Is Going Google a PR-Driven Trend?

NatashaWhile early social media adopters established themselves more than a year ago on Google+, the king of the Web recently announced a new set of tools available to anyone seeking digital collaboration toys. According to their PR team entire companies are incorporating these apps into their daily business grind.

They call this trend “going Google.”

Wouldn’t life would be so much easier if everyone went Google? One log in and password would allow us to post messages, share links and connect with all of our relevant stakeholders. That’s exactly the luxury Google+ apps for business is hoping to sell to the unconverted, yet they’re hardly the first ones to offer it in this fiercely competitive and overcrowded social media market. Sure, using Hangouts to host online news conferences directly from everyone’s Gmail account makes media interviews a piece of cake (and super cool), but LinkedIn rules for group moderation, Facebook leads in social posts going viral and Pinterest creates any brand’s eye candy.

PR managers need to realize that strategy is much more important than posting on every existing online channel possible. It is unlikely that anyone will view a CEO speaking for 30 consecutive minutes on YouTube, but they may pay attention to a series of quote-ables tweeted and posted on LinkedIn, and some short podcasts uploaded to Podomatic. Ultimately a well-thought out strategy targeting an engaged audience will result in more social shares. 

Technology is a wonderful thing, but from a PR POV doing less can actually help increase a social profile. Give a stakeholder too many options and you risk diluting the audience on the platform where you might need it most. Several influential bloggers are guilty of this asking readers to: pin a blog post, add a comment to a pin, or “re-pin a pin” of a blog post! What happened to old-fashioned blog commenting and tweeting?

With a so-called backlash against social media (thanks for the kick start Zuckerberg!), let’s take control of our online messaging and amplify them where we know they’ll be heard. Balancing social options is part and parcel of an effective and integrated media kit – and will keep our stakeholders from a virtual burnout.

Google+ business features are currently in preview period – they’re free to use until the end of 2013. The PR industry should experiment with these collaborative social apps particularly in public consultation campaigns and sharing event-based calendars with communities (hint: anyone working on B.C.’s upcoming election?). 


Natasha Netschay Davies is an instructor in digital & social media at SFU


Follow her on Twitter at @NatashaNDavies