It’s a tale of two social networks: Once Upon a Time, there was Facebook, the big blue social network, and its little brother, Google+.
Four months after its launch, Google announced earlier this month that its network is now open for business. Business pages, that is. Last week, the Twitterverse was atweet with companies urging people to check out their Google+ business page. I received several tweets from corporate users asking me their opinion on their page. Did I have any advice, they wanted to know? Well, sure, here it is: don’t make a business page on Google+ yet. Oops. Guess you should have asked sooner!
After all the buzz that surrounded the launch of Google+, the network fell short of expectations. Many wondered: how is Google+ any different from Facebook? Well, the Google team explained, Google+ is different because you can put people into groups, called “circles” and choose the range of publicity for your updates: so, for example, that pithy update you typed about your fabulous drunken weekend in Las Vegas can be shared with family and friends only rather than your coworkers and boss. Sounds great, right?
But the burning question was: what was to stop Facebook from replicating these features? Well, the answer is simple: nothing. Since the launch of Google+, Facebook has quickly added a “groups” function and publicity options. And why not? Google+ has been peering over Facebook’s shoulder since 2006. With these new Facebook features added, self-proclaimed Google+ enthusiasts were ducking away, their tails between their legs.
Don’t get me wrong—I have a Google+ account—and so do many of my friends, but we don’t use it as much as we use Facebook. For me, it’s a brand loyalty thing: Facebook was there for me since my university days, and although Google has been around much longer than Facebook, Google has always been a search engine and NOT a social network.
Why can’t Google just let Zuckerberg have this one?
So this week, businesses have been flocking to Google+ business pages, and many business owners are excited that they’re “in-the-know” about social media developments. But did they ever stop and think whether or not their audience is on Google+? What about their network?
As a freelance writer, I know my audience isn’t. Many of my clients and readers are on Linkedin and Facebook, and that’s where I’ll stay. As for the corporate presences I manage, I trust we will have a Google+ presence eventually, but not until we can develop a way of using Google+ that doesn’t simply replicate Facebook pages. After all, why reinvent the wheel?
In my opinion, Google+ will find its place, but not in the way we—or even Google—imagined. I trust that over the years, Google+ will learn how to differentiate itself from Facebook and will some day find a purpose.
Until then, I’m sticking with Facebook for managing corporate presences. I’ll still be on Google +; I’ll be the one in the back throwing spitballs.
Is your company on Google+? Tell us about it.