What Google+ Means for Radio
July 5, 2011
By now your radio station probably has a Facebook “Like” page as well as a Twitter account. Learning how to be social as opposed to “doing” social remains a work in progress ... and the last thing you may want to hear is that there’s a new social platform gearing up to compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Google+ rolled out last week to an elite list of tech geeks and social types. I was fortunate enough to start playing around with this new social networking site. Google+ is more like a collaborative space to share information with specific circles of people, and interact with others via video chat.
Google has clearly taken a page out of Facebook’s playbook by putting people at the center of their online experience. The first thing I noticed is that my toolbar changed. Google+ personalizes my online experience as well as offers most of what I need within one click from the toolbar.
But the toolbar is a small convenience compared to some of its other cool features. With Google+ you can create “Circles.” These are groups of people you interact and/or network with. While “Circles” is nothing new compared to the Facebook and Twitter lists you can create, Google+ “Circles” is much easier to use.
A great radio application might be to segment the audience and create “Circles” for the “Advisory Board” as well as say fans of specific artists or even DJs or station features. The ideas are limitless. But what I like is the ability to customize conversations for each “Circle” - each group of people who are truly interested in specific station features, artists, topics, DJs, etc. This eliminates mass broadcasts on social media, and hijacking “live feeds” or “streams” with messages people don’t really care about.
The fun will be finding out who wants to be in what “Circles” the radio station creates and what the audience will ultimately call these “Circles” they put the station in.
Another feature is a group video chat called “Hang Outs.” I’m not sure if it will be offered to business profiles. Right now, this is a feature just on personal profiles. You can invite up to nine select people per video chat.
Radio pro Dave Nelson has a great idea for using this feature, “We could use ‘Hang Outs’ as a virtual perceptual. Listeners wouldn’t have to try and get to the station after work. They could fire up this video chat and work from their own space, allowing us to stay connected with the audience.”
Now before you say you don’t have time to add another channel to your arsenal of digital and social tools, Google group product manager Christian Oestlien points out they haven’t created Google+ pages for business -- just yet:
“For now we are actively discouraging businesses to adopt profiles, but we have heard the feedback and will obviously do what we can down the line to build optimal experiences for all. This is just the beginning of a very long journey towards making Google more social.”
Regardless of that message, companies such as Search Engine Live, Ford and AllAccess.com have already created their own Google+ pages. If you would like an invite to Google+ to check out these pages and to start tapping into this new tool yourself, please let me know in the comments section below.
We’re too early in the adoption of Google+ to know if this will be another tool where we will need to merge our traditional skills and digital assets, but as David Berkowitz, Sr. Director of Emerging Media & Innovation for agency 360i notes, “Google+ has an ambitious roadmap and enough pieces work now that it could become something meaningful in time.”
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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