Google+ adds up by helping reduce your social footprint

Book Google+ for Business by Chris Brogan

Google+ for Business by Chris Brogan

Can less really be more?

Reduce your social footprint? How counter-intuitive is that to the current zeitgeist? Well to borrow from creative guru John Hegarty and his Levis campaigns of 1982: “When the world zigs, zag.” Perhaps we need to reconsider our obsession with numbers and consider meaningful relationships. This notion is at the heart of Chris Brogan’s excellent book Google+ for Business, 2nd Edition. As an established authority in social networks, Chris packs his pages with line after line of useful insights on Google+, the social platform that has many of my digital students perplexed at best and indifferent at worst. First off, he highlights the fact that it is being used by people, like myself, badly. We are still thinking in Facebook mode. Wrong. Gooogle+ is a less-is-more platform.

Ready, steady, optimise. 

First off, segment your circles by interest not some vague notion of friendship. Then keep relationships, content and links focused on serving the needs of each circle. Smaller numbers equals greater relevance, greater relevance equals greater impact. It is a tool built for narrow-band collaboration, learning, discovery and sharing. Unlike most other social platforms which still reek of me, me, me, Google+ provides us with a chance to think us, us, us. With each of my circles, I share content that only they will get. Content should be so relevant that it would seem incongruous is any other circle. I gives me a chance to be useful to people I actually know or are potential business partners.

And there’s more.

Among the other invaluable insights, Chris also points out one of the most significant indicators that Google+ is destined for greatness in due course: Google for Search, Android for mobile, YouTube for video, Google AdWords for promotion, Google display network for branding, Google analytics for measurement, Gmail for comms, Google docs etc for cloud computing and Google+ for socialising.  Anyone for seamless attribution across multiple platforms? The secret of building long-term relationships with customers is anticipation.  Google+ anticipates that the mega-numbers game being played out by Facebook and Twitter is nowhere near as import as the targeted engagement game some early adopters in Google+ are playing. the key message in Chris’ well structured and written book is “Learn how to build value by promoting and helping others.” I find the idea of promoting others that might be useful to your circle’s interests useful. It means you have to evaluate potential content in relation to the group rather than the thoughtless retweet shower-fodder I am subjected to each day through other platforms.

Staying the course by focusing on quality.

The idea of helping others rather than always focusing “what’s in it for me in the short-term” starts me thinking about longevity. Working with a long-term perspective in mind starts you thinking about quality. The quality of relationships may well be driven by the quality of the content we deliver to our circles rather than the quantity. As everyone who toils under the daily deluge of emails knows, relevance is the only key to getting past the delete all button. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google+  is a place I feel I want to be rather than a place I feel I have to be. The difference is subtle but the effect is significant. In the spirit of doing things for the greater good, I will be recommending Google+ for Business in one of my Circles. The others will never know. They will never have to waste a moment of their time on it. I am reducing my social footprint and it feels good.