Dear Google+: Make business your business.

It took Facebook 10 months to reach one million users. It took Twitter more than 16 months to reach 600, 000 users.

In just two weeks, Google+ has 10 million users and it’s just getting warmed up. Some are calling it a Facebook competitor which can be good, right? A little healthy competition? It’s ironic, then, that a large portion of Google+ promotion took place on Facebook. Isn’t that a little bit like McDonald’s handing me a Whopper?

This rapid pace of adoption isn’t too surprising given the fact that social, in general, has more momentum than it did in 2004. Still. Ten million? In two weeks?

Multiple choice quiz. The rapid growth is because we:

a) Love Google

b) Hate Facebook

c) Are attracted to shiny objects

d) All of the above

For the past couple of years, there’s been confusion around how and when to use Facebook. Personal uses for the channel seem to have become more clear. Even hipster grandparents have embraced it as a way to keep in touch with their digitally native grandkids. However, the business community still hasn’t seemed to grasp it. Many well-known brands struggle with how to use Facebook instead of or in conjunction with their traditional website. (Who ever thought we’d use the words traditional and website in combination?)

Knowing their visitors are inclined to come every day, Starbucks Facebook page lets them manage their coffee cards, send Starbucks card e-gifts and find the nearest store. Starbucks.com has broader functionality and content for visitors coming at other intervals. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, continues to struggle with its social presence. Its Facebook page loads content about the Coke secret recipe and the creators of the Facebook page. And this is important because? Where are the coupons, the give-aways, the contests? #fail

It would be lovely if, someday, a social networking channel would think about a brand’s need to be social (since its customers are.) Hey! What about Google+?

Bahr’s top three things to make Google+ a viable business tool.

#3. Simplify privacy settings (this would benefit personal users, too)

What if businesses could set specific privacy for each circle, for combinations of circles (see #1 below) or specific to customer industry? Mind. Blowing.

#2. Make page branding easier

Websites bring visual brands to life. Google+ needs to do the same. Other than posting photos/images, Facebook makes it too hard to add a custom visual to the page itself. This would be handy to do for a campaign or individual promotion. No offense intended to the developers out there. It’s just that autonomy would be nice in some instances.

#1. Allow circles to function independently, as a union, or intersection

A brand’s relationship with its customers can’t be put in one tidy little circle. What happens if some, but not all, customers in Circle A and some, but not all, customers in Circle B are interested in a specific product? Something like a Google+ Venn diagram might be just wonderful.

Here’s a possible outcome to the current social landscape confusion. Facebook becomes our personal social channel. Google+ takes over business social (and hopefully does a great job.) Twitter is the place we talk about everything going on with Facebook and Google+.

Time (and bloggers) will tell.

P.S. Thinking of leaving Facebook? Check out this Mashable poll on defectors.

 

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