Five Reasons Businesses Shouldn’t Jump to Google+

» Posted by on Jul 20, 2011 in Marketing | 0 comments

(At least not this month.)

By Miriam McNabb

Spalding Barker review Google+

Spalding Barker review Google+

We can admit it – we’re struggling.  It’s Facebook.  As hard as we try, Facebook is just plain a pain in the neck to explain to business owners – and it’s been a pain in the neck for us, too.  We’ve struggled with getting our blog posts to link directly to our business page instead of our personal page, to not have a personal presence (Harry) but maintain a business presence, to get our Facebook page not to look ugly… all of those things.

We’re not alone.  Chris Brogan, Google+’s new champion, has posted repeatedly about the limitations of Facebook for businesses (or personalities that represent businesses.)  Now he says he’s “obsessed” with Google+ , and I think that I can see why.  With Google+ circles, Chris Brogan is not limited to 5,000 “friends” – if you really want to define “friends” as “people who want to learn stuff.”  Not exactly “followers” either – because then you’ve got to maintain a separate page for that – and it gets really messy if you want to introduce a new topic to the group of “people who are interested in what you have to say but don’t necessarily qualify as friends.”  Oy.

I think it goes back to the really good thing about Facebook.  It wasn’t actually designed for businesses.

That being said, Facebook has left a gaping hole for Google to fill, and they’ve got shovels at the ready.  While Google+ for business has not even been released yet – for that matter, Google+ for consumers hasn’t actually been released yet -there have been a lot of articles about its potential for business. (Check out this article from PCWorld on how business might need to react, or this one  for some more feature rundowns.)

At SpaldingBarker, we’re taking a wait and see approach.  It’s easy to do – there isn’t any other option!  But here are some other reasons why business should stick with Facebook for now.

1)       Back away from the edge.  When I was selling software, we referred to it as “bleeding edge technology.”  The Google+ app for iPhone is already the top free app, but according to early reviews like this one from Technorati, it’s got a few bugs to work out.  Google+ is in beta and isn’t available yet for business – IMHO, they’ve probably got a reason for that.

2)       Volume.  Google+ is growing unbelievably fast – 18 million as of my last reading – but 750 million is still a big number to catch up to.

3)       Inertia.  Maybe I’m lazy, but I just don’t think you can discount inertia.  There will be a lot of early adopters – technology people who can’t wait to get in on the wave and try out Google+.  But there will be a lot more people – maybe your customers – who like touching base with their friends on Facebook and are really comfortable there.  They’ve set up their pages, learned how to put up pictures and videos, and they’re not anxious to change any time soon.

4)       Circles.  Yes, I know, it’s on the “good things about Google+” list too.  But circles mean people have a lot more discretion about who they consider a real “friend.”  You may need some time to ramp up your customer relation strategy before you qualify.  Facebook allows more “mass messaging” at the moment, which as a business may be important.

5)       Advertising.  If you’re using Facebook advertising, you need to go back to 2) Volume.  The numbers are the numbers.

Google+ looks pretty exciting, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they’ve got – when they’ve got it.  But for now, I think there are good reasons to explore Google+ on a personal level, but keep your business on Facebook.

To learn more about Spalding Barker Strategies, visit our homepage or Contact Us to see how we can help your business.

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