I recently had the opportunity to visit Google at Ann Arbor Michigan to speak with Kristoffer Sorensen about many great and powerful Google secrets – ok, there really wasn’t any secrets; but, it was still informative and entertaining. We did talk about several things; but, the one I’d like to talk about is Google+ Pages.
Disclaimer: I wanted to name them Fluffy Samurai Bunnies of BBQ Death but they said that FSBBBBQD wasn’t sexy enough.
By now most everyone who is involved with Google+ has either seen or owns a Google Plus Page. Have you thought about what you could really do with it though? Have you sat down with your Teddy Chipper Wood Chipper and sliced apart these pages into happy little bits? Probably not since at first glance they do seem kind of boring at face value. Since you haven’t tossed Google+ Pages into the ole creative wood chipper and turned them into mulch for your latest brand identity project then open your minds and prepare to have some creamy nougatty goodness poured directly into them.
For the purposes of illustration I’m going to make up a fictional product owned by 42wd Publishing.
The Morning Meeting
Me: What’s this on my desk?
Team: It’s underpants.
Me: Underpants? Have you guys finally lost it?
Team: No, it’s Phase 1.
Me: Phase 1?
Team: No, that’s Phase 2 and Phase 3 is profit.
Me: Have you guys been watching South Park again?
Team [hanging heads]: No, Google+
Me: Seriously, what’s this?
Team: It’s the Wonder Widget and we need you to make it sell.
Me: And do you have a plan?
Team: Yes, Facebook! and Twitter, we can’t forget Twitter! That’s they way we’re supposed to
do it right?!
Me: Did you forget about Google Plus Pages?
The Fall of Facebook and Twitter
OK, maybe not.
I won’t pretend that Google+ Pages is going to kill Facebook or Twitter as viable inbound marketing solutions, in fact, I kind of hope it doesn’t so that all three are forced to continue to improve to be able to compete. Ideally, each would take a particular section of inbound marketing and specialize in it in such a way that designers, brand engineers, marketers, what have you, can leverage that aspect to its fullest potential but we know that’s not going to happen. What is going to happen is that Twitter and Facebook are going to have to take a deep long look at themselves.
Twitter will probably be least impacted if it holds in the micro announcement social network. After all, most people go to Twitter for really quick reads and some engagement. I’m not saying Google+ won’t incorporate something like this but I haven’t seen anything to indicate it. Engagement seems to be the most important element to Google Plus and it appears to be what they are driving at.
Facebook will have to take note and attempt to contend with Google Plus Business Pages. Doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of Facebook or not you have to acknowledge that it has some pretty significant issues when it comes to its brand pages. Right now it doesn’t have to worry too much about fixing things, making them generally better or anything else like that because Facebook currently doesn’t have any real competition. That will be changing with Google+ Business Pages.
The Third Greatest Story Ever Told
Well at least it’s a pretty common story told.
The Consumer – I’m so sick of getting spammed by the Widget Factory. I like their crap and all but they’re stepping on my LOL Cats damn it! [unlike]
The Brand – We need more money. Keep throwing money at it. Give me a great strategy to get our brand out to as many people who want to actually know about it. Give me a great strategy that will encourage people to like us without having to spam them. We’re killing our brand loyalty with all this spam. Is there something besides Facebook? Is there a way we can encourage interest without spam? Is there a way we can accurately target our interest brand audience?
As a consumer and a brand creator I’m frankly sick of the brand spam. I personally typically buy what I like / want / need at the moment; but, there are some brands that I’m fiercely loyal to. I follow these brands around the web constantly looking for new information on them. I follow them on different social networks and inevitably I find myself weighing the spam versus my loyalty to the brand. Frankly, getting rid of the spam eventually becomes my goal, doesn’t matter how loyal I am to the brand. With Facebook there isn’t really a way not to spam your audience.
Using Google Plus Brand Pages
They’re transformers, more than meets the eye.
Imagine if you can a world where you and your team can freely share their experiences as human beings about your brand. Imagine if you will and audience that wants to be directly involved with your brand. Image getting that elusive audience of targeted consumers for free.
Well when Google+ Pages are released you won’t have to image. From my understanding, we will have a platform that we can leverage in a way that we, as designers, marketers, inbound marketers, social media gurus, brand professionals and, well, pretty much whoever can figure out a way to use it.
Like Google+ itself, Google Plus Pages looks to provide a platform that will allow maximum flexibility to allow creative uses to draw in targeted audience. Targeted audiences that companies would normally have to spend large sums of money on to get access to. Based on Ripples, it seems that there will be built in analytics. Useful analytics that currently aren’t available anywhere else. I’m itching to get my hands on the analytics stuff.