Following an excellent webinar on Friday afternoon led by Jason Falls of Exploring Social Media about the new Google+, I am getting excited at the potential this new app from Google has for segmenting people.
As an ex database manager, I know the power of segmentation for charities and businesses in targeting the right people with regards to raising cause awareness, marketing, fundraising, etc. Segmentation, in database terms, is where you tell the database to look for people who match certain criteria, for example: women who live in Surrey over the age of 35 who have bought or dontated something in the past 12 months.
The database cleverly searches the records to make these matches. The result is a very specific target audience.
Now, Google+ cannot do this. (Sorry to disappoint you!) But what it does offer is something that Twitter and Facebook don’t. It has a function called Circles, whereby the user can create any number of circles to sort their contacts into. Not only this, but people can be put into any number of your circles. So let’s say you create the following circles for your charity:
- Donors – male
- Donors – female
- Donors – local
- Donors – not local
- Donors - corporate
- Volunteers – male
- Volunteers – female
- Volunteers – local
- Volunteers – not local
- Friends Group
- Beneficiaries – families
It would not be too difficult to add people to the relevant circles as you link with them via Google+. You have then built a Google+ database of sorts, where you can target specific messages to specific groups of people. For example, you’re summer fayre is coming up, you need to ask for helpers, donations of goods to sell and raffle, commercial people to book stalls and people to attend the event and spend their cash!
You can target various circles with each of these asks. Volunteers to help; Suppliers & corporate donors to book stalls; Donors, Friends Group, Volunteers, Trustees, Suppliers to donate goods; Donors, Friends Group, Trustees, Staff, Corporates to attend and spend money.
Yes, some people would get more than one message, but the messages would all be different, according to the particular circle you are informing.
OK, it’s not as smart as a regular database, but it is a great improvement over Twitter and Facebook, where one message goes to all. Anyway, who knows what Google+ developers will come up with in the future. Maybe it will be possible in the future to pull circles together and then search for those who are common to each?
I think Google are on to a winner with Google+. It’s still in the Beta stage at present, but the early signs are that it could be very powerful and it is important, therefore, that you and I are in there and ready to run when it goes official!