Why joining Google Plus will kill your business

by Kristy Bolsinger November 25th, 2011 

destroyed-business

There are lots of reasons that small businesses fail.

  • Lack of capital.
  • Poor timing of market entry.
  • Overexpansion.
  • Lack of exposure.
  • Lack of strategic vision.

The list could go on and on but we can stop with that last one. Lack of strategic vision.

Precious Resources

You've spent countless hours pouring over industry data, market research, brainstorming new products or ways to improve existing lines, cultivating the right talent and generally worrying over and nurturing your company. You've got your business plan in place and your plan of execution laid out. You are limited only by your own blood, sweat and tears. Oh, yeah and financing.

There is a precious balance in place stabilized only by your ability to maintain focus, stretch your imagination and persevere.

So how will Google Plus destroy all of this? Well, lets be real it wont. What will destroy it is your inability to discern what will add real value to your business and what will not. Google Plus itself will not be the downfall of your small business. But what can be is the divergence of precious resources to something that will not add but rather detract.

Cost Of Experimenting

Right now Google Plus is very new. In fact business pages were just recently released. There are no solid usage stats yet to tell us who is engaging and how those pages for business are being used.

Right now many are setting up their pages mainly because they can. And lets be real there can be some major early-mover advantage.

Many of these early business pages are being built by larger businesses that can afford to mix-shift their resources to test and play. Or even by smaller organizations with dedicated social resources.

Sean ODriscoll, CEO and Co-Founder of Ants Eye View once said "The ROI of experimentation is learning." Larger organizations can afford to divert some of their investment to experimentation.

When you are a smaller more limited business you may not have that luxury for this type of activity.

Your better bet is to learn from the investment others are making and jump when the time is right for you.

Focus

Use your experimentation bucket (of time) for things that will differentiate your business in the marketplace.

Google Plus will not actually kill your business. But the inability to maintain focus and discern real true opportunities can.

I'm not saying that participating in Google Plus is a bad move for everyone right now. Every social network will have a common niche. If yours is spending time there then by all means go, jump, play.

If yours is not, then I would urge you to maintain your social media focus in the places where your audience actually is for now and use your time to make your business more awesome than it was yesterday.

If You Want+

If you are interested in getting involved in Google Plus for your business I'd urge you to take a look at some of these:

I'd also consider reading into some of the impacts it may have on your site, and other interesting factors:

Bottom line here is to remember what your business focus is and to not let yourself get distracted by the new shiny kid on the block.

If you determine that this is something that is right for you and your business then go for it.

The great thing about social media is that it isnt just one tool. Social media is a way of operating and engaging on the web. Transfer what you have learned across your other social properties here and youll be well on your way.

Kristy Bolsinger

Kristy Bolsinger is a Senior Associate at PwC in Seattle, WA. She has previously worked at Ant's Eye View (acquired by PwC in 2012), and RealNetworks (GameHouse). Prior to her time at RealNetworks, and Ant's Eye View - Kristy was working as a Social Media Marketing Consultant and completing her MBA at Willamette University. She maintains a social media blog and can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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12 Responses to “Why joining Google Plus will kill your business”

  1. Bethany says:

    Interesting thoughts. Actually quite true though, and THANK YOU for allowing me to justify not signing up just yet. Sometimes as a business owner I feel pulled in so many directions and it is very difficult to maintain focus, but if I keep trying this new thing and that new thing, I'm not going to do anything to completion and in essence, waste my time.

    • Hi Bethany – I'm glad you felt that way. That is exactly why I wrote this post. I know small business owners are incredibly strapped for time and energy. It's important to be paying attention and be aware of these things, but it may not always be right for your goals right at that moment. Keep an eye on G+ though – unlike many of Google's other social efforts I have a feeling this one might just stick. At the very least it's going to be playing an important part in our search engine ranking factors going forward I'd say.

  2. Rich says:

    Seems that you believe that Google+ is a social network, when actually it's an identity service with a social network built on top of it.

    By having a Google Profile you can take advantage of two things:

    rel=author markup -> gives you an icon next to the site on Google, as well as showing you are the real author of content,

    rel=publisher markup -> Direct Connect on Google, as well as showing Google that a URL has content produced by this page.

    Google have already said that they will give more weighting to "Official" pages, so having the site hooked into their identity platform lets them know what's official and what's not.

    Right now, I agree that it's possibly too early, I'd also say that Google is putting a huge emphasis on +, and that not signing up when it's owned by the main search engine, the one you want to like your page, is a little short sighted.

    • Hey Rich

      While I agree foor some you are correct. But the only thing worse than not being present on a platform is having a presence, then ignoring it. While yes – I do actually believe that G+ is a valid and important platform for a content federation and promotion strategy. But when you're very limited on resources I think your time is much more valuable being spent on the places where you've already developed an audience and are engaging. When your audience is making the switch then it's definitely time for you to make the plunge!

  3. Jake Croston says:

    Not knocking the article, I agree lack of focus can derail any business. And lord knows there are 10000+ ways to waste time on the social media landscape. But, you can't put that as the title to an article to get readers, then refute the stated title fact the whole time.

    Its crying wolf, misleading, and jumping on the bandwagon of pro G+, or anti G+. I would have found an article about maintaining focus on 1 or 2 social media sites for building business much more informative and helpful.

    Still, well written and plays both sides of the argument. Opinion pieces are meant to cause reaction.

    • Thanks for the feedback Jake. The title of the article was quite purposeful because I do believe that a lack of strategic focus can in fact kill your business. Will Google + specifically? Nope. But you're right – opinion pieces are designed to cause a reaction and I'm glad that you played along. :)

  4. Thanks for the article. I've been speaking with many small business owners about whether or not Google+ is right for them, and frankly, if they barely have time for social media now, why try to cram in something else?

    • Yep. The key is "until they need to". Learning how to determine when it becomes something they ought to be doing and need to be doing is key. Paying attention to trends is important and having awareness is critical. But you don't always need to be the center of every party. :) Thanks Dana!!

  5. Leo Saraceni says:

    Kristy, I can certainly understand the advice. Dont waste your precious resources in a network that has a fraction of the users of Facebook.

    But you totally fail to address the Search benefits of a Google+ page. With Direct Connect and the rel="publisher" link you get not just every single one of your posts indexed (FB & Twitter dont), but you get your logo to go along. That logo alone adds considerable CTR, but the added search visibility is enough to justify a participation in G+.

    Really, you shouldnt place all your cards in it, but it definitely deserves your attention.

    • @Leo – You are totally correct. And I did it on purpose. The point of the article wasn't to evaluate all of the incremental benefits that Google + could bring to a small business – it was to point out a need to focus one's energy on where you can reap the greatest rewards given your goal set.

      This is a very good point and one I would use in BOLD if I were going to analyze it with that frame of reference. I actually think there is a very good and righteous place for Google + in a marketing mix especially when we're talking about the synergistic relationship between Search and Social :)

  6. David says:

    The biggest question is: What exactly are you trying to achieve? In any business it depends who are your costumers? What exactly your business does, does it go hand in hand with social media? There are too many questions, but the most important think is if social media works for your business then keep at it.

    • Kristy says:

      I have yet to meet a business that could not benefit from social in some form or another. Social doesn't mean just Twitter and Facebook promotions anymore. Well, to be fair it never did but that's surely what gets the lions share of attention. I think it's most important to look at your business goals and find ways to leverage the power of social to help you accomplish those in meaningful ways. So I'd argue, if you don't think your business can benefit from social, you may be looking at the problem wrong.