The influx of sports is coming to Google+.
No, Google+ is not a ghost town. It’s a vibrant social platform. Much of the growth I have seen has been via marketers. However, there are entrepreneurs, educators, small businesses, photographers, artists and more finding their own place in the G+ universe. That is a good thing. But, that’s not enough to make the platform a major player with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
What does Google+ have to offer sports? Hangouts and Communities. I’ll get more into Communities in another post. For today, I want to thank my friend, Bob McKamey, for tipping me off to this story (click the link in his tweet).
Bob McKamey (@BobMcKamey) February 28, 2014
Manchester United on Google+? Yes, and 2 million strong, too. Two million people, including yours truly, have circled United on G+. Standard content is what you will see on their page to this point. Why not reward their passionate, loyal fans by selecting a few for a Google+ Hangout.
It would be naive of me to think that they are doing it on their own. I belong to a private Community on G+ that has told me as much. Teams are getting more involved on the platform because of…Google. The YouTube video you see above didn’t come from a Manchester United account. It came from Google UK’s account.
For high profile sports teams like Manchester United, a little nudge from Google could be all it takes. Google has helped out several teams here in America, like Hendrick Motor Sports (Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr) with their efforts on Google+. We saw a fairly new feature last week on G+: shoppable Hangouts.
A shoppable Hangout allows the viewer to buy items they see in a Hangout. In the Hangout above, you’re not able to see on replay what happened during the live show. In the post below (via Jerry Moulton), you can see what was displayed live – viewers only needed to click what they wanted in the right sidebar for purchase.
This leads to at least two questions for me:
- Who else is Google working with in sports to help them engage on Google+ more?
- When will it be available to everyone else?
My answer to both is I don’t know.
The potential of shoppable Hangouts cannot be underestimated. No matter how Hendrick Motor Sports got involved with the shoppable Hangout, others in sports will take notice. If there’s money to be made, sports will follow.
The one-to-one connection of Hangouts makes it more personal than any tweet or post ever could on Facebook and Twitter. It’s genuine.Fans want to feel connected. They want to get as close as possible to their favorite athlete or team. Hangouts can provide that. They could take the fan-sports relationship to the next level.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Sports is king on Twitter. There is a reason Facebook has made a concerted effort to get into the sports-social media game. It’s big business. It makes sense for Google to court teams and athletes to G+. Google wants their piece of the sports pie. I don’t expect it to overtake Twitter as king in sports. But, just like Facebook, they can see the possibilities of fostering sports relationships.
Those of us who have been on Twitter for a long time (nearly five for me) have seen the rise of sports on the platform. It took time for it to reach this level. Safe to say that it will take time for Google to see growth on the Plus.