Google+ is fast becoming a popular social networking tool. People are basically comparing it to Facebook, which has over 750 million users today. But what exactly does Google+ offer that Facebook doesn’t? Would people actually get more value in one over the other? Take a look at Google+ Circles, a feature that the new platform is highlighting as one of its best, and which addresses social relationships and how people interact with each of their “circles.”
Lessons from offline networks
Basically, the concept of Google+ Circles is based on making your online connections similar to your connections in the real world. It offers you the ability to create “circles” for each group of people you interact with, such as a circle for your friends, a circle for your family, a circle for your colleagues, and so on. The idea is that you typically share different information with each of these groups, meaning what you share with your friends, for example, may not exactly be what you want to share with your family. With Google+ Circles, creating a group is easy and convenient.
Though Facebook actually offers you this feature, as you have the ability to create “Friends Lists,” it’s a lot more difficult to manage, and most users don’t even know about it, which is why most Facebook users don’t really use this feature.
So how can Google+ Circles help you create and build relationships?
Since managing each group is a lot easier, it also makes it a lot less difficult to enjoy much deeper and meaningful conversations with each of your groups. Unlike with Facebook, where you have to censor your posts sometimes since all of your friends will get to see them, with Google+ Circles, you can actually be more confident about your posts, knowing that only the chosen group will be able to see it.
Brands can also take advantage of this feature by grouping their followers to interact more meaningfully with each of them. This would mean a better interaction with each group as you get to address each of their concerns more appropriately.
Of course, right now, Google+ is currently offering its membership to a selected few and are not yet allowing brands to participate. But there is news that they will soon be offering this feature, which is similar to creating a company page in Facebook.
Some people have expressed their concerns about Google+ Circles. For example, there is the fact that your relationships with each person in the real world can be incredibly fluid – though this person may start out as your colleague, she can become a very close friend in time. Or what if you quit your old job and get a new one… this means your “work” group doesn’t apply anymore, so do you create a new “work” group and rename the old one as “former colleagues,” perhaps? It seems like you will be doing a lot of organization to make sure that everything works perfectly in your Circles. So it may be something that Google+ still has to address.
But right now, most people who have tried Google+ are raving about the Circles feature. It is truly an excellent way to help you build more meaningful relationships with each of your groups.
Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog and is also the CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm. She helps create connection, credibility, community and cha-ching through mobile marketing and social commerce around your brand. She is co-founder of #brandchat – a weekly twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding.