant and predict will ultimately fail? Why bother to cultivate a presence if you believe it is a waste of time? I have a theory. That theory has its own acronym: JIC. Just In Case. Just in case Google can pull off this social media experiment. Just in case Google was right and social signals translate to more meaningful search results.

Google has a track history of doing the improbable, the unthinkable. Case in point, the very word “Google”. It has evolved from a noun to a verb. We don’t search, we google. Google is synonymous with search. It is part of our vocabulary. Google is a search powerhouse. We are tantalized by the SEO possibilities. Do you really want to ignore what could mean the difference between life and death for your online presence? Neither do I…….just in case.

Recognizing that it would be foolhardy to ignore Google, I have a suggestion for Google. Give us something that will make Google+ indispensable. Something so inherently useful that we wouldn’t dream of looking for the next great thing in social media. Something that would make us circle with glee. Give us Venn Diagrams. Yep, I said it. Math geeks rejoice. Venn-Diagram functionality in our circles. The ability to automatically create new circles based on the intersection of existing circles. For example, I could take my “Believers” circle, my “Women of G+” cirlce and my “Social Media” circle, see where they overlap and create a new circle, “Social Media Women Who Are Believers”! Genius.

Such a simple concept, yet so incredibly useful that its hard to believe they have not done it yet. In that I’m a “cup half full” kind of gal, I have faith that they will eventually give us what we need. In the meantime, I’ll do it manually….just in case.

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Kimberly Reynolds
Kimberly Reynolds is a social media and mobile marketing consultant that transforms ordinary websites into powerful marketing machines.  A serial entrepreneur since she was 12, selling books door-to-door, she now trains small business owners on how to leverage social media and the mobile web to attain financial freedom.  If you are interested in how to use social media to outshine your competition, visit her website for a free social media analysis and social media training. Also, visit her on Google.
Kimberly Reynolds
Kimberly Reynolds
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  1. I REEAAALLLY want G+ to work and be relevant. I like it's mobile app so much better than Facebook. Google is integrated with just about everything, but yet, their social media platform just isn't used that much. I'm holding out hope….."just in case" as you are.

    But ultimately, I'm just not sure they will make it…

    • [email protected] says:

      I think that Google has shown to be responsive to what works. I doubt that they will scrap G+ altogether, but they may end up doing a major overhaul. I do believe they will keep improving it until it works.

  2. I want G+ to work out as well. With that said I think it's more than a "just in case" network. Even though G+ can't compare to Twitter and Facebook in active users, the users on G+ are extremely engaging. G+ is a network that is being underutilized by most people right now (including myself). I like G+ more and more each day…

    • [email protected] says:

      That is what I mean by JIC. It IS being underutilized. People are making a perfunctory effort so they have their bases covered, but they are not really embracing what could be.

  3. Mark Longbottom says:

    Are they really active users though, or people who opened other Google accounts/profiels and have now a G+ account they never use. Let's be honest is anyone really talking about G+ apart from Google, what i love ost are the people who said a year a go you'll need to be active to help your SEO. There must be well over 5 zillion websites that seem to be be doing fine without bothering :)

    It's a nice concept but unused and likely to carry one that way, it was nice how when launched Google gave Facebook the push they needed. Even Linked in has updated it's interface now, they're all developing and sadly G+ like Microsft may have money but are way behind and that's just fact.

    • djthistle says:

      Agreed Mark. What I'm saying is that the small percent of people who are loyal to G+ are being overlooked. Because G+ is not saturated with noise you can effectively and efficiently reach a new group of people.

      • Mark Longbottom says:

        True, but are they new or just people you know who are on other platforms anyway? Just been devils advocate, but then again most people have their connected communities and they aren't likely to be that different on another platform [G+] that more or less does what all the others do. I think we know the reason the tech and marketing people are there but the real people just didn't bother one bit with it.

    • [email protected] says:

      You cannot discount the value of your social network on Google. When your friends perform a search, the results are based upon what their network has endorsed (assuming they are logged in). From that standpoint, it is absolutely changing the SEO landscape.

      • Mark Longbottom says:

        Good point but then Google and it's 'Bubble' are not always providing me with the search i am looking for, as often they give me what they think i need based on previous searches. hence a need to clear history and to not be logged in so that i may find things that I am searching for, usually because i don't know what they are – reason for searching. Outside of that I have very well connected communities on other platforms that can also provide me with trusted, respected answers to my search from a loyalty basis. That's not to say it isn't happening on G+ though and as a platform it has all the benefits of the others, but for me personally less of the people I want to interact with. I am not here to be anti G+, I personally hear no emphatic buzz or groundswell of interest from anywhere i look – that's an honest opinion not one that aims to gain or lose.

  4. Mallie Hart says:

    I actively use Google+ and just like any other platform, you get out of it what you put into it. Just going to randomly post links of little value, simply to show you're posting? You'll get little of value in return. Post good links with a "purpose" – i.e. tell folks why you're linking, and you'll see interactions rise. I have had some great discussions via Google+ where the same topic on FB garnered blank stares.

  5. Kittie Walker says:

    To add my 2 cents worth. I love G+ and wish that I could spend more time there, but my audience/clients are just not over there!

    I've had some amazing conversations with people that I do not interact with on any other network. The conversations and less superficial interactions that you happen upon are what makes it a special social media platform, at the moment.

    And where else, when procrastinating one rainy afternoon, could I have beaten Michael Dell at Bejeweled? lol

    Great article Kim, perhaps we should start a petition for Venn diagrams :)

    • [email protected] says:

      Hi Kittie! This is why I do love G Plus: I recently started doing the #SM for a coffee fundraiser. Who is my target market? Soccer moms, PTO parents, youth coaches. It was so, so easy to simply do a search for "circle share ___" and find the exact people I am looking to reach. I love that!!

  6. The surprise card that Google holds is that they control search so it's easy for them to make Google+ rank well and show up well which will make Google+ a necessity. That has already begin to happen and when you look at where Google was in Social Media Google+ is doing as well as can be expected against the Juggernaut that is FaceBook. And Google has the money and determination to hang in there against FaceBook. So unless they decide to jump ship as they did with their other attempts Google+ can only grow and as they weave it more and more into all their other services it will be impossible to escape using it some much as FaceBook isn't an option now it's a necessity. Google+ will be the same with the weight of Google behind it for just as an avalanche stops for nothing Google+ will do the same once it reaches critical mass.

    • [email protected] says:

      I agree 1,000% …and then I agree some more!

  7. "over 5 zillion websites that seem to be be doing fine without" Someone must not have heard about penguin or panda updates :)

    I love Gplus… Obviously. 2.2 million followers will do that to you. What you put into it is what you get out of it. Time and effort is required with no API… and thats just too much effort for many 'marketers' right now :)

    • [email protected] says:

      Well, now you are up to 2.2 million plus 1! You are absolutely right. The lack of a usable API has definitely been a deterrent to marketers that limit themselves to automated interaction. Whatever you are doing on G+, you are doing right. Kudos to you.

  8. Great post Kimberly. I receive many inbound calls from Google+ every week. People often cooment that there are not many users on G+, but I have managed to bring most of my audience there. It is great that there are fewer people because that means a lot less clutter…. no one misses what I post there! :)

  9. [email protected] says:

    Good point Kellie. Also, it has a different feel to it. My network on Facebook tends to be very liberal, whereas on G+, my network is more in sync with my personal philosophy…they tend to be more conservative. I enjoy both conversations, but I find my time on G+ to be much more productive…professionally and personally.

  10. Great post Kim, I use G+, somewhat limited and see it's value however it is certainly not of the fb nature, no complaints.

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