How Does Google+ Add to Your Social Media Strategy?

A pug sitting at a laptop computer on a desk and looking very sad. Heartbreaking image.*

Wow. Awesome! After just a dozen of tries I could sign up for Google+! Sadly it happened on late Friday so that I ended up trying it out on the weekend.


Are you working for billionaires for free?

You know I hate working on the weekend but after a while I had the impression that this is what I do on Google+.

You may already know that after a few years of social media enthusiasm I grew more and more critical of the whole hype.

Why do I have to work for free to make Mark Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire? This is one of the questions I asked myself when joining Facebook.

It was in 2008 shortly after they entered the German market. I asked it myself again when I finally decided to actually use Facebook in 2010.

I test a lot of new tools but these days I don’t do it just for the sake of it anymore.

Just because a tool is free as in beer doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost me money to use. I could spend the time working on my won Web real estate.


My social media usage history

There must be a compelling reason to use a tool. Otherwise it’s a waste of time and money. I still use plenty of social media sites, services and tools. I use

  1. Pinterest
  2. Twitter
  3. Diigo

every day. I even used this forgotten social browsing tool called Browzmi almost daily because there was a rational reason to do so.

Facebook and LinkedIn also have a role in my overall social media strategy but I use them only occasionally when I have a concrete task to accomplish (LinkedIn) or some time left (Facebook).

I used Tumblr only privately in the sense that I don’t earn money using them but it still makes some sense for inspiration or organizational purposes.

Here comes Google+ and requires a significant time investment on my side.

I schedule just 30 minutes a day for social media use, the same amount I schedule for sorting and answering emails that are not part of my projects.

The only tool I used throughout the day until now was Delicious, I was bookmarking everything I’ve found of some interest in the

  • search
  • social media
  • blogging

sphere. Occasional off topic saves included. Later I use them for my blog posts.


Voting with a +1 makes sense

When Google launched the +1 button I started adding +1 votes to all kinds of sites I appreciate. I gave +1 a lot, even more than I used

  • Delicious
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

together. I just voted for everything I appreciated no matter the language or topic. That way my way of giving back.

Google+ doesn’t automatically display these +1 votes like Facebook does with likes.

My Google+ stream is a different one than the +1 stream. That’s good because I don’t flood my SEO followers with off topic stuff from all over the Web.

When I’d like to share something on G+ as well I don’t have an option to do so.

Instead I noticed that Google+ works a lot like Google Buzz, it encourages discussions. That’s great if you want to start one but I rarely do and when I do people don’t contribute.


The global debating club

People like to discuss about stuff that doesn’t matter much. They like to discuss opinions. They debate forever without changing them in most cases.

I’m interested in opinions but not in discussing them. Most people keep their opinions no matter what you say anyway.

Every opinion, even the “wrong” one has some value as it shows that some people think in a certain manner. You can adapt then once you know.

You can’t argue with people’s opinion much though. It costs lots of effort to even make a point that contradicts someone else’ opinion. You could argue all day and starve in the meantime.

How does Google+ add to my social media strategy then? It adds a place where I can discuss stuff.

I can debate whether Google+ is this or that and whether it should add this or that feature, or whether Facebook is better or not.

That’s great for Google+ engineers, they can learn a lot from these discussions. To me it’s just working for free for Google.


Why use Google+?

Why should I? To push my own properties there? Maybe. I will still have to find out. Maybe next weekend.

Until them I consider switching of these notifications that follow me when logged in into Google. There is Greasemonkey script for that. I’ll have to find the link.

Also it took lots of work to organize just a few dozens of people into circles. I will have to plan this time investment.

By now I socialize with other people on G+ than I am connected with on Twitter, Facebook and the likes. I have more reasons to do so beyond just discussing opinions.

I tried to create circles for all of my different blogs, interest and languages so that I could serve all my audiences, but that’s also additional workload.

Google deemphasized the circle model later on though. By now my preferred mode of sharing is to one of my topical collections like

  • privacy publicity
  • self improvement
  • popularization
  • faith in humanity
  • Google watch

When you are keen on sharing there are many Google+ groups. Some of them are very popular but also often noisy and spammy. I tried many of them but most annoyed me sooner or later.

How does Google+ add to your social media strategy? Does it only add more work to your todo list? What are your actual use cases? What does the “plus” actually stand for?


* Image by Akane Yamada.