Social media strategy? Don’t forget Google +

imageI was talking to a client yesterday who works in the finance sector.  She was telling me how much her team are encouraging her to bring Google + into the organisation.  The techies can certainly see its benefits and can see the introduction of secured areas of the business by using ‘internal only’ circles.  This would bring Google + well into the corporate space as an enterprise application which could be used pretty much as Yammer is.

But just how ‘Enterprise ready’ is Google + 

Should we be incorporating it in our Go To Market social strategies?  With adoption approaching almost 30 million in 5 weeks, awareness is growing amongst non technical users.  Companies will start to notice activity on Google plus on their activity logs.  So there needs to be some sort of framework in place. 

I had a look around at the things I really love and I’ve listed some of the the potential issues I can see that will impact businesses.  Some will impact more than others though.  Here’s my list of 5 things to think about when using Google + :

Realtime search will enable you to find items in Google +  At the moment there isn’t a way to search through your Google + stream.  if you’ve missed it, you’ve missed it.

The URL’s in Google plus make it difficult to share your profile URL easily.  use a tool like http://gplus.to to give you a useful URL.  For example http://gplus.to/eileenb is easier to share than: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118284496967520777039/posts#118284496967520777039/posts   

Hangouts allow multiple people to engage in video chat.  You can set up a new circle and invite the colleagues you want to attend – and you can have a multi-way video chat with up to 10 people at a time – at no cost to the business.  See the YouTube video about Hangouts here. If you need to record some of these Hangouts then Mashable has a lit of 5 tools that can do this.  You can even watch live streams in Hangouts

Google search knows what you want to search for whereas Facebook knows your relationships, your favourite books, your age, likes, videos, family relationships and things you share.  All of this intelligence is incredibly valuable to Facebook’s advertisers.  Google naturally wants you to share this much data so that Google searches can become much more contextual – and adverts much more targeted.  Google + might use the private data in your closed conversations to bring you specific advertising.  It already happens if you have a Gmail account.  Are you happy with that level of privacy – or not?

Now consider this in the corporate space.  Even with private circles, your data is still accessible to Google – and even though this data might not be exposed publically, it is still available to Google – which as a US company, is still required to disclose data to the US government.  If Google + is used for work then it is considered data that might be subject to audit for compliance purposes – in case of legal issues. 

So, in social media strategic terms Google + is being used by more and more of your workforce.  Ease of sharing (dragging and dropping links, images and videos directly into your status box) increases the risk of inadvertently sharing something you shouldn’t. 

You need to have a policy that includes and encompasses Google +.  Treat it like Facebook in terms of employee training, tone and manner and out of hours activity.  Include it in your monitoring activities and create a framework that encompasses Google + in your crisis management plan.

But most of all – Don’t ignore it.

Don’t leave it until it’s too late and one of your over enthusiastic employees shares something that you wish they hadn’t…

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.