No event can generate an orgy of social media shares like Social Media Week and this time it was London’s turn to host.
Although it can be met with much derision – just have a look at this Tumblrwhich runs with the strapline ‘Social Media Week. The first place to hear everything last’ – some genuine insights can be gleaned from the tidal wave of shares, status updates, Tweets and Lols.
Admittedly, there is a lot of noise and the majority of it is of limited use and I hold my hands up to taking part in my fair share (see what I did there?) of the superfluous content generation.
Invariably, the majority of the talk is around how to generate ‘Facebook fans’, Twitter followers, and ‘what’s the meaning of a like?’ but few people were quick to mention Google+ – other than Google itself that is.
The reason for this is simple. Not many people proactively use it, and I’d hazard a guess that a fair few Google+ account holders have either forgotten, or maybe not even realise in the first place that they have one. And even by its own admission, the user interface is a bit “clunky” – I overheard a Google exec describe it as such earlier this week. Although apparently some big official user numbers are on the way.
So for marketers seeking scale and reach on social media, the option is simple: go straight to your Facebook community, or your Twitter network to spread the word. Even with a spray and pray approach, the likelihood is that with a halfway decent campaign something will stick, and sales will receive a bit of a bump.
However, one of the more illuminating sessions I sat in on this week was from Google’s head of agency relations Matt Bush who went some way to explaining why Google+ is purposely different from Facebook and Twitter.
As Bush climbed to the stage wearing his pair of Google Glass(es), I did start to cringe and start to think we’d just be in for a hour-long sales pitch, and while it was, he did offer some genuine insights marketers will be best-armed to pay attention to.
To sum up the theme of his presentation – apart from his Google+ sales pitch – the phrase, ‘It’s not about numbers, it’s actually about engagement’, could be used. To marketers looking to ‘harness the power of social’, this message is key.
Bush said: “I don’t think we’re ever going to be a platform that’s about connecting you with your close friends. That’s not what Google+ is about. But it is about giving the right information at the right time.”
To reflect this, Google has recently integrated its Google+ and search engine offerings. So now Google’s search engine users will also be served with relevant results that have been shared via its Google+ platform.
Bush went on further to explain the rationale of this: “What brands can do with Google+ is help users find that information at that time, and achieving engagement. It’s about trying to be there during the moments that matter.”
So while Google+ may not be where the party’s at, brands would do well to appreciate the thinking behind it.
By the way, it’s Google’s 15th birthday today (27 September). The best present social media marketers can give it is to grant Google+ a fair hearing.