It being a cold and snowy weekend, I have had little choice but to cuddle up and read. I know. I don’t know how I make it either.
After finishing up Simon Pegg’s autobiography (a fantastic read!), I moved next to Chris Brogan’s latest book, Google Plus for Business (not an affiliate link) (that’s how I got the title for this post you see). There’s been a lot of talk about this book ever since Chris announced that he was writing it. A lot of people came out in support of him writing about the new platform while others questioned if it was too soon for such a book to be written. I wanted to read the book myself because, darn it all, I’m a fan of coming up with my own thoughts.
Who should buy this book?
First things first. Should you buy this book and then proceed with reading it? I’d go about answering that by asking the following questions:
1. Are you thinking about joining Google Plus but you haven’t made the plunge yet?
2. Have you joined Google Plus but you’re feeling entirely lost/intimidated?
3. Are you wondering if you should kill all of your other social media presence and just focus on Google Plus?
4. Are you wondering what benefits Google Plus offers over other platforms?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, this book can be a huge help for you.
I would also add that even though this book is *technically* about Google Plus, it also offers a lot of quintessential Chris Brogan advice on how to navigate in online waters. Chris reiterates a lot of the advice that helped me formulate how I work online, including an advised ratio of how much to share other peoples’ content versus your own, etc. If you haven’t yet read Trust Agents or if you’re new to this social media stuff, this is a great introduction via the Google Plus prism.
What makes this book a good guide for Google Plus users it that is offers advice via step-by-step, how-to information but also offers real-life examples of how people from different backgrounds are using Google Plus and finding success with it. If that doesn’t encourage you to give it a try (if you haven’t yet) probably few things will.
A couple of issues with the book
All of that being said, there are a couple of things that I would take issue with in regards to this book, and these two issues may or may not affect you.
First, there are a couple of places where Chris suggests that online marketing can really supplant any advertising you were doing. Now Chris and I have had this argument in numerous places. He is rather much anti-advertising whereas advertising is my professional lifeblood, amongst other things. Here is the bottom line I ask people to consider when talking about advertising. While you may not think that advertising is effective (we can argue that), at the very least advertising is a signal that your company is out there and viable. You have enough money to reserve some spots online or in print. You’re out there getting your message to specific demographics who are asking to receive the content that your ads supplement. If you suddenly pull the plug on that advertising, especially during these tough economic times, you’re going to be sending the message that you don’t have the money to do it, while your competitors just might. That doesn’t seem like a great message to send.
Additionally (and again, this traces to my own professional context, so this may not affect you directly), Google Plus for Business does not offer a lot of viable examples for traditional business-to-business companies. The companies we work with, for example, really can’t risk sharing information. Sales forces in very incestuous industries, along with magazine reps and who knows who else, go from manufacturer to manufacturer. Proprietary ingredients, processes, and services cannot be shared on an open and public platform. The idea of complimenting a competitor is not really feasible in these types of environments, even though it can be social media gold for a b2c company.
These are issues that don’t just relate to this book or Google Plus – many conversations about social media miss the fact that the B2B world, especially in terms of manufacturing, is a very different type of animal. Talking about complex engineering formulas on Twitter or Facebook just doesn’t make sense, for the most part. Right?
One other footnote
As an aside, one thing Chris talks about a lot is the fact that social media, regardless of platform, allows you to put a face to your company’s name. It allows you to inject personality into what you and your company do. That being said, it seems worthwhile to note that just talking the talk online is not enough. If you are representing your company online, regardless of platform, you also need to walk the walk offline. More about that in a later post, but it’s something to roll around in your noggin.
If you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, or on Google Plus in general!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26983785@N02/5951866487/ via Creative Commons