Google +1, Facebook -1?

July 27, 2011: Jen Joly, Senior Director / Marketing, Communications and Brand Management

When I first heard about Google+, the first thing I thought was "what happened to Google Buzz?" I realize this was a silly question given that most experts had considered Buzz dead for a long time, but I wondered (and still wonder) if Google+ could gain any traction given it failed to generate a real network of scale in the past (and I hadn't even recalled Google's other two social media failures OpenSocial and Wave).

Like most marketers, curiosity drew me in anyhow—I didn't want to risk being on the sidelines as all of my colleagues reveled in some great, shiny new toy. Unfortunately, I'm sitting here weeks later feeling a little disappointed with somewhat empty circles and wondering what applications for business will eventually be announced.

So if you missed the news (it is summer after all), Google+ launched last month and set the social media press on fire. A great PCWorld article covering the initial thoughts on Google+ for business stated:

"As the first wave of social media forced businesses to become transparent and compelling online, this next wave of relationship relevancy will again push them to take their customers and their relationships more seriously."

Other slightly ambiguous statements about Google+ and its possible impact on business followed, as did the announcement that Google was asking businesses to stay out of Google+ "for now" as they developed their "business experience." Does it mean that Google doesn't have a fully defined plan yet? Probably. Does it mean that their plan will be anything less than stellar? No one knows. Facebook knows that Google has a powerful name and might I say, better brand - and they aren't taking any chances. Facebook released a new guide yesterday for business.

And, more importantly, no one knows whether or not Google+ will have the power to lure away some of Facebook's more than 750 million active users—or if Google+ will be used in addition to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social media to come after it.

For now, we as marketers should realize it's not about Google winning and Facebook or Twitter losing per say, but that social media is winning. The message we need to take away is that social media isn't going anywhere and sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option. While we all may not be Ford (lucky enough to be able to be a business beta tester for Google+), we all have to pay attention. Social media continues to keep marketers on their toes!

Are you engaging your audience through social media? How have you found success? Please comment below.

I couldn't finish without including this. If you joined Google+ and are looking for a little commiseration, I really enjoyed this post: "Google+, Am I Forcing This Relationship?"

This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.

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