Google+ is the latest social networking site to come on the scene. At first glance, it appears to blend the functionality of Twitter with Facebook. Google+ closely resembles Facebook in that the home page streams the feeds of information posted by people in your “circles” (think Friends on Facebook or Following on Twitter) in the form of rich content such as photos, images, text, videos and links. It is similar to Twitter in that anyone can add you to their circles and see what you are posting. The jury is still out on whether Google+ is going to be the next Facebook. So the question is, “Should you use Google+?”
Not much different than Facebook or Twitter
As far as I can tell, Google+ does not provide a solution or benefit that is notably different than what Twitter and Facebook currently offer. That being said, there will be a number of Google enthusiasts as well as Facebook and Twitter detractors who prefer to use Google+. And of course, there will be the early adopters who will prefer Google+ just because it is new. But the majority of the population just recently became comfortable with the idea of having a Facebook page. It may be a while before they decide a Google+ page is a necessity as well.
There is a core group of financial advisors who will be early adopters of Google+. These are the same people who were active on Twitter two, three and even four or more years ago. These advisors are lovers of social media and are naturally attracted to this medium. However, if you are more like the average advisor who does not enjoy spending hours on social networking sites and trying every new tool, I recommend you wait on Google+. While the buzz is generally positive about Google+, there is no way to know if this new social networking site is going to gain the kind of popularity sites like LinkedIn and Facebook enjoy. Google has launched other social media tools like Google Wave, which never caught on, so it is a little early to get on the Google+ bandwagon. Many advisors worry about having enough time to dedicate to social media, or are concerned their target demographic isn’t utilizing social media sites. At this current point in time, both of these are valid concerns with Google+.
Can’t be ignored
Google+ is not to be ignored. After all, Google is the most popular website in the world, so it seems reasonable that its social networking site has the same potential for popularity. However, until it is clear that Google+ is going to be a leader in the social networking space, or until it is clear that the site will attract a different demographic than what is currently using Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, I’d say wait. You don’t have to be “first-to-market” in the social media space to be successful. You just have to engage in quality interactions once you are on a site to achieve success. So unless social media is an enjoyable hobby of yours, take a step back and see how Google+ develops. Don’t worry. You’ll have time to get on the bandwagon when all of your prospects, clients and centers of influence decide to do the same.
For more on using social media, see:
- Back to basics: Why should advisors use social media?
- Create a social media policy for employees
- Social media: 7 steps for releasing valuable content
Kristen Luke is the principal of Wealth Management Marketing, a firm dedicated to providing marketing strategies and support for registered investment advisory firms. For more information, visit www.wealthmanagementmarketing.net.