I think we need a Popeye to like reaction to Google’s ridiculous over-promotion of Google+. If you follow any of the internal Google blogs be it about Adwords, small business or whatever else the subject matter, it appears as if you can count on about 1/3 of the posts being the same post about Google+ that you saw on a different Google blog in the very recent past.
While I am not one of the Google+ detractors like many are, I am starting to get a slight sense of desperation on the part of the search giant. This incessant need to put Google+ everywhere and have it be the main topic of any Google generated conversation is not serving to gain market share. It is actually just getting really annoying.
Google is treating their promotion of Google+ like a kindergartner handles getting something they want. In their minds, young kids simply figure that if you say something enough times over and over and over again that you will ultimately get what they want. Why do they do that? Well, because if they have a weak willed parent it works. It’s a war of attrition that stressed out adults figure they aren’t losing just because they give in on one battle. That’s some bad logic right there, trust me.
Now, back to Google. By saying “Use Google+, use Google+, use Google+” over and and over again they may actually be their own worst enemy. Rather than making Google+ a product that people want to use they are trying to pester people into using it. Well, I hate to tell you, Google, but it’s not working the way you might like. In fact, it’s just plain aggravating and makes people turn away and grumble.
Do you really want people to use Google+? Then stop holding your breath and rolling around on the floor until we give in. It’s not going to happen. Stop making every other post on every blog you put content on about how to use Google+. Or better yet, if you feel the need to constantly promote the service at least invest in different messages so that when I see yet another post on a Google blog about Google+ I can at least get new information and not something that is merely a cross post of the same information over and over and over.
I get that this is just a rant but it does speak to the real trouble Google is having getting traction with Google+. It seems as if they feel like they can wear us down and thus make us give in to seeing their vision of Google+’s position in the Google ecosystem. That’s not going to work. So rather than just complain that Google is acting like a spoiled kid in their approach to getting Google+ into our hearts and minds here are a few suggestions.
- Help people – Instead of telling people what to do get out on the road and in the streets and show people (particularly SMB’s) how they could use Google+ to increase their business. Businesses are struggling while Wall Street booms and it’s difficult for the little guy. What if you, the Goog, showed SMB’s what they could accomplish with Hangouts etc and then let them promote Google+ usage to their customers for you? If you could explain to a busy small business owner that if they invest in a Google+ presence and program while it is still young, they could then bring their customers into Google+ because they are giving their customers value that they may not get through a Facebook or Twitter effort. Help people make a good decision.
- Respect people – This “shout it from the mountain top” (or Mountain View in Google’s case) approach is one of disrespect. Why? It’s because it comes across as an edict from a seemingly benevolent dictator who simply feels that people should do something because they are who they are. Google, you are strong and powerful but you’re not a ruler of anyone or anything. You are a company that needs to humanize yourself and stop being so arrogant. Treat people like they want to be treated by helping them decide that a Google+ presence and effort is something they can get true value from. People like to make decisions for themselves (at least the smart ones you would want on board at Google+) so help them do that.
- Reach out to people – I have had this conversation with countless local SEO’s and others who work with the people Google needs in order for Google+ to succeed. Forget the Robert Scobles of the world. That’s great for adoption in the Silicon Bubble but that’s not where most people experience life. They do it at street level. Facebook has achieved street level reach. How? Well, first they started with kids starved for interaction. Google+ doesn’t have that social media first mover advantage. What can be done though is address the shortcomings of the Facebook model and show folks how you have improved on a good thing. Then don’t assume that everyone gets it. They don’t. Then reach out and help them understand on their terms not yours. Which leads me to my last point.
- Be people – Huh? This simply means that you need to invest in what amounts to an army of people who hit the streets and evangelize Google+ with a person and not an algorithm. While it’s nice that the SEO community gets Matt Cutts to be the “face of Google” who is doing that for the rest of the population? You know….the ones you TRULY need to adopt Google+? Who is it? Who are they? Have you been pressing the flesh and kissing babies so people can feel like Google+ is a good option? If you have I have missed it. Please update!
So there. I said some stuff. Google is appearing desperate in its attempts to cram Google+ down the online world’s throat. That has to change if they want to succeed. Do I think it can happen? Absolutely and I truly hope it does. But in the same breath I will say that it is not going to happen how they are doing it now. Not a chance.
What’s your take on how Google should be promoting Google+? Do you care? Do you want it to succeed? If yes, what would it take? If no, thanks for sticking around until now!