A shot from Pfeiffer Beach, CA.
This rock formation at Pfeiffer Beach is a top tourist attraction at Big Sur. The keyhole as it is called is a cave carved into the rocks by waves, and now you can see the powerful water roll in through the rock. I focused on the interior of the wave cave to see the inside rock wall.
The great debate is upon us thanks to the launch of Google+ for Business. From Jim Long’s social media survey to Debra Askanese’s well debated post on Google+’s benefits and detriments, voices across the web are debating whether it’s hip to be Square (Corporate brands are denoted by squares on Google+).
The reality of the situation is even from a simple brand reputation standpoint, it’s time to get your square and protect your brand integrity. The last thing you want is someone else owning your brand on Google+! What if it actually takes off? Or worse, what if an unforeseen blogodrama savages your brand reputation on Google+?
Beyond that, there is the very obvious search value of being on Google+. Pete Cashmore said it best, “Now those little +1 votes being cast around the Web are starting to change the order of Google’s search results, helping to keep Google in line with the social trend.” And if your content isn’t integrated with +1 technology, you are hurting your organic search possibilities.
In fact, Google is actively redeveloping its entire ecosystem to revolve around Google+, as Google Reader users can attest to. The only way to natively share outbound posts beyond email is Google. This integration is systematic, and we are seeing the next generation of the online behemoth evolve before our eyes.
From a strategic communications perspective, Google+ is real hit or miss. It is still an early adopter’s social network, with testosterone driven techies riding its ether waves. Most mainstream brands will find the network wanting. Further, if you want to market towards the “Mommy Tsunami,” the demographics are generally not skewed well.
Additionally, real advertising on Google+ remains in the wings and the application programming interface (API) is still read only. Right now the only Google+ business offering is a participation game with a profile. You have to connect with people, which means your brand has to invest the time to build relationships and cultivate a following. Otherwise, you will be posting in silence.
But, all things in consideration, it is time to stop experimenting and at a minimum set up a business outpost on Google+. It may never beat Facebook, but Google+ is unlikely to fade into the night the way Buzz and Wave did. The last thing you want is to be caught with your pants down on a social network. Just like other networks, own your real estate, and take advantage of the search benefits Google+ has to offer.
What do you think of Google+ for Business?
For every great new social technology or trend, we see many fail. Most just fade away slowly, but others have darker public endings. Here’s a look at five social failures that peaked with great buzz, and since then have either completely left the interwebs, or made the community say, “Um, yeah.”
1) Google Wave
Invite only, claims of reinventing of email, proclamations of awesomeness by seeded bloggers; it all seemed to add up to an incredible social launch from Google. But instead of a long welcome, Google Waved goodbye relatively quickly. Wave was hard to use, and no one could figure out how it made email better. Within a year, support for Wave was pulled. Give it to Google, they failed loud and fast, and then moved on.
The mobile podcast network called Utterz was one of the first tools that effectively integrated into Twitter and Facebook. For several months, it seemed to go gangbusters. Then in late 2008, it rebranded as Utterli, an effort to become more female friendly. That was the beginning of the end. Scaling issues plagued the social network. Then after settling into the secondary tool stratosphere, it suddenly disappeared, closing its doors with no means for anyone to port their content out. The ensuring reaction from Utterli users was not good.
3) The Social Media Release
Guilty of touting this one in Now Is Gone and on the Buzz Bin, in hindsight the social media release (SMR) seemed so promising. Down with boring spammy press releases, in with the new conversational SMR, including bullets, links and multimedia! Ah yes, the days of the PR 2.0 new jacks. The only problems were that a) it was still a media release, and b) no one wants to comment on a piece of messaging. Oh well. Today, it’s a nice way to charge more for a press release.
Lifestreaming Workflow by Steve Rubel
Perhaps the peak of personal branding and voyeuristic sharing was the concept of lifestreaming, sharing everything in a person’s life from serious business think to soccer games with the kids. Respected blogger Steve Rubel went so far as to tear down his blog in favor of lifestreaming. But the market for lifestreaming seemed more interesting to the “streamers” themselves than the rest of us. These days, they just call it mobile blogging unless you have a video camera on you at all times.
Image by Sonny Gill.
Goofy emoticons, longer updates, and the vaunted addition of threaded conversation made Plurk a seemingly viable alternative to Twitter in the summer of 2008. It didn’t hurt that Twitter was breaking down almost every business day, making the fail whale a common site. What happened? Twitter fixed itself, and people returned to 140 characters. Plurk didn’t have enough time to garner market share. Damn that Moby Dick!
Honorable Mentions: Google Buzz, Brightkite, Jaiku
Which social failures stand out in your mind?