As I pondered Google+ in preparation for the writing of this series, I was struck by the parallels between Google+ – its triumphs and tribulations – and meetings and events. Here are several correlations that I found:
- In the early days of my more active participation on Google+, I vividly remember being struck by how graphically pleasing the site was to behold. The imagery was bold, and certain brands were taking full advantage of this real estate to connect with consumers. My takeaway: visuals matter.
The photos and campaigns I viewed on Google+ remain among my most compelling memories of the platform. I don’t recall seeing these same marketing campaigns anywhere else, and I was active on all social media platforms at that time. Instagram has now filled some of this same space by connecting people and brands using compelling imagery.
- In the early days of social media, we didn’t have any online courses, books or authorities to which we could refer for guidance and instruction. The brave new world of social media marketing simply asked for some ingenuity and a whole lot of gumption. Truth be told, many principles of successful social media marketing were founded on trial and error. One of the key differentiators between success and the alternative was innovation.
My takeaway: Innovation is a requirement of relevance. Not only must we continue to innovate with our messaging, but also in the manner by which we deliver our meetings.
- As planners, we’ve all borne witness to connections that have been made during our events. We appreciate the value of face-to-face meetings, not only because we’re employed by this industry, but also because those connections often lead to new opportunities. Social media platforms offer a similar prospect to connect to associations and corporations. Individuals attend and engage during meetings because they hope to gain or share information or a common experience. The basic premise of social media engagement is fundamentally the same: we engage in social media to learn, to share and to grow.
My takeaway: The importance of connection in both meetings and social media cannot be undervalued.
I received an email from the “Google+ Team” advising me that Google+ would permanently shutter the doors of its consumer version of the product on April 2. Content, including photos and videos, would soon be deleted from the service, and users were advised to download any data they wished to retain prior to March 31. The email included instructions and links to assist users with this process. Sadly, I don’t recall the last time I viewed my personal Google+ page prior to this final visit, and none of the clients with which I’ve worked over the years embraced the platform. A quick review of my page revealed that there wasn’t any content that I needed to retrieve – which speaks directly to my limited usage of the site.
What’s next for Google+? The consumer version of the platform has now joined the ranks of MySpace and Vine. Google+ is available to corporations as part of the successful G Suite platform. According to its website, new features will be announced this year, enabling businesses that use the product to “transcend silos.” Meetings also break down barriers and transcend silos, demonstrating yet another important parallel between face-to-face and digital communication.