How Does Google+ Add to Your Social Media Strategy?

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Wow. Awesome! After just a dozen of tries I could sign up for Google+! Sadly it happened on late Friday so that I ended up trying it out on the weekend. You know I hate working on the weekend but after a while I had the impression that this is what I do on Google+.

You may already know that after a few years of social media enthusiasm I grew more and more critical of the whole hype.

Why do I have to work for free to make Mark Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire? This is one of the questions I asked myself when joining Facebook in 2008 (shortly after they entered the German market). I asked it myself again when I finally decided to actually use Facebook in 2010.

I test a lot of new tools but these days I don’t do it just for the sake of it anymore.

Just because a tool is free as in beer doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost me money to use. I could spend the time working on my won Web real estate so there must be a compelling reason to use a tool. Otherwise it’s a waste of time and money.

I still use plenty of social media sites, services and tools. I use

  1. Delicious
  2. Twitter
  3. Tumblr

every day. I even used this forgotten social browsing tool called Browzmi almost daily because there was a rational reason to do so. Facebook and LinkedIn also have a role in my overall social media strategy but I use them only occasionally when I have a concrete task to accomplish (LinkedIn) or some time left (Facebook).

I use Tumblr and Browzmi only privately in the sense that I don’t earn money using them but it still makes some sense for inspiration or organizational purposes.

So here comes Google+ and requires a significant time investment on my side.

I schedule just 30 minutes a day for social media use, the same amount I schedule for sorting and answering emails that are not part of my projects. The only tool I used throughout the day until now was Delicious, I was bookmarking everything I’ve found of some interest in the SEO, social media and blogging sphere. Occasional off topic saves included. Later I use them for my blog posts.

When Google launched the +1 button I started adding +1 votes to all kinds of sites I appreciate. I +1 a lot, even more than I use Delicious, Twitter, Facebook together. I just vote for everything I appreciate no matter the language or topic.

Google+ doesn’t automatically display these +1 votes like Facebook does with likes.

So my Google+ stream is a different one than the +1 stream. That’s good because I don’t flood my SEO followers with off topic stuff from all over the Web but when I’d like to share something on G+ as well I don’t have an option to do so.

Instead I noticed that Google+ works a lot like Google Buzz, it encourages discussions. That’s great if you want to start one but I rarely do and when I do people don’t contribute. People like to discuss about stuff that doesn’t matter much. They like to discuss opinions.

I’m interested in opinions but not in discussing them.

Every opinion, even the “wrong” one has some value as it shows that some people think in a certain manner. You can adapt then once you know. You can’t argue with people’s opinion much though. It costs lots of effort to even make a point that contradicts someone elses’ opinion. You could argue all day and starve in the meantime.

So how does Google+ add to my social media strategy? It adds a place where I can discuss stuff, whether Google+ is this or that and whether it should add this or that feature, or whether Facebook is better or not. That’s great for Google+ engineers, they can learn a lot from these discussions. To me it’s just working for free for Google.

Why should I? To push my own properties there? Maybe. I will still have to find out. Maybe next weekend. Until them I consider switching of these notifications that follow me when logged in into Google. There is Greasemonkey script for that. I’ll have to find the link.

Also it took lots of work to organize just a few dozens of people into circles. I will have to plan this time investment. As I socialize mostly with the same people I am connected with on Twitter, Facebook and the likes I have to find more reasons to do so beyond just discussing opinions. I may create circles for all of my different blogs so that I can serve all my audiences, but that’s also additional workload.

How does Google+ add to your social media strategy? Does it only add more work to your todo list? What are your actual use cases? What does the “plus” actually stand for?

 

* Image by Akane Yamada.

 

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