I’m still kicking the tires on Google + but from what I’ve seen, it has the potential to be a real power building technology.
Power building for what you ask? How about for building brand awareness, building a voter base, changing the world, or shifting public perceptions.
I especially like the Circles concept. While advising clients on effective ways of using social media for their businesses, I often end up drawing concentric circle diagrams in response to the “who do I connect to” question.
I suggest clients start with the people they know and trust very well (such as employees, family, business partners) and put them in the center. Then in the next ring, they would put the people they trust and have done business with. The next ring would be people they have met locally during mixers, people in their same industry, potential customers, and possible referral sources. The last ring would be people they connect with online for the first time.
This last ring could end up with thousands of people. I wrote about how these networks can be activated in an earlier post.
Google + allows you to manage content per Circle without having to create separate accounts. On Twitter, the only way you can really separate content is by having different accounts. I have my main account (@jesseluna) then I have one that is blogging focused (@niceblog) and another that is focused on film (@cinemaluna). I could have used one account and tweet all the content from one place but I wanted to have more vertical presences with the latter two accounts. In other words, I wanted them to be super focused on the content areas.
The main idea with Circles is that we only want to share certain information with certain groups. We may want to do this for different reasons:
2) We may want to try out sharing content with different privacy levels. If you have content that is only relevant for your family or closest friends then that would make for a good circle. I thought of testing my “inner circle” by sharing some news that I haven’t posted elsewhere to see how leaky the group is in terms of information sharing and to see if the content would end up elsewhere on the Web.
Privacy, as always, is a big issue. Google has done a poor job at making users aware of privacy terms and issues with Google +. I had one Twitter peep who spent all afternoon trying to figure out the privacy settings.
3) Another reason to have different circles is to help build power by managing the movement of members from one circle to another. I know, power often has an egomaniacal connotation but it’s a key aim in building strong communities. Power is built by empowering everyone in the network, not just the person or group running it.
If you have a “Twitter followers” group and also a “Closest supporters” Circle, you probably have a lot more people in the former. Imagine how powerful your network would become if you moved over a lot of your Twitter Followers into your closer networks.
You don’t need thousands of people in your “Closest Supporters” group. Just as in the movie “300”, a strong army of 300 can change the world.
Power Building In Action
Chris Brogan is one of the top bloggers on the Web. He just put out a post entitled “The Google PLUS 50” with 50 things to think about in relation to Google +. Within a few hours of posting the article, it had already received 56 comments and 600 reactions.
Brogan could have written the standard “10 things” kind of post but 50 is a whopping number. With a post like this, he’s able to draw in his blog readers, Twitter followers, and his Facebook fans and get a strong foothold in the new social network.
Adriel Hampton is active in the Gov2.0 world and is also known for live tweeting his run for Congress. Adriel was one of the first people in my Twitter stream that was actively hooking people up with Google + invites. He directed his Twitter and Facebook followers to “@” him their email addresses and also to request invites using his blog.
Would you be more likely to support a candidate who knew how to work the Social Web and took an early foothold in a new network? Um, Yes.
As I was finishing up this post, I wanted it to be more gender balanced so I asked Twitter if there were any women out there taking an “early lead” on Google plus, especially community builders. One of my Twitter friends, Susie Wee (@susiewee) replied with a list of three people and one of the three provided a list of more women making an early impact on Google Plus.
Susie Wee – She didn’t list herself but she is a VP at Cisco. I met Susie a couple of years back at Shel Israel’s Twitterville book launch event in San Carlos.
Tatyana Kanzaveli – she is @glfceo on Twitter. She is an executive with Social CRM and an expert event planner. I also met her at the Twitterville event.
Susan Beebe – works in Global Social Media department at Dell. One look at her Google Plus posts and you know why Susie mentioned her. She engages and is helping to expand the platform. She is @susanbeebe on Twitter.
Trisha Liu – Trisha works for ArcSight, an HP company. The big brands are definitely finding their way to Google Plus!
Final thoughts on Google + power building
First of all, if you’re not on Google + yet and need an invite, feel free to tweet me (@jesseluna) your email address or post it below in the Comments.
Second, it’s not just about setting up the right circles, it’s about delivering content that engages your audience and resonates with them.