Brett Sadler

Google+ and #ukhousing – is 2014 the year?

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I’ve been in Google+ for some 8 months now. My initial interest for the social media platform fairly quickly gave way to a general lack of understanding and then to only intermittently checking and posting the odd thing here and there.

 

So for 2014 I’ve decided I’d like to give it another go. The bottom line for me is that I need to use it more often and become much more interactive with other users. This has hit home to me again when looking through the number of registered users on Google+ compared to another platform like say Twitter. I think it’s fair to say that the number of Housing people on Twitter has fairly skyrocketed in the past 12 months and I’d guess this trend will continue, but what about Google+? The #ukhousing presence on Google+ is just a little bit sparse by comparison!!

 

A recent stat I read said that Google+ had the 2nd most active users for 2013 for all social media platforms. It only ranked behind Facebook. This got me thinking. Looking through #ukhousing, it does seem we are behind the trend on this platform. Sure, some organisation’s and individuals are using it, but it’s hardly caught on and Google+ is not yet the place to be.

When I first jointed Google+ it felt very similar to when I first joined LinkedIn. Back when LinkedIn first began in 2003 I joined in that same year (thanks to my tech loving cousin in Australia). Searching through LinkedIn back in 2003 I was struggling to find anyone I knew. It just hadn’t really reached the UK at that time so most of the registered users were still in the US. Of course, now, LinkedIn is truly global, but when I look at Google+ it has a very similar feel, like its not quite caught the UK’s imagination………yet.

 

Google+ has a lot more useability than Twitter. There isn’t the 140 character limit for one thing. You can also be as open (or not) as you choose to be with your circles and your posts. I won’t try and give any pointers on using Google+, but I’ve found a great introduction to Google+ here which explains it better than I ever could.

 

So, come on #ukhousing. Maybe it’s time we all signed up to Google+ and got on the bandwagon?

 

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7 thoughts on “Google+ and #ukhousing – is 2014 the year?

  1. Nice post Brett.

    I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest that this won’t be the year that ukhousing flocks to G+

    Similarly to yourself one of my social media resolutions is to give G+ another push – but I don’t ever see it becoming a major player in the sector.

    It’s definitely the “best” network in terms of all round features – but it suffers from a lack of killer reason to spend time there.

    Facebook has the popularity
    Twitter has the immediacy
    LinkedIn has the professional groups
    Instagram has the fun

    Until Google + develops that single reason to be there I think it will struggle to break mainstream. And whatever those user numbers say have you ever heard Google + mentioned in the news in the same way any of the above or the likes of Snapchat have?

    That said I think it’s a great network for the slightly geekier crowd – witness the superb tech and social innovation groups on there. The new Bromford Innovation Lab will be using it for its community too.

    So I think G+ will only be adopted by ukhousing if someone develops a forum that’s the place to be. One that utilises killer content and mixes it with visuals , video and hangouts.

    Let’s see where we both are with it in a years time!

  2. Great comments Paul.

    I completely agree with everything you’ve said. Someone needs to develop a forum that is sufficiently interesting (and different from other platforms) to get ukhousing to adopt.

    Sounds like a challenge…………….and I like a challenge!!

  3. I suspect more and more #ukhousing professionals will probably adopt G+. It’s nicely positioned to bridge the “stuffiness” of LinkedIn with the light-heartedness of facebook. Set up correctly, you could easily dip in and out of personal and professional mode depending on your mood – the key being that this can be done on one platform.

    Perhaps we’ll see more organisations themselves take the plunge, given the SEO benefits that posting content to G+ provides. It’s clear from our analytics at ongo.co.uk that G+ isn’t driving much traffic to the site yet but it’ll be interesting to see how that develops over time.

    However, I think facebook will continue to be a popular platform amongst most #ukhousing customers for the time being. Twitter still isn’t a significant customer service channel for us either at present. a good 70% of our social media referrals come from facebook.

    What will be interesting to see this year is how instagram and SnapChat can be used as another tool in the #ukhousing arsenal.

  4. Thanks for the comments Rob.

    I had a conversation on Twitter recently about the difficulty organisation’s face in being present on so many social media platforms. For the time being I suspect G+ will fall into the ‘dable’ bracket, but I do suspect this will change in the years to come.

    I remember having similar conversations with people a few years about the need to embrace Twitter and this platform is now seen as an essential tool in the box. That said, it’s hard for tenants to get their message across through Twitter due to the 140 character limit – I suspect this is why Facebook is still such a popular method of contact.

  5. Hi Brett ive stumbled across this article by accident and felt it was worth chucking in my 2 pence worth.

    Working with 3rd sector orgs as well as the tourism sector in north Wales, ive had the battles with many people/orgs around Google+ and its relevance as a social network, there is indeed this perpetual need to compare with Fb, Li , Tw which is i guess absolutely natural, in this brave new world.

    For the record i think its largely a pointless exercise to compare like for like, it just doesn’t fit.

    So, i was lucky to get on G+ around week 2 of Beta, and i struggled to work it out, however, stuck with it religiously – why?

    I was blown away with the quality of conversation, sticky, rich, insightful, knowledge driven conversation, in fact i`d go as far as to say i learnt more about ‘Digital’ in 6 months on G+ than i had in the previous 15 years anywhere else!

    Perhaps doesn’t say much about the previous 15 years!

    Suddenly something happened overnight, something that elevated G+ high above its peers – COMMUNITIES.

    This is for me was when G+ evolved from being a competing social network looking to find its niche, to a social ‘hippocampus’ – a mass of digital factories, hundreds, then thousands of truly productive spaces, global communities packed with people all sharing ‘interest’ based content, knowledge on tap, and lots of it.

    Where else can you have a conversation, in real time with the likes of Jeff Jarvis, Brian Solis, the Editor of the Wall Street Journal, or the head of Google+ UX the CEO of Feedly, Professional sports people, musicians, scholars, professors, people on G+ interact better in smaller groups, away from open streams, its safe ground, its 2 way, they talk to us as individuals, they don`t just answer questions via a hashtag.

    So i went from being in around 500 peoples circles to around 38,000 peoples circles, how? through being involved in communities around my interests and ‘specialisms’ is there not a valuable lesson there for all organisations looking to scale on G+? create small communities that add value, simple!

    Some time ago i thought about how your sector could utilise G+ and actually its a huge proposition, and one i cant do justice to in a comment on your blog, however there is a revolution waiting to happen, for a kick off internally an an organisation would need to ‘Go Google’ that is to fully immerse itself in Google enterprise products.

    From there integrate G+ into EVERY household by default, for free! the organisation would in effect become what i term a ‘meta community, with 10`s 100`s of smaller communities across the whole spectrum of a housing association, feeding in to become one.

    Just think about how powerful the communication would become, both internally and externally, a fully integrated social eco-system where everybody is connected by default, could you achieve that with Facebook? Twitter? Linkedin?

    To add a couple of paragraphs from one of those who has influenced me on G+ Thomas Power.

    “By 2018 Google+ will have become a business operating system.
    A system commoditizing social information technology to a mere dollar per week per user maybe even less.
    A system tested and hardened on the public before you put it inside your corporation with staff, suppliers, shareholders and outside your organization with customers.
    A system so powerful and so thorough few organizations in the world will be able to compete with it.
    A system like (Microsoft) Windows but for the web.
    A system that is social.
    A social system unlike any other we have seen before.
    A system that consolidates all those before it.
    Many of my peers believe that Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter will go the same way as Yahoo, Excite, Lycos and Altavista.
    Dormant but not dead.

    In time people will start to say “I run my business on Google+” just like they used to say in the 1990s “I run my business on Windows”.

    The rise and rise of Google+ is not just to be expected, it is inevitable.

    Google are shooting for the stars.

  6. Pingback: 5 reasons #ukhousing should adopt Google+ | Brett Sadler's blog

  7. Pingback: Social Media 2015 | Brett Sadler

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