Nov 13, 2012

Back to Basics: Google+

Google+... it seems as though G+, as we lovingly call it around the LEAP office, is having a hard time picking up speed with ‘regular consumers’ but seems to be the social network of choice for “techies”, social media lovers and digital marketers. While none of those may be your company’s target audience, that doesn’t mean you should ignore Google+…there are definite advantages for your brand to use it.

Let’s get back to the Google+ basics. What is the purpose behind this social media platform and how can you, as a brand, need to be involved?

Google+ was developed by Google and released as a social media platform in early 2011. By the summer of 2011 there were rumors swirling about when Google+ Pages would be available for brands and by November they were. Today millions of businesses and brands have joined the Google+ community and are connecting with fans and brand enthusiasts. Google+ was created with more of community sharing feel in mind with the ability to follow experts and others in your industry, along with brands. Google+ took the best of the Facebook and Twitter community experiences and combined them.

There are two major reasons for your brand to be on and take advantage of Google+. First, Google+, much like Twitter, provides a venue to distribute relevant, business-related and branded content. Posting engaging and relevant content on your Google+ increases the likelihood of sharing by your followers, as well as having followers +1 the content you are sharing. This increases your likelihood, depending on the topic, of becoming an “expert” in the eyes Google+ and thus more likely to show up in a follower’s search results.  That leads straight into point number two: search. Or in this case social search optimization (SSO). SSO is the big time for brands and businesses using Google+. SSO is so important in Google+ because a user’s search results in Google are personalized when they are signed in, meaning if a user follows your brand and you posted something related to their search recently, that piece of information (usually a link you posted) is likely to appear in the first page of the users search result. Tada…you have successfully infiltrated your followers’ search results with relevant, timely information they are searching for and you have set yourself apart as the expert. And consumers are more likely to trust the information that results from sources they trust (your brand or business) or results endorsed by their peers, colleagues or expert they follow (hence the reason that +1 button can be so powerful).

So why as a digital marketer do I like and encourage the use of Google+? Because as a user there is a bountiful amount of information available plus when I search I am presented with the information those in my circles have posted or recommended. And that information is the most valuable to me – as a consumer and marketer – because it is what I trust the most.  So, the real answer, I urge Google+ usage for the same reason brands should be engaged with consumers on this social media platform.

And finally, I give you my top three tips for brands using Google+:

  1. Know what content your fans are looking for and provide it. Content is the king of the web and the more industry-related content you can provide that excites sharing from your followers, the higher the impact on your search
  2. Understand social search optimization. By understand SSO, you can take advantage of the search benefits provided by Google+ for your business.
  3. Be creative. Use Google+ to release new information first or create special consumer interactions. For example, +Coca-Cola hosted a hangout for NASCAR fans with drivers of the Coca-Cola racing family and +Fiat debuted the new Panda model to fans via a hangout.

Google+ for business allows your brand to get social around the web. From the search benefits to face-time with consumers (Google Hangout), the connection options available to your business extend beyond the typical social network.

 

 

 

The LEAP "Back to Basics" blog series takes social media back to step one. From discovering the "must haves" of Facebook to the ins and outs of Tumblr, each blog will focus on the essentials of the world's most loved (and sometimes, loathed) social networks. Not only will you learn where your brand should be, but why it should be there, and how to maximize your social influence.