No, this is not yet another blog post or article about how great Google+ is, and how it’s going to kill Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and all other networks within the next year or so. No, this ain’t it at all. In fact, I believe it’s way too early to judge how much Google+ will change the rules of engagement on social platforms, and how much it will in reality take away from others. Don’t get me wrong: I joined Google+ less than three weeks ago, and I certainly see how it’s a smooth platform, with loads of functionalities that enhance the online experience. After all, this is Google, and this also probably why after about a month in existence, it already has some 20 million subscribers… while it’s not even public yet, it’s still in Beta, per invitation only!!!
Still, I could not help laughing when I read this tweet from @CaraFuggetta which pretty much summed it up for me!
Indeed, it seems like marketers, techno geeks and early adopters are often too eager to ring in the demise of a media as soon as a new one comes around. Video killed the radio star, anyone? Internet was going to kill TV? Well, it effectively did some damage, but perhaps more to print and daily newspapers due to a greater shift in advertising budgets there. Likewise, not a day goes by without reading an article about the demise of Facebook or Twitter due to G+ storming in. Certainly, G+ will have an adverse effect on many social platforms, but I believe most platforms will continue to serve their purpose. Hey, I still have some folks asking me “Why should I use Twitter if I am already on Facebook?”, and this is a very valid question if you use these platforms as an individual, for personal reasons. If you’re a business in the travel industry though, and you are still asking yourself that question, there’s a problem!
Also, consider these stats: according to the 2011 Social Media Marketing Report, 75% of businesses plan on increasing their use of Facebook. There are over 750 million active Facebook users in the world right now, and 44% of businesses see Facebook as important or critical to their marketing plans, according to emarketer. In other words, Facebook is still very much the player right now in social media, so it would be unwise to dismiss it so quickly.
Personnally, I am eagerly waiting to see how Google+ will unveil its brand pages, to see how companies will be able to engage on this platform and compete with other networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, to name only these key ones. Presently, there are only a few companies allowed to test G+ as brands, i.e. Ford, so we’ll have to wait and see how things unfold. In the meantime, I guess we can only speculate but I wouldn’t put my eggs all in one basket. It’s rarely a sound strategy, so it should apply to social media as well.