If you’re a harried business owner or marketing manager, I bet the last thing you want to hear about is some new social network that you absolutely must get involved in.
Therefore, it pains me to say this, but here goes: There’s a new social ‘thing’ that you must get involved with. It’s called Google+, and I think it’s a serious threat to Twitter and Facebook. Here’s why:
1. Google+ offers Facebook users a chance to press the ‘reset’ button. CNN.com ran an interesting article about Google+ last week that said many Facebook users are unhappy with their profiles. The reason? Many Facebook users are “friends” with people that they’re really not friends with, i.e. old high school pals, former co-workers, etc. There’s been a lot of social pressure to become “Facebook friends” in years past, and now some people see Google+ as a way to escape those people politely.
2. Google+ offers more privacy controls than Facebook. If you ask me, what killed MySpace (and boosted Facebook) was that MySpace was a free-for-all. Anyone and everyone could tag your wall, which meant spammers had a field day. Facebook offered people more control over their wall than MySpace, so consumers made the switch. Following that trend, Google+ offers more levels of privacy control than Facebook…and some of them have already made the switch.
3. Many in the tech community love Google+, and they’re the trendsetters. Google+ has had 10 million users join in about 2 weeks, and it’s hard to find a person in the web industry that isn’t at the very least impressed. With promises of more innovation on the way, Google+ has the hearts of the tech elite…the very same people that design consumer software, build popular websites, etc.
4. It’s not just a social network. A lot of people hear “social network” and tune out, but Google+ isn’t just a way to organize your photos and wish people a happy birthday: it’s a great communications tool. Much like Twitter, it’s easy to share links. Much like Facebook, it’s easy to vote for things you like.
5. It’s tied into Google.com. As if you didn’t already have a good reason to check out Google+, consider this: It’s directly tied into Google.com. If you want to influence the Google search results of friends and acquaintances, you need to get on Google+, invite these people into your circles, then start voting for the content you want them to see. It’s really that simple.
6. Business profiles are coming. Google+ is limited to individuals right now, but it’s likely that businesses will be able to create profiles in a few weeks. At that point, I wholeheartedly encourage business owners, marketing managers, etc. to jump into Google+ with both feet.
7. Twitter is in trouble. Twitter has a lot of the same problems MySpace had just before it died:
- Spam is rampant – I can’t tell you how many bogus profiles I see every day
- Everyone is talking, but no one is listening
- Anyone and everyone can tweet at you, which means spammers are having a field day
- The Twitter churn rate is rumored to be very high
- During Twitter’s heydays of 2009 and 2010, growth was flat
If there is a network that’s going to kill Twitter, I think it’s Google+. Google+ allows people to follow anyone they want, but unlike Twitter it’s very difficult to spam some stranger with a invitation to “make money at home” on Google+.
Google+ Prediction: At the very least, a profile on Google+ will be important for SEO reasons. The ability to vote for content you like – and then see these votes influence the search results of people in your network – is reason enough for business owners to participate. But considering the rapid growth and numerous positive reviews, I’d say Google+ is a serious threat to Facebook and a very dangerous threat to Twitter.