Wondering what to do with Open Social?
What I see as the biggest opportunity in Open Social is rather simple.
Regardless of what industry you are in, if you have a website that offers profile pages to your users, and have a large user base… then congrats, you can implement this idea.
The first major community in each industry who implements Open Social into their user profiles will score huge.
Let’s look at some of the benefits that this can provide for both your users, and your own brand growth (and hey save some money on publicity too)…
Let’s use an example. I am going to show you my SEOmoz profile page and use it to highlight some ideas and to illustrate some opportunity…
How to profit off of farting…
In my profile my tagline is “farting feels good”. Why did I choose that? I am not sure, but probably because I didn’t want to come across as a stuffy self important schmuck. What ever the reason was does not matter one little bit, what matters is that I wanted to show my personality in some way.
Members who care about a community often try to show their personality in their profile pages, this desire can be be fulfilled much more if you offer Open Social gadgets to a user. On SEOmoz I know I wish I had the ability to link to more than one of my sites, well what if your linked in profile, or Sphinn profile, or other info that was retrieved from other places right into my user profile on SEOmoz? Yum.
What if my last three posts on my blog were displayed? I would like that. That would totally, utterly rock. What if my blog posts could be read right there on my profile. Well I would like that and so to would SEOmoz. It benefits the user (me) and it benefits SEOmoz as the amount of time that people spend on my profile (part of their site) would increase dramatically. Every one of your users also has friends, and I would certainly tell my friends and link to a profile page that I enjoyed.
That sounds complicated…
Nope, it ain’t. To provide Open Social gadgets to your user profile pages you must become a “container” which is simpler than you think. Let us move on to the part where Google pimps your website.
It mayhaps be a good thing when Google is linking to your brand from their documentation. I would say that this type of free promotion is far and few between. The opportunity for it won’t last long…
But it is there now.
Even if you are not specifically pushed as a “partner” you know what? You will probably be mentioned in the development example documentation.
More on my spiffy profile page… let’s scroll down just a tad on my SEOmoz profile…
There is a chunk of real estate on every SEOmoz profile page that is not being used at all.
Hmmm, What can we do with this space?
Although a gadget would fit purrrrfectly in there, I would not suggest that at all. I would sugest something more like moving the “About Me” stuff to the unused space, thus leaving a honking huge area for a Google Open Source container to the right…
If this was done it would damn near be the same layout as Facebook huh?
To illustrate this lamely, look at the image below, which is what I would see as a rocking hot and effective user profile page.
Open Social ready SEOmoz profile….
I do want to mention that I often use an example of SEOmoz or Sphinn, but I only do so because most people in my sector are familiar with these websites. I am not actually making specific suggestions for X brand or Y brand, I am just using them to illustrate some points.
Google Gadgets and Open Social Similarities
The single most important factor of how many users a Google gadget has is…
Date of implementation. Any Google gadget you put out today will do better than a Google gadget that someone else puts out tomorrow.
This same exact trend will likely exist with Open Social. Do whatever you are going to do today. Get started right now.
“Well, we are a corporation, and we make decisions that go through processes.”
Yeah, well so do your competitors.