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Why Google+ is NOT the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Don’t get me wrong. I like Google+. I really do.

A number of real estate professionals are already using it in hopes of getting ahead of the competition. Everyday, there seems to be new articles stating how amazing Google+ is, how it will annihilate Twitter, take out Facebook, etc. But, as with every social media platform you choose to spend your time on, you need to analyze the return on investment before devoting your time to it. With social media, it’s my belief that the focus should always be to maximize your reach and engagement by using the platforms where your potential clients already are.

Let’s take Twitter back in it’s early days as an example. Twitter launched in 2006 and had a significant number of users back in 2007. While working at Zillow, David and I only had so many hours in the day to keep up with social media as well as get our day jobs done. In 2007, it was not the most efficient use of our time to use Twitter to further the Zillow brand with agents. However, once Twitter got a point where we could reach more people using that platform than blogging and blog commenting (probably sometime in late 2008), we both shifted a significant chunk of our social media time there. Neither of us could justify diving into Twitter until there were more Zillow conversations occurring on Twitter than on blogs. Did we lose out on a year of relationship building with some early adopters? Sure. But were most of those early adopters still blogging? Yes. So, did we totally lose touch with them simply because they were using Twitter a year ahead of us? No.

Don’t get me wrong, there is value to Google+ — and it will likely become one of the largest social platforms on the planet in time. But is the platform the best use of your social media time RIGHT NOW? That’s the question you should be asking yourself.

As for me? Let’s just say I’ll let the early adopters I trust (such as Jeff Turner) evaluate and gauge whether it’s a platform worth spending my time on. If someone like Turner shifts all his social media time to Google+, then I’ll think about doing the same. I’m betting it’ll be at least another 6 months until Google+ reaches a point where it rivals the effectiveness of Twitter or Facebook.

Remember, there are only so many hours in the day to spend utilizing social media and you need to maximize that time if you want to succeed.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Carra Riley

    Drew ~  You are absolutely right.  The early adapters are in the game now… so if you are wanting to connect with people in a different stratosphere then this is the place to be.  If your target market is the basic consumer it might be awhile before they get to Google+.  So each person needs to do exactly what you are saying.. identify who that target market it that you are trying to reach with your social media minutes then decide where you should spend them.  There is an “unwritten” caste system to the circles with the players in the game and some of the past social media players are not getting the response they got in the other venues so it will take time for it all to level out.  Google is still the 800 pound gorilla in the room and posting directly on Google can’t be a bad thing in the long run!  I believe people should get in the game to at least know what it is and how it works.. when the masses start coming the practice has been done and you are ready to rock. 

  • I disagree because Google+ is a much more expansive platform. There is more to learn and therefore, early adopters will be more adept at using it when the rest of humanity joins in. 

    Also, I think there is a productivity aspect. to it because of ties to Google Contacts and Calendar. For instance, it’s a good way for teams to communicate through Circles, Hangouts and the tie-in to Calendar Subscriptions from within the browser interface. The ROI isn’t simply in marketing, but also in productivity. You just have to think outside the box. This is not Facebook. Thankfully!

  • Your point is well taken in the short run (only because of the #users).  In the long run Google+ IMHO should be a better platform, especially for real estate because it has a very rich user experience and way better than Twitter.

    I think you will see the user count on Google+ increase rapidly because features like circles, hang outs, no character limitations and hopefully the integration with the other Google properties like Google Doc’s.

    I would not bet against Google+, especially since they have grown to over 25 million users in 1 month on an “invitation only” roll out.

    • I’m certainly not betting against Google+ — I think it will be an amazing platform with a massive number of users. But it’s still not as effective as Facebook and Twitter RIGHT NOW, which is the reason I haven’t spent much time with it.

    • The beauty is that nobody has to bet on or against Google+. It will be whatever it will be. I like it. I’m not ready to turn my attention away from Facebook for it just yet, at least not in any substantive way. I’ll watch it, use it a little and see where it goes. But it does me absolutely no good to hype it at this point. 

  • “A number of real estate professionals are already using it in hopes of getting ahead of the competition.” Ahead of the competition how? This kind of thinking is driven by edge dwellers. For the average real estate professional, spending more than a curious level of time on Google+, just so you can have a conversational knowledge, is too much time. There are exceptions to that rule, probably. Perhaps if you’re a real estate professional who lives within a 50 mile radius of a Google office or have an extremely vocal edge dwelling local tech community, but those exceptions are certainly not the rule. 

    For myself, I think it’s a fun little social network. There are some cool new shiny objects there. And let me be clear, I like shiny objects. But if it weren’t for the little black bar that now shows at the top of all of my Google apps, I’d never give it a second thought right now. There’s no learning curve. It’s not rocket science. It’s not like spending hours a day in advance of the oncoming horde of consumers will make me better at being social there. 🙂

    I don’t believe there will be any penalty for being late to this party. A good number of “traditional” real estate professionals showed up “late” to Twitter and Facebook as well. They are not suffering at all as a result. The only people who benefit from being first (outside the obvious conversation/social/fun benefits) are those trying to make a buck off of social media itself. 

    It seems to have killed the Empire Avenue hype however. For that I’m grateful. 🙂

    • I’m certainly glad this kicked empire earth to the curb for now as well 🙂

  • Drew, I have not read the other comments so someone may have already taken this stance. You know I respect you greatly, and I get where you are coming from here as far as best use of time, but as an active agent I want to tell you a little about my business, why I think + is such a great tool for agents and take a different approach to social media as an agent.

    First I just looked at some numbers. I have 6 clients (past and present) that I follow on Twitter, of which two I interact with on a regular basis. Sure some people may have a lot more, but I have over 100 different clients in the last 3 years, and that is all that I really see on Twitter. Facebook I have 38 clients (past and present) that I have in a list and on Google Plus I have 8 past/current clients in my clients circle. So already + is a better place than Twitter to keep in touch with clients. Lets face it, most of our clients are not on Twitter and even fewer are actually active. 

    Now the part I really want to take exception to is the part of you should be using social media as a tool to keep in touch with your clients. Yes I agree with that, but I think social media is a lot more to agents. As an agent I like to think I am on the cutting edge of everything going on in our industry. How am I doing that, by reading A LOT, following blogs, following discussions on Plus and Twitter and staying engaged. This is as important as staying in touch with clients because you want to be able to always know what the heck you are talking about when you talk to your clients.

    In that I think + is a much better tool than Twitter, and twitter is a much better tool than facebook. Facebook is still the best tool for talking to clients, but as far as staying involved in news and trends to me it lacks behind Twitter which lacks behind +.

    Plus is the best tool yet for learning and engaging. Plus is a way, the best way, I have seen where I can see a discussion on MARS or Short Sales or FHA loan limits or anything else and have a discussion with other agents. You can have a much better discussion on + with more detail than you can twitter and I think it is “more acceptable” to have the discussion on + than it is a Facebook wall. 

    What I would love to see is the rechat discussion one night being held on + instead of twitter. I think there would be some issues, but I would love to see how the discussion played out. I think you can have a much more thorough and well thought out conversation here than twitter because of the obvious character limit issues. 

    So while I agree what you are saying about its time is not really here as far as with our clients, I do think it already is a better place to be able to learn and interact with the crew than twitter because you can have a much better in depth conversation about the current issues of real estate and our constant education is as important as keeping in touch with clients.

    Ok ramble over… back to my beer.

  • What’s the difference between the mobile version of G+ and the app version?

  • I actually thought Google put forth a valiant effort with G+ but it’s not really gaining any traction with the non-techies. They definitely upped the ante for Facebook though. There are a few things I do not like about G+ and I’m sure others feel the same.

    1) Circles feels extremely gimmicky
    2) I hate hate hate the invite process
    3) I know imitation is the highest form of flattery, but outright theft of Facebook’s UI is a bit ridic.
    4) Where the hell is the Direct Message feature?
    5) Completely ho-hum G+ app
    6) “Huddle” is LAME

  • Judi

    Shiny objects aside, I never enjoy being the first to a party, unless I’m giving it!

  • “you can have a much better in depth conversation about the current issues of real estate”

    That’s IF everyone is using Google+ actively. I’d argue most of the are not. I have a “REnetInsiders” circle with about 100 people in it…I just scanned the feed from there and saw one decent conversation. The rest was just checkins, videos, or other random items. Granted, that’s a small sample – I didn’t scroll back and back and back looking for conversations. But I really don’t agree that G+ is a better tool to engage the industry than Twitter least, not right now.

  • I happen to like Google+. It is easy to use and has many features that I use on a daily basis. 

  • Yeah its a matter of time really! Google+ will have its turn, i’m sure of that… for now lets have the advantage of using other social networking like twitter and FB..

  • With all of us having to track multiple accounts, such as email, google, facebook, etc, it has become harder for the competition to break their way in, into our daily routine.
    New sites have to offer something new for the majority of us to us. A new website may provide exactly what you have been looking for, but if it doesn’t get enough attention, I am sure the company will not regret pulling the plug and cutting their loses. The reality is that all business are out there to provide solutions, but ultimately if there’s no money to be made, they will close shop.

  • Pingback: How Google+ Might Impact Search Results over Time? | | GeekEstate BlogGeekEstate Blog()

  • I think it’s funny I can’t G+1 this post. 😉

  • Anonymous

    I do think Google+ has some strong points, but I agree, it’s not the best platform to be using my social media time right now. Not enough people are using it and even though it has ‘circles’ and ‘hangout’, there is no point in having this if most of my friends don’t have a Google+ account. Word of mouth hasn’t quite managed to get Google+ more members yet. I do think that in the future it will become more popular though, unless Facebook decides to pull something out of the bag.
    What is a little worrying though, is that we found some stats showing that most managers at Google don’t have a Google+ account, our CTO has written a blog article showing the amount that use Google+ and the amount that don’t
    I hope that in the future Google+ becomes more popular – right now it’s not really worth using so much, but it will be such a waste if it never takes off

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