Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Biggest Problem with trying to use Google+ for Small Business

The brutal and dishonest troll attack I had a few days ago on Google+ made me think about writing that blog post "10 Reasons Your Small Business should NEVER use Google+".   I have talked about this before - at least to myself - through my RSS feeds, I read an endless number of blog posts with titles like "10 Reasons Your Small Business MUST be on Google+ TODAY".  

Almost all of these are absolute nonsense - self serving articles written by "social media consultants" that are "factually challenged" to say the least, and sometimes give outright false information, and the never, ever talk about the "downsides" of Google+ for business - which are many and serious.

I have some street cred on this - 65,000 followers and a business community with almost that many, and the simple fact is that Google+ is a horrible platform for small business - in almost every way.  I have a feeling this blog will become a journal of my attempt to salvage my investment in Google+   - but here is one of the biggest problems; when you follow someone on Google+ - you don't get their email address, even if they follow you back.   People often never even see private posts you make to them in Google+ - and TONS of people have dropped out - so if you made a great contact a few months about, it may be all but worthless now.

Two things drove this point home - one was the need to contact one of my moderators on the Entrepreneur's community there to send her a file.  That thing where you are supposed to be able to send someone an email on Google+ even if your don't know their email doesn't work for her, and shy hasn't answered two different posts requesting it - she probably just never saw it.   What a pain in the ass!   Am I supposed to go through this for all 65,000 people who follow me/ - or even just the 4,000 or so I follow?  - it simply is't possible.

The second thing that made me think about this was when I downloaded my Linkedin contacts - I got a nice list complete with all email addresses.  When I do the same with Google Takeout for Google+ I get a bunch of garbage - that essentially forces me to go back to Google+ to try to get the information, making it all but useless.   The reason for this likely is that Google+ was designed to defend against spam, but they really threw the baby out with the bathwater - your "followers" on Google+ have essentially zero meaning - increasingly even in Google+ itself.

Why am I beginning to think more and more I have been playing a suckers game?