Healthinnovations is not only on google plus but healthinnovations enjoys google +. I like the clean-cut asymmetrical minimalist design, I like the ease of use and I like the reach. You see it has more controlled reach than any other platform I am currently using, have used, joined, got bored with or left. The honed nature of the UI comes in the guise of google circles, add who you want, where you want. It’s like your own personal social media filing system where you get to pick the tabs with the facility to share with specific circles and people in the singular sense.
At this time the beta-version for brands on google + has not begun but the strategy most certainly should be. When google designed this platform they had brands in mind, the maximum number of friends, or whatever you want to call people, google + will allow is the same as Facebook which is 5,000. However, with google + this could be 5,000 per circle with no limit set as yet to the number of circles you can utilise. It is yet to be seen with larger brands, who may have in excess of 100,000 likes or friends on their Facebook fan pages, on how well this will work. Pharma, on the other hand, will have an advantage here and be able to jump straight in with friends numbering between 1,000 and 15,000 per Facebook fan page, easily divided between circles of 5,000 people.
The greatest adage here of course is the fact that these ‘fans’ can be divided by interests with different streams being sent to each circle. This also gives the customer a greater choice, a choice which cannot be given on any single Facebook page or in any single Twitter thread, both of which denote different accounts or pages being set up and not always easy to find for the customer. These also have a reach unmatched by other platforms. With the extended circles selection you can share with the circles of people within your circles. This is like sending a tweet to the followers of your followers, automatic retweets. You can also make your message public, making it searchable in the google engine and accessible to its 1 billion a month unique users.
With google + you can have circles for pharma company news, for drug safety, for CSR news, for two-way dialogue, for illness type and awareness, the honing of your customer-base is, for now, limitless. All encompassed on the same page making life extremely easy for your Marketing Authorisation Holders (MAH) to cover. On the flip side we see customers with the choice to either follow your stream or form a two-way dialogue with the pharma company by including them in their circles. A choice not given on the more impersonal pharma Facebook fan pages and more intimate than Twitter threads. There is also talk of google allowing brands to integrate their company web design into their google + page, mirroring official homepages and becoming more recognisable by consumers. Not to mention better functionality.
The use of separate feeds are key here, leading to intimacy, personalising the customer reception of information. I recommend that google allow brands to give their circles full visibility so customers are aware of their surroundings, so to speak. This would give each circle of customers more transparency and promote interaction within each key topic, possibly leading to self-governed communities as these circles start to intersect and grow. How these will play out is anyone’s guess but pharma brands must make sure they take advantage of the freestyle nature of google + and make sure threads are different to any others being published on branded platforms.
We are also witnessing a move by social media thought leaders to survey the general consensus on branded google + pages. Chris Brogan sent a message out recently asking if people would be happy to receive branded marketing news if he created a circle. The response was overwhelming with the 500 comment limit per post being broken, responses being mostly positive and too many to list.
To conclude branded pages are coming to google + with a honed UI yet to be matched by other platforms. Early adopters, or adapters as we should be known, are loving it but we are geeks. It’s yet to be seen how the public will take to this almost austere clinical platform, which may not contain the safety or warmth of Facebook pages and at times can be highly technical. We now have multiple phone call facilities on Gmail and the high spec hangouts with a 10 person conference call ability. Great for companies or group calls with followers, patients and customers but will these be used by non-business accounts? Will regulations allow pharma to be involved in group chats of this nature?
We also have Sparks which could be a wonderful avenue to link the massive user base of google search, but after a few experimental tagged posts from yours truly, looks to be slightly off-kilter with its analytics. This could also be a great search tool for google + users on illness and health awareness engrained within their social platform but definitely needs some tweaking. Searching for Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) or specialists within the health and pharma realm on google + is now possible at plus.google.com.
All the above is a plus for geeks like you and me but for the masses who use Facebook to meet up with mates and look at photos this may end up being a purely branded platform you join to follow as opposed to being followed. This coupled with the, quite frankly, shocking terms and conditions of google + usage may turn away people now comfortably ensconced in the Facebook nest. Or are we being highly arrogant in our thinking the populace will not be able to use this polished platform.
Only time will tell but either way social just got more personal with google +.
I would also like to take this occasion to thank all the people I have found on google +, both old and new, in particular Mike Young and Craig Delarge who were there performing trial and error posts with me every day. It’s been great helping to develop this platform for health with everyone and learning as we all go along, what an experience, a big thank you to you all.