5 reasons the best thing about Google+ is it's a new-old idea

For people interested in social media, the question asked most often these days is: “What do you think of Google+?”
What people are asking is: “Is Google+ going to be as big as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?” And what they are thinking is: “How many more social networks do we need?”
In my opinion, Google+ is going to be as big as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and, after Google+, the market for major social networks is going to be near saturation.
Why? Because Google+ is a new-old idea.  Here are 5 reasons to explain.

  1. FOR THE FIRST TIME, A SOCIAL NETWORK IS CENTERED AROUND SOCIAL “CIRCLES,” WHICH IS THE WAY WE’VE ALWAYS BEHAVED:  The biggest point of difference for Google+ is it is founded around “circles” and we have to think about the circle where people belong.  Simple as this idea is, it is the first time social circles have formed a social network.  This is a step beyond fans, followers and connections; yet, it’s something we all do as human beings and have always been doing.
  2. FOR BUSINESSES, SOCIAL “CIRCLES” TRANSLATES TO THE BENEFITS OF CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION:  One of the 1st principles of marketing is not all customers are created equal.  There is the 80%/20% rule – 20% of customers account of 80% of sales.  There are heavy, medium and light users as well as loyal customers and brand advocates.   Through “circles,” Google+ gives businesses built-in customer segmentation and that’s a big competitive advantage.
  3. GOOGLE+ IS A “CHALLENGER” BRAND.  Google is openly stating Google+ is going to compete head-to-head with Facebook.  There is plenty of history to suggest this is not going to happen.  Consider Google BuzzGoogle Wave and Orkut.  Maybe Google+ should have started with smaller ambitions.  Nah.  That would take away from the allure of a “challenger” brand; one we root for and want to win as Adam Morgan describes in his book, Eating the Big Fish.  A “challenger” brand is not a new idea.  Look at Avis vs. Hertz, Pepsi vs. Coke and Apple vs. Microsoft.  Google may be too big to be an upstart but they know the value of a “challenger” positioning.
  4. EVERYBODY WANTS SOMETHING THAT IS ONLY AVAILABLE TO A SELECT FEW.  It might seem counter to social media to launch a social network by invitation only.  But that’s what Google+ did.  Why?  They know the quickest way to build mass appeal is to make it accessible to only a small group.  That way, we all want it more and prize it more highly once we have it.
  5. GOOGLE IS A “GIVER” IN A WORLD FULL OF “TAKERS.”  Google gives away much of what it does – search, analytics, software – for everyone’s use.  Many of the businesses in this country would not be able to do business or do it as well without the aid of Google products they are getting for free  When it comes to getting behind something, we want to support someone who is more likely to give than want to get.

Google+ may not be first mover, but it fulfills a very legitimate social need, business need, is well-position and has been brought to market in a highly intelligent way.  I also think many of us are rooting for Google  this time around.
How about you?

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