EVEN THOUGH IT'S an infant, Google Plus offers a business imperative. If you grew up inside mailing lists or discussion boards, there's a lot to like inside Google Plus.
If you prefer the sanity of threaded instant communications, and you also want that experience in the palm of your hand, there's nothing like Google Plus to connect with customers and with staff.
Major broadsheets like the New York Times and Financial Times have noticed the smattering of public approval about the service and while nobody thinks other networking services like Facebook or Twitter will be totally stifled by Google's latest foray into social space, Google has served up essential conduits of business communications in its field test of Google Plus. On my television screen and through the leading newspapers of Ireland, Twitter still leads as the preferred channel of corporate communications. But Twitter is a chatter-friendly water cooler medium. Google Plus is more like a bustling corner of the local pub where people know it's time for their shout. Both channels need to be evaluated by business communicators because to excel across the two channels, it means crafting and tracking pithy communications bursts.
I think Google Plus fits the skillsets of Word of Mouth marketers better than Twitter or Facebook because there are so many effective touchpoints inside Google Plus (i.e., Sparks, Huddles and Hangouts on screen and in the hand). With a little planning, conversations can become transmedia.
The hundreds of thousands of tech-savvy people who have climbed aboard Google Plus in its first week of field testing are more prone to favour Google because they eagerly awaited invitations to come inside. And when they landed in the clear white space, most of them took the time to create circles where conversation threaded throughout the entire day. Being new to Google Plus, I follow less than one-tenth of the number of people I follow on Twitter but the message flow is as vibrant as on Twitter. A lot of that is down to the kind of people in the first group allowed into the G+ environment. But a lot is also due to the cross-flow of images, videos, and comments inside G+. A smart business communicator needs to know how to leverage each of these parts of the G+ ecosystem.
Third party vendors can't be far behind. Because of third parties, Twitter became a better channel of communications than it would have on its own volition. Within two years of its launch, Twitter became a publishing channel. It's on the front line of customer engagement by many of the brands I use. Those brands have tweets with a real human voice. Starbucks, Comcast, JetBlue and Home Depot use Twitter rather effectively to provide customer service. I believe the G+ tool kit is much more capable than a collection of tools used to run a corporate presence on Twitter. Those G+ communications tools make G+ more than a simple messaging pit. In fact, even though G+ is only a test platform, its speed, resilience, and threading ensure anyone on any continent can maintain a rational conversation. I've watched some of those conversations, in which like-minded people are conversing inside circles without congesting a public timeline. And I've seen Lazyweb answers to thoughtful questions delivered within minutes of being asked.
Give G+ a few months. When corporate communicators start appearing en masse, Google Plus may evolve into the most useful all-in-one information channel in the world today.