This is a different take on why Google+ matters.
To me, it’s not about the features, Facebook, or anything else out there. It’s about you.
Since my initial Google+ introduction and invitation on Wednesday, I’ve been researching, discussing, and thinking about how it can be utilized by businesses and leaders. My goal was to write a definitive post on why Google+ matters and why my fellow 8pm Warriors should get on it.
Unfortunately, the more I researched, the more I realized it wasn’t the features that mattered. There was a bigger reason to join…
There are many “Top Reasons to Try Google+” lists out there already, but given that both Facebook and Google have plans to continue changing things (Facebook adds Skype next week), these lists will be obsolete in a couple months, if not weeks.
For me, there is only one simple reason that you as a leader need to join Google+ and it goes to the heart of leadership itself:
Leaders must lead, not follow.
When there is a new frontier and a new opportunity to be a pioneer, leaders must lead. They cannot wait for the rest of the world to decide if something is successful or not, they must beat the gold rush. Being a first mover matters. Slow leaders aren’t leaders at all in a modern era…they are followers.
I’m going to explain myself below. However, if you’re still trying to figure out if Facebook is a fad, I don’t recommend reading any further. I will be wasting your time.
Instead, I recommend reading this first: Time for Sleeping Leaders to Awake
If you haven’t clicked off yet, I’ll assume you agree that the world has changed and social media isn’t a fad, but rather a fundamental and permanent shift in the way much of the world relates to the people and brands in their life.
I’m confident that social media isn’t going away, and neither is Google+.
Here’s why Google+ is here to stay:
I know that Google has screwed up several new attempts at social networking in the past (i.e. Buzz, Wave, Health, etc.), but this time it will be different. If there is one thing that I’ve learned during my time reviewing the site and testing the features, it’s that they’ve finally figured out a way to bring all of their pieces of the social puzzle together. Even though they aren’t all fully functional (i.e. Youtube for video and Picasa for pictures), it’s all but certain they will be soon.
Also, it’s going to be an effective alternative to Facebook. Too many people dislike Facebook for whatever reason, and too many of us already use most of the pieces of the Google+ package (YouTube, Gmail, Picasa, Android, Google News, Google Chat, etc.).
Since we’re using most of it anyway, especially if you have an Android phone, it’ll be smart and easy to bring it all together into one social package, even if it isn’t your primary network. That’s why Google+ will survive and may thrive.
You’re already using it!
Looking for more reasons why it’s a safe bet? Read more here
Leaders need to try Google+ sooner, not later:
Let me start with my Facebook story.
Remember when most people thought Facebook was just a college kid thing?
I joined Facebook right when it opened to non-college students and immediately began building a network of healthcare people as part of the Clear Medical Network initiative. Our goal was to prepare for a world of severe medical personnel shortages.
With that first-mover advantage, our team was able to build communities that served over 43,000 segmented groups of people. Not only is that an asset for the future, but it helped us weather the job market crisis better than most of our competitors who are no longer in business.
Leaders starting now are way behind. It’s so hard to build Facebook page communities now without expensive giveaways and advertising. It’s a mature platform.
At the beginning, all it cost us was time. Now with valuation of $100 per person, the network may be worth over $4,000,000 and growing as the demand for nurses and doctors moves towards a critical point. All with no giveaways or advertising.
Why? Because we were pioneers.
Lessons from the Pioneers
There are some things we can all learn from early adopters of tools like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+
New platforms are like frontiers. There are risks, hazards, a journey, and rewards.
Interactions with pioneers are closer, more intimate. It’s easier to make meaningful connections as most early adopters help each other discover the new world.
Consequently, early adopters have the advantage of forming larger and tighter groups of people. If you are in a people business, this is something you need to be thinking about.
Where’s the Return on Investment?
Assuming you’ve agreed with me up to this point, you are still probably wondering where does the return on investment come from if you’re not in the business of social media specifically.
Here is where I see the ROI:
Brand pages are coming soon (think Facebook pages)
We all know how valuable they are to a business now. This will be similar. The sooner you get on, the better. I guarantee your competitors will be there. I will.
It will help with Social Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Part of Google+ includes a social bookmarking module that tracks the use of the new Google +1 social search system. I believe that it will encourage users to use the +1 system and that future upgrades of Google+ will tie this feature in with the business pages. If you learn the system now, you’ll be in a much stronger position to benefit from these SEO benefits as they arrive.
Good old fashion networking
I think it’s safe to assume that there is a certain ROI in simply expanding one’s network and ability to reach new people. This is a new tool for that.
I’ve tried almost every social network out there, including Google’s other social platform called Orkut, and my gut is telling me this has real staying power. Of course I could be wrong, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to follow my gut.
Nevertheless, this is a new frontier and I feel like a pioneer.
Have a great night,
If you still need an invite to Google+, I’m inviting fellow 8pm Warriors from the email subscriber list as I am able. Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email by clicking here.