5 Tips for Google+ to Beat Facebook
by Andrew Grinaker
Personally, I am glad that Google has entered the social realm successfully this time. Wave and Buzz were failures but Google didn’t give up and have launched a product that is effective, engaging and most importantly an option to Goliath, aka Facebook. Similar to Microsoft reinventing itself with Bing and giving Google Search a competitor, Google+ is going to keep Facebook honest and give consumers what they really deserve; two competing companies fighting for the social space with new features to engage a demanding audience.
Here are 5 things I think Google needs to focus on to beat Facebook.
1) Exclusive (invite-only) Access Needs to Go Away and Soon – It was a smart public relations move to initially start with invite only, (did anyone really believe any bandwidth or beta issues were really to blame?) but you have reached the early adopters and testers by now. Open it up and try to capture as many people interested in it now instead of asking friends for invites or wondering why the hell they need an invite to something they can already get through Facebook.
2) Get out of your own way – Google is big, powerful and won’t be affected if a few hundred (thousand) people leave their GMAIL or Search services. However, social is a different beast. Take for example the Google+ business profile snafu they created. They setup business pages, promised pages wouldn’t go down, took down said pages and ultimately frustrated many people. They did this with little disregard for their end user. These type of situations cannot be duplicated since they will get shared, re-shared, tweeted and re-tweeted.
3) (Effective) Integration with other Google Products – The biggest advantage that Google has over Facebook is the other products their users are already engaged in. YouTube, Google Search, Picasa, Gmail, and Google Docs are a few products that should continue to be leveraged and integrated in order for people to forget about Mark’s “social network.”
4) Google Places and Location Based Incentives – If Google+ continues to grow at the rate it has initially, they will have plenty of users to put Foursquare and Facebook Places on watch for their ability to reach engaged consumers. They already have businesses and organizations setup through their Google Places platform, along with incentivizing their users with the newly created “Google offers.” If integration is done correctly, they could capture the “offers and daily deals” market unlike any other business.
5) Be Honest about Data Sharing and Privacy – An issue that Facebook deals with to this date. If you are up front early on in the game about how data is being manipulated (its all consumed and sold in my opinion) then you will have a better chance to selling your user base on enhancements, APIs and social graphs in the future.