Back in 2007, when I said that Twitter would be important for marketers, I was practically tarred and feathered by PR people and fellow bloggers (blogging was still a relatively new social media platform back then).
The resistance to Google+and Google+Hangouts by social media gurus, brands and especially agencies is déjà vu all over again.
In comments on my 2007 blog post about Twitter, my esteemed colleagues called me "ignorant" and worse, and said Twitter "isn't even close to mainstream and is nothing more than a tactic for specific audiences at best."
Those same people are Twitter power users today, and they've apologized to me.
Google+ is a robust community platform
I say Google+ is the biggest change in online communications since the interactive website. And a chorus of social media gurus say:
"There's no purpose for it to exist."
"I hate Google+."
"Google+ is an island of misfit toys."
"Google+ is a ghost town."
While Google+ has a social layer, it is actually a robust interactive community-based platform with awesome built-in video conferencing and collaboration capabilities.
I see Google+ evolving into a platform based on private communities, integrated with all of Google's collaboration tools and Hangouts on Air -- a free app that is arguably the best and most truly interactive video conferencing platform ever created.
Smart brands and a handful of digital agencies realize the value of Google+ Hangouts, which are interactive, shoppable and automatically recorded to a connected YouTube channel, where they can be edited, branded and search optimized. Studies show that video (like the ones that result from Hangouts) can significantly increase time spent on site, purchase intent, conversions and other actions.
NASA, The NY Times, Warner Brothers, Tiffany, Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic are among the iconic brands using Hangouts as part of their digital strategy.
Google+ detractors will eat their hats in 2015
Here's my prediction for agencies and brands for 2015 and beyond: Ignore Google+ Hangouts and your clients will start asking you why.
So, detractors who are saying Google+ will never last, that nobody uses it, and that they hate it -- even though you invariably have not taken the time to learn how to use it, you'll be there soon. And I won't gloat. In fact, I'll cheer you on.
Then you can leave a comment like the one someone added anonymously five years after I wrote my post about Twitter's importance to marketers: "Oh [name removed] where are you now? Feel free to come back, apologize, and sheepishly slink away."