Working Smarter By Barbara Palmer
Why the Fuss About Google+
There’s not much consensus about the value of Google’s still-new social network. But here’s why some people—including some meeting professionals—are betting on it.
When Google launched Google+ last summer, events marketing strategist Lindsay Fultz initial- ly wasn’t impressed. “It seemed like just another social profile,” she said, “andone that seemed very boring.” But as Fultz learned more about Google+, she
realized that it has one critical advantage: It’s indexed by Google, the most dominant search engine in the world. That means that content post- ed on Google+ will climb in the rankings on a Google search. “Ifyoupostalink toyourwebsiteon Google+,” Fultz said, “it willshowup[in Google’s
powerful tool,” Fultz said. Using Google+, she added, can be more effective than Google ads. But Fultz’s initial impression aboutGoogle+—
that it was a dud—is still shared bymanypeople. Last month, Arthur Pinkasovitch, a blogger post- ing on The Motley Fool website, was just one of a chorus declaring Google+ a failure. The average Google+ user, Pinkasovitchreported, spent only three minutes a month on the site between Septem- ber 2011 and January 2012. “Users basically sign up for the service,” he wrote, “navigate to check out the cool features, and then don’t actively
A Google+ comment “blows a retweet out of the water.”
search results] even higher thanyourownwebsite.” For now, Facebook dwarfs Google+ as a user
base. But the thing “to keep your eye on is that search is [the way in which] people find your business, and theNo. 1 search engine in theworld now pays close attention to what people do on Google+,” social-media expert Chris Brogan writes in Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything. “If that doesn’t get your eyebrows raised and make you lean forward, I’m not sure what will.” Fultz forced herself to spend time on the net-
work every day, testing its effect compared withher other social-media activity. She found that a blog post linked to Google+ delivered better Google search-engine results than other posts that weren’t linked to Google+—even if the unlinked posts had manymorecomments and page visits. “It’s sucha
come back to Google’s social-media site.” But using Google+ sporadically practically guarantees failure, Fultz said, since the platform rewards activity. “If you don’t post every 72 hours,” she said, “you drop off.” Fultz knows manyplannerswhohave filled out aGoogle+pro- file, updated it a few times, and then disappeared. “It breaksmyheart,” she said. “It is doing themno good at all.” Google+ is not simply a good marketing tool,
Fultz said. She is a power Twitter user, but she’s found that Google+ can be a better tool for help- ing buildnewrelationships with peoplewhoshare her interests.Google+ is amore three-dimension- al platform than Twitter, which is limited by its 140-character format, she added.AndaGoogle+ comment, she said, “blows a retweet out of the water.”
ON_THE_WEB: Read marketing expert Lara McCulloch-Carter’s blog post “Why Not Being on Google+ Could Be Your Biggest Marketing Mistake,” at convn.org/Google-plus-marketing.
34 pcmaconvene April 2012 ILLUSTRATION BY GREG MABLY
The Pluses What exactly can you do with Google+? In Google+ for Business, social- media expert Chris Brogan includes the following in his list of benefits: Collaboration:
“The tools for collab- oration inside of Google+ are intuitive, offer many potential modes of interaction, and allow for strong communication options.” Learning: “This
isn’t just a site for bleeding-edge techies. All kinds of interesting communi- ties have formed on Google+.” Community
building: Google+ “allows you a kind of blend between a publishing platform and a powerful new kind of telephone.” Listening:
“Because Google ... indexes the informa- tion in Google+, you have the built-in opportunity to pay attention to what peo- ple say [about you].”
Barbara Palmer is senior editor of Convene.
Working Smarter is sponsored by PSAV Presentation Services, www.psav.com.