Google+ for Lawyers: Settle Down, People

I’m sorry, but the messianic fervor accompanying the launch of Google+ is quite out of hand, and it could cause a lot of folks afraid of being left behind in this social media rapture to waste focus, time, opportunity and money.

It’s absolutely too early for anyone but professional marketers and social media junkies to be seriously noodling with Google +, and it’s borderline reckless to advocate early adoption by lawyers in general. Until the platform is officially launched (remember, it’s currently in private beta) and a clear, real world experience-based Google + use case emerges, most lawyers will be far better served by optimizing their current social media and content marketing programs before betting the farm on a promising but still fluid platform.

Let’s consider a couple of inconvenient truths:

  • It’s not “winning” — Just a month after Google mobilized every social media power user they could muster for the Google + launch, traffic is falling off.
  • Buzz is picking up, but not the good kind — Commentary from the technorati is bordering on brutal. Any other social startup would be DOA after being on the receiving end of that type and level of shade.
  • Even the most prominent social media practitioners are advising observation and limited experimentation. Gini Dietrich put it best:

“Pay attention to Google+. Get in there and try out some things (I’ll send you an invite, if you don’t have one). But it’s waaaaaay too early to say what it’s going to do. And it’s certainly too early to be paying experts to tell you how to use it.

Save your money. The time will come (or not) when you need to learn how to use it for business. If you spend a little time in it now, say an hour or two a week, you won’t have to pay anyone to teach you how to use it.

It’s a tool. Just like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogging, and 8Tracks. Wait until it’s been around long enough to understand how it fits a business strategy.”

My addendum to that for lawyers and legal marketers would be to follow insightful and measured user stories from early adopters like Nancy Myrland and Samantha Collier as barometers of if/when it’s the right time to join. And it’s worthwhile noting that being a “fast follower” has a long and illustrious pedigree.

Comments

  1. Jay, thank you very much for the mention and link, and for your post. I’m enjoying exploring over on Google Plus, but I’ve been at this long enough to be cautious about marketing tools.

    I definitely feel it has promise, and knowing Google has put almost 600 million dollars in to this project, I’m optimistic that we will be presented with a strong tool once they are out of Beta. I also know it could fade. It just depends. We shall see as users join us and decide how they want to use it.

    Thanks for advancing the discussion, and for your perspective. We’re all learning here, right?

    • Jay Pinkert says:

      Nancy,

      You hit the nail on the head: We’re all learning. Or put another way, no one knows yet how this will turn out. That’s why I think overly confident declarations that Google+ will make Facebook and Twitter irrelevant, that lawyers need to get in on the ground floor or risk missing the next “big thing” again, etc., are not helpful, and could actually be pernicious.

      I absolutely agree that Google+ is a serious new entry that deserves serious attention and trial, but I believe that the balanced position you’ve staked out is the most useful one because it doesn’t disrupt and shift focus. There’s plenty of time to figure out whether/how this tool will work into one’s marketing mix.

  2. Wow, sane, non-hyperbolic advice. How unusual. Thanks for the reality check, Jay.

    @tim_baran

    • Thanks, Tim! Have you tried it out yet?

      • Per Gini’s advice, I’m in there, playing around a bit, Jay. I’ve posted a couple of things, replied to a few and created a few circles. I hope they don’t add triangles and rectangles or I’ll start having high school geometry nightmares all over again. Haven’t “hung out” there, but it seems like a very cool option. I live in Google Apps so look forward to its integration and invested in the platform doing well.

        That we can do this and tap into Nancy and Sam’s experience and expert advice is quite a privilege, and one that I’ll take advantage of 🙂

  3. Tim and Jay, thank you for your confidence. I am enjoying reading longer content there as people are writing more robust intros to their blog posts, which causes me to absorb more, then decide if I’d like to click through to read their blog posts. I appreciate that.

  4. Amen. That is all.

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