Google+ vs Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – Who will win?

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We have been playing with Google+ since it first launched and thought that it would be worth a quick blog for anyone who is not able to access it yet. Or in a lot of cases, you may already have it but can’t work out how or why to use it.

There was an article a couple of years ago, discussing the difference between real world networks and social networks, in the way that they allow you to separate your audience. The concept was that in real life, people are actually different ‘distances’ away from you. We liked it and did some blogging about it, which got a lot of interest.

Our different audiences and their ‘distances’

In our family we have parents and our kids, close family, extended family and distant family you don’t see much.

In our friendships, we have close friends, old friends, work friends and acquaintances.

In our work life we have partners, colleagues, customers, suppliers and so on.

In our Social Networking life, the different platforms have done a great job of blending these audiences together for us, but in real life that’s not how it works. We don’t say the same things to our parents that we say to our brothers and sisters or our kids – the message might be the same, but the language and the communication is different.

In our business life, we might want to say things to our customers that we don’t want to share with our suppliers or competitors. You get the drift. In a marketing context, this is very important to our competitive advantage.

The flaw with existing social networks

This is where the major issue arises for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and why they probably can’t do much to change.

You see they all need our social graph to be as wide as possible, because the more connections we share with, the more opportunities they have to take a slice of the ‘introducer’ fee which drives all online marketing. Companies like Google make most if not all of their revenue from taking a slice of a companies marketing spend, effectively an introducer fee for connecting that company to a new customer. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all looking to do the same process but instead of search, they will use our social connections and sharing.

So why would Google introduce a Social Network that allows you to easily and completely separate your audiences?

Well, it’s very, very simple.

Until a few weeks ago, Google were not in the game of Social Networks and even now, they are still a tiny player. They are actually in another game altogether – search. Even if they are not able to make money acting as an introducer within their social network, they have nothing to lose.

In fact, they have launched a social network which firstly, incorporates the separation features that the other social networks can’t. Second and from the opposite end of the spectrum included the ability to share with more people by doing this!

Their focus is on enhancing their search revenue with +1, sharing and so on. Google are actually building a human powered search engine. Forget search algorithms based on an estimate of likely relevance – Google are changing to a search engine based on crowdsourced opinions and experience.

If you have a Google+ account, or when you do, have a look at Angry Birds – one of the first Google+ games to launch.

Not only can I see the scores of my friends, work colleagues and family, but I just overtook Mark Zuckerberg’s highest score and my next target is Sergey Brin. This is not fake – they really are playing and I can see how they did. This is more akin to following a celebrity on Twitter – I get to share experiences instead of 140 character sound bites though. I have Sergey in a circle, so I get to share his latest holiday snaps, not just a bit.ly link.

This is where Google may just have the golden egg.

If you have other features of Google Plus you think will trump the other social networks, please add them in the comments below – we love your feedback.

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About the Author:

KnowledgeBank work with Companies to develop their data driven marketing solutions to generate profitable new customer relationships. We also deliver social media training, consultancy and strategy to hundreds of businesses across the UK. If you would like further information about how you can develop your own marketing activity or social media, please contact us on 01772 978 101.