Enjoying the growth of Google Plus for a specific reasons – 1) it let’s me connect to my community in a way that is relevant for the messages I want to post and 2) it’s the best, most viable competition to the behemoth that is Facebook today.
Brands are not yet settled into G+, but it’s reported that Google is looking for the optimum combination of brands and consumers so that it’s a more natural extension of how consumers want to connect to brands. My hope is that it is not yet another iteration of the interruption driven model that has predominated marketing for decades, but I got to wondering what would it look like if G+ actually addressed the paradigm and sought to try something better, what would a brand interaction in G+ look like? Here’s my take on what it might be like.
For brands to connect with consumers on G+, (when they can) the consumer will have to opt-in to the brand and include them into a Circle that they see regularly. I think we’ll see a permutation of the Google AdWords product that is smarter. Keywords will be scanned and the connection between the conversation and the offer will take on a better meaning. I think that brands will be able to better identify the real influencers in respective markets IF (and this is a big if) the brand can be given access to the social graph / Circle stats of the consumer. How will they get access? Consumers will grant it – usually in exchange for something of value. What kind of value? Some people will trade access to their social graph for a cup of coffee at , others will require a bit more consideration.
Accelerators to adoption will include connections between products like +Personal.com, which I really like, but do not yet understand how they’re going to be relevant if I cannot connect my permissions and profile to the social networks I’m using – profile fatigue is starting to set in with consumers and we, as an industry, have to find a solutions. OpenID, Google profiles and Facebook Connect are just placeholders for now and the real power in this space I think has yet to emerge.
What to do for now is to develop a presence in the social space in a way that is both genuine and in a way that recognizes that your persona can vary relative to the audience you wish to address without being disingenuous. Learning this, knowing it and being able to act on it for a brand though will be a challenge – too many of them are wrapped up in an old-school mindsets that places monthly and quarterly.