There has been plenty of to-ing and fro-ing around whether Google Plus is right for enterprise. Some colleagues are fearful that Google will move too quickly, others that it is moving too slowly. Whatever your position there is no denying that G+ is growing like topsy. And enterprising developers are finding ways to leverage it for their own purposes.
Over the weekend I suggested to Loic LeMeur, CEO Seesmic that it might be an idea to find out if anyone in the Salesforce.com community might be interested in hearing about early releases of Seesmic via G+. My thinking was that if Seesmic could get enough interest then it might serve as a way to gather a group of early stage solution testers. That's in essence what Google is inviting G Plussers to do and with good effect.
LeMeur sent out a suitably worded message and hey presto, within two hours he had more than 60 positive responses - see the graphic:
Bear in mind the time. 7.33am my time is 10.33pm PDT and 6.33am BST, 9.34am my time, past midnight in the Valley. There are a number of conclusions that can be tentatively drawn from this:
- People reading G+ messages at those times are likely to be the ones most invested in its success. These are the early, early adopters today but could be an army of people in time to come.
- The 'response' rate assuming all Loic's 20,000 G+ 'followers' had responded is 0.3%. As a response rate, my 0.3% number is likely to be wildly inaccurate on the conservative side. Regardless, I'd suggest that's far from shabby when compared to bulk mailing or other antiquated forms of 'advertising.'
- It is a fair bet that all respondents are what advertisers term 'pre-qualified.'
- Individuals like LeMeur can benefit from the force multiplier effect they built up in the past through their assiduous use of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other large scale social tools. They are in essence both benefiting and delivering value on what has gone before though in the shape of the latest shiny new thing.
- Despite Google likely thinking mostly in terms of its advertising led business model, enterprising individuals and savvy developer organisations will also be able to bathe in the G+ glow. Right now it looks like the individual rather than the brand that will see the earliest benefit.
- Individuals are benefiting in this way because they're not advertising per se but inviting those who follow them into a conversation that taps into their needs. Google is not going to be able to stop this activity because it is not advertising in the conventional sense or the way their model is constructed.
- It is conceivable that Google could develop some sort of charging mechanism for this type of activity but it would not make a lot of sense and would likely draw resentment. So the likelihood is that those able to leverage in this way will have a free route to market.
- Brands will be left scratching their heads wondering if they can replicate the same thing. They can but it will be one hell of a job. The last person I saw do that successfully was Robert Scoble when he was working for Microsoft and which he has since gone on to repeat at Rackspace.
- LeMeur has proven that with a highly targeted and invested 'follower' group, you can achieve good results at almost zero cost.
- Not everyone can be a LeMeur or Scoble but there are enough in any industry for them to become the ambassadors of the future - whether for what they are doing or what they represent. That's pretty darned powerful.
Anything fundamental I've missed?
Endnote: by the time I'd typed this into my machine - LeMeur had another clutch of positive respondents. Would someone let me know when he reaches 100?
Update: Seesmic flew past 100 a few hours later