For the past few days, I’ve been using Google+, which (in case you haven’t been following the tech news) is Google’s much anticipated entry into social media.
I’d never call myself a social media expert, but I do use social media as a tool to help market my freelance writing business and share my blogging efforts. So, when Google+ became available to me I decided to take a look.
This post contains my first impressions and in particular my thoughts on how freelance writers may be affected.
The Google+ Learning Curve
In my opinion, the type of learning curve writers will experience learning Google+ depends partially on whether or not they have some prior social media experience. Experienced social media users will find the basics of the tool fairly easy to pick up (although there are some features that may not be obvious at first).
In fact, if you’ve used social media before you’ll probably find yourself making a running comparison as you discover the features of Google+. I know I kept a running list in my head of similarities and differences between Google’s social media tool and other tools I’ve used.
For first time social media users who are starting on social media with Google+, the learning curve may be steeper. Of course, this steeper curve would exist for any social media tool if the user was brand new to social media, but I think it’s particularly true for the Google+ tool since many of the features are improvements to tasks most of us already perform in social media.
The New Social Media Scene
For some time, there have been three major social media tools that freelance writers had to focus on if they wanted to effectively market themselves or their freelancing business:
That’s not to say that other tools aren’t useful and shouldn’t be used. There are many other social media tools that can offer specific advantages for certain writers in certain situations. However, if a writer had a strong presence on the “Big 3” listed above, they could almost be assured of meeting a healthy percentage of their social media marketing needs.
I can see Google+ changing this formula. For now, it’s too early to tell whether Google+ will change the “Big 3” social media tools to the “Big 4” or if it will take one (or more) tools out of the equation. I think writers would be well-served to learn all they can about Google+ and opt in at their earliest convenience.
Of Particular Concern for Writers
I see three other areas that may change for writers because of Google+:
- All-in-one platform–Google+ has the potential to become an all-in-one tool for writers since it can combine social networking with business tools such as email and Google documents. And don’t forget that it’s owned by the biggest search engine company out there. The real question is: do we really want to combine all of these functions into a single platform? (It seems an awful lot like putting all your eggs in one basket to me…)
- SEO copywriting specialists–Freelance writers who specialize in producing copy designed to work around the search engine algorithms will ultimately find themselves further impacted by Google+. Of course, the Panda update eliminated some poor content problems, but now social media users themselves will have the opportunity to “vote” on the value of content and ultimately impact search engine rankings. In the future, this may well make SEO copywriting obsolete.
- Possible improvements to privacy concerns–With its Circles feature, Google+ has directly tackled one of the biggest concerns that many freelance writers (and others) have about some social media tools. Most writers worry about sharing the same information with their family and their clients. The Circles feature eliminates that worry. In Google+ all contacts can be assigned to one or more Circles. You decide which Circles get to see which content.
This post is based on my preliminary opinions. I may not be a social media expert, but I can share some additional links with Google+ information from those who are. Here are some posts about Google+ that I found helpful:
- The Google Plus 50 from Chris Brogan
- Google+: 50 Helpful Posts to Get You Started from Deb Ng on Kommein
- How to Get Started With Google+, Your Complete Guide by Kristi Hines on Social Media Examiner
Of course, new Google+ posts are popping up almost every hour. So by the time that you read this there may be even better resources online. If so, feel free to share them.
What Do You Think?
Does Google+ make a difference for freelance writers? Will you use Google+ ? Share your thoughts.