I have been amazed by the recent onslaught of Google+ articles circulating. It seems everyone is anticipating that this platform will be the new IT thing. As Principal at SocialNicole, I have many clients and colleagues asking me what I think about Google+. My response is simple—not much. Ok, not really. If you know me, you know I have more to say than two words about any topic, and the same goes for Google+. I think right now many people have been diagnosed with the infamous “shiny object syndrome.” As the latest social network to pop up, it allows users to do things differently than they can on Facebook, Twitter or other social channels. Not only is it exciting, but it may also appear that everyone is doing it. However, the fact is that everyone is not doing it—at least not yet. As one colleague on Twitter stated the other day, “Google+ only has 20 million users.” To the untrained eye, 20 million may seem like a lot of users. However, you must take into account that there are over 700 million users on Facebook, over 200 million users on Twitter and over 100 million users on LinkedIn. Compared to the numbers these top social dogs project, 20 million is hardly significant. Don’t get me wrong, Google+ is building some momentum as early adopters are flocking to check out the latest and greatest shiny object. But the real question still remains: Can Google+ build and retain a sustainable and loyal audience base? With an already overstimulated social media population, it can be a challenge to get users to wholeheartedly adopt yet another social network. How about those of us who do not necessarily eat, sleep and breathe social media and digital communications on a daily basis? Currently, Facebook has the numbers—and let’s face it, people want to be where everyone else is. Again, this is not to say I don’t like Google+ or that it isn’t providing options that Facebook has yet to provide. But let’s be real—Facebook has more money than God and approximately 680 million more users than Google+. This advantage gives them the ability to make changes to their own platform and do it well. So, back to the question: What do I think about Google+? From a social media strategist perspective I tell people, “Set up a personal account, play and pay attention. But don’t integrate it immediately into your marketing strategy.” It is not only too early in the game, but also not proven thus far. The best thing businesses can do right now is sit back, listen to their audience, pay close attention to what they want and continue to explore. When will the right time be to implement it into your strategy? The answer may vary from business to business, or the answer may simply be “never”—for all we know, Google+ could disappear as quickly as it appeared.
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