Google+ business pages are ready, Google+ business pages are ready!
The urgency of the news Monday reached my mostly offline family, prompting two calls and a text to be sure that I'd heard. They probably recalled my response/anxiety right around our Fourth of July fishing trip when Google launched Google+. (As in, "Wait a minute, wait, Google launched a social network? This week? I need to get to the Internet.")
These Google+ announcements have been a bit of a drill as many of us drop everything and hustle to jump through Google’s hoops—including, in my case, having the horizontal Rock The Boat Marketing logo redone to conform to the square space provided on the G+ business pages. By the way, is every brand going to be willing to do that?
I enjoy rushing around, piecing things together and experimenting. And, more to the point for you, my participation isn’t predicated upon strategy refinement, review by Compliance, revision of policies and procedures, additional support from IT, additional staff training, etcetera etcetera.
If your competitive instincts ("We have to get on Google+, everyone else is going to be there") are making you anxious about getting Google+ on the agenda at your mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) firm, my advice is to relax.
You’re not ready for Google+ and it’s not ready for you. It will be; there’s no way I’d bet against Google’s intent for this social network to “work” and its ability to force the issue by integrating +1 in most of its properties. (For an expansion on this, see "Can Google+ Revolutionize Business?")
But of course, a first order of business for asset managers will be to figure out—with their solutions providers—how to archive participation on this new social network. Few if any (I just have to hedge this) mutual fund, ETF or broker-dealers will be launching a Google+ business page tomorrow.
Where Google+ Falls Short
Lots of other companies have launched their pages this week and will continue to. But even non-FINRA-regulated brands are finding Google+ inadequate for their basic needs. To be a vibrant network, let alone a “Facebook-killer,” the following are among what needs to be addressed:
- There is no support for multiple users or posting privileges. The account works off a single Gmail address.
- Business pages can’t circle anyone until they’ve been circled first. "Like us on Facebook" and "Follow us on Twitter" campaigns are about to be taken to a different level as businesses focus on growing the number of circles they're appearing in. It's kinda cute right now to see marquee brands in single-digit circles. Yeah, they're not going to be able to take that for long.
- Custom URLs are not available. For example, check out the address of Dell's page: https://plus.google.com/117161668189080869053/posts
- Contests and promotions are not allowed. Nope, not a single mention on Starbucks Google+ page.
For more about these and other disappointments for brands, check out a few of these posts. The first, petulant post from an admitted Google+ fanboy Robert Scoble summarizes many but not all of the issues that asset managers will have:
- I Wish I Had Never Heard Of Google+'s Brand Pages
- Commentary on the Scoble post on Google+
- Google Brand Pages Are Lacking But You’ll Make One Anyway
- Why Facebook Is Better For Business Than Google
- Google+ Is Dead
Finding Like-Minded On Google+
Finally, I’ve been lightly posting to Google+ for the last few months. I’ve found and circled lots of my technology and marketing heroes, but there’s been a shortage of people closer to the business interests you and I share. No surprise but still. There are some, and more are likely to straggle in.
You’re welcome to see the people I’m adding to my Recommended Investment Types (so named to be sufficiently broad) circle on my Pat Allen page. You need to find it there because the Rock The Boat Marketing page can't circle anyone until somebody circles it, (not to appear overly desperate). I make no representations about how active the people in this circle are but, as with any social network, each will lead you to more accounts. You might also try searching for keywords (e.g., mutual funds or ETFs) to see who's posting.
After addressing and overcoming the archiving challenge, investment companies interested in leveraging Google+ participation will need to both find like-minded brands and people and see activity at a level that warrants ongoing participation. To date, there have been two extreme assessments of Google+: 1. That account creation has occurred at a phenomenal rate (more than 40 million by October) 2. That traffic to the site has plummeted, prompting some to declare it a graveyard.
This isn't the first time we've discussed Google profiles, +1 and Google+ and it's far from the last time we'll be discussing Google's take on social. I don’t know how slow things progress in your firm but for most of you, I’d say that you can walk and not run to talk about Google+ for your business. You do need to get there, just not this week.