Is Google Plus Relevant to Legal Marketing?

Is Google Plus Relevant to Legal Marketing?

Screenshot of Google Plus WebsitePlus, the newest attempt at social networking from Google, is currently drawing a lot of attention from businesses trying to decide if it’s worth their time. Many organizations from several different industries (including legal) have embraced social media as a powerful businesses tool, and when a new social network (especially one from a heavy hitter like Google) comes around, those social media users are going to wonder if it’s something they should be adopting as part of their social strategy.

Plus is still in a limited field trial stage, but, those lucky enough to be among the initial few to try it have many things to say. Tech and social media experts like Chris Brogan, Jason Falls and Jay Baer have all weighed in with their thoughts on the network and the consensus seems to be that it definitely has potential. Does that mean it will have the power to compete with established social networks like Twitter and Facebook? Not necessarily, but it’s certainly worth being aware of so you can decide if it’s right for your organization or not.

Since we’re not part of the field trial, I can’t actually give you an opinion on the service itself as of right now, however, I would like to pose my thoughts on how it could affect your use of other social networks for business and how it may impact social marketing for the legal industry.

  1. Search and social are a good pair. In his post, Jay Baer discusses how search, once the most important way of sharing information about your firm and spreading awareness is now falling in popularity when compared with social tools. Content on the web is all about two-way sharing and conversations now, and, recognizing that Google is attempting to move in a more social direction. Not everyone can be search engine optimization experts and because of that, this new tool may help those people who are willing to try and use social media (historically non-tech savvy tools) to help advance their firm’s business online even further without relying so heavily on search engine placement.
  2. Desperation is a powerful driving force. Google wants to stay cutting edge and competitive, but for them to do so they need to produce a powerful tool that can compete against Twitter, Facebook and the other most popular social networks. Google understands that the value of tools like these isn’t as much from a monetary standpoint but from a sharing one. The web is all about collaborative and social content and if Google doesn’t get onboard fast, they may lose their ability to compete completely and, as a result, they understand the importance of coming out with a social network that has the best characteristics of the popular ones out there, but also helps solve some of their current issues. In short, they have a lot riding on coming up with a strong alternative (meaning, it’s probably worth checking out to see what they’ve come up with).
  3. Most people are already using Google extensively. What’s the biggest advantage to learning about Plus? Well, as Jay Baer points out again, Google already has an extensive suite of tools that many people use for other purposes that could easily be integrated with the social network offering an enormous range of options to its users (according to those who have tested the service it already has a phenomenal integration with Picasa, Google’s alternate product to Flickr). For instance, if you’re already using Google Analytics and webmaster tools or Adwords to monitor your firm’s site and promote your legal services online, imagine the integration possibilities available if you were also using Google’s social network.
  4. People are fickle. Facebook currently has over 600 million users and because of that many people that new social networks will have a difficult time pulling users away from it. That being said, while it doesn’t happen instantly, there is historical evidence of users moving away from one platform to another that they find more satisfying, a good example being the loss in popularity of myspace. Just because Facebook is the most popular social network right now, doesn’t mean that it will always be that way and having a strong presence on Plus if it’s going to become the next big thing could be crucial for your firm.

In my opinion, it’s definitely worthwhile for firm’s to be aware of Google Plus and how people are using and, once it’s out of it’s trial stage for them to give it a try. What do you think? Is Google Plus going to be a strong competitor to Facebook and Twitter in terms of promoting businesses?

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