At the end of last week Google launched it’s brand new shiny social network Google+. I was cynical, after Google Wave and Google Buzz would G+ be good? From the outside I wasn’t impressed. It seemed to be just another Facebook but then I started using it.
When I started looking at what I liked about it I realised that I could learn from G+ . That in some ways I had forgotten the beauty of social networks and I should refresh the way I use Facebook accordingly.
So firstly what did I like?
1. It’s less complex than Facebook – Facebook has some great features but I think they confuse people. When I’m teaching people how to use it it seems like I could run a week long course on the topic and still not get through it all.
2. Content is good – Because it’s new and membership is still limited the content is really good. Mostly self generated and a lot less automated stuff… and even better NO FARMVILLE!
3. Excitement – It’s new and most people are finding their way around and sharing tips. There is huge positivity from the people who are posting and it makes you want to join in.
4. The people – G+ is similar to Twitter, you can follow who you want and they don’t have to follow you back. This means you can follow some of the top people in your industry on G+. For me that’s easy as I’m in social media so my industry influencers were some of the first there.
5. Choose who to share with – At first I couldn’t see how ‘Circles’ differed from ‘Facebook friend lists’. The difference is that you are required to enter who you want to share with on every post. Some posts are public and Twitter style, some you want to keep for friends, family or even individual users. This should stop news-feeds getting cluttered.
So how will this change the way I use Facebook?
1. Keep it simple – Facebook is complex and it’s easy to assume that everyone knows how everything works. Keeping updates simple and showing people exactly how to communicate with you – whether it be telling them exactly what to do to ‘Like’ a page or join a group is important. Never assume someone knows something, don’t use complicated jargon, make it easy to participate. Of course there is a fine line to tread between keeping it simple and being patronising so make sure you are also adding value, be careful not to talk down to people.
2. Provide compelling content – All of us at one time or another post something we may not have thought about properly. Whether it’s talking about having a cup of coffee or a digest of our daily activity we really need to wonder if people are really interested. Since I’ve been using Google+ I’ve gone out of the way to find compelling content to share. I’m carrying my camera with me everywhere again and only posting the best stuff I find on the net to my profile. With this in mind I’m going to be more selective on what I post to my Facebook profile – although I’m sure I’ll still post a bit of nonsense there.
3. Excitment – How can I make what I’m doing with my Facebook pages more exciting and innovative. I for one have fallen into a pretty tight Facebook schedule for Spiderworking.com and I sometimes forget to think of myself as a client. What clever and innovative ideas would I suggest to a client to get the most from their page and how can I make mine more enticing? I feel I also need to be more impulsive with my posting.
4. Am I connected to all the right people? – I have a lot of friends on Facebook but my stream moves so fast I don’t communicate with them as much as I should. I’m going to start using Friend lists again to make sure I’m not missing important posts from great people. I haven’t actively sought out friends on Facebook for ages and this is something I should be doing, who out there is providing great content through their personal or business pages that I should never miss? I need to find these people and pages and make sure I’m connected.
5. Be selective with sharing – Facebook friend lists serve the same purpose as Google circles. With new lists created I’m going to stop clogging peoples news streams and only send relevant content to relevant groups.
All of this should make me a better Facebooker, I know you’ll all be watching now to see if I fulfil my pledge!
Do you agree with these points? Have you used Google+ yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts too – leave me a comment below or join me on Google+ to have a chat.