Google+ for Business: Intro
Launched in June 2011, Google+ is a new social network that is attracting some serious attention of marketers.
In just a few months, the platform has amassed 40 million+ users, nearly one third of LinkedIn’s 135 million membership base. Despite this impressive growth, the adoption of Google+ doesn’t yet compare to that of Facebook, which has more than 800 million users. But who knows what’s going to happen next and can you afford to ignore it?
Ever since its launch, Google+ has been open to individuals to share stories with their Circles, get involved in discussions, post photos, and participate in video conference calls (called Hangouts).
However, the social network didn’t provide businesses with much value, and many marketers were left wondering how to truly benefit from Google+.
In early November, Google+ finally rolled out business pages. Now the platform not only enables companies to create pages, but also encourages businesses to grow their following. “I expect brands will notice this and will build marketing plans around it,” said Bradley Horowitz, vice president for products at Google+ in an article for The New York Times. His statement definitely reinforces the potential of the social network for marketing purposes.
What is Google+ and Why Does It Matter
Google+ is a social network powered by the search engine giant Google. Many see this platform as a challenge to Facebook’s domination of the social media space. With more than 40 million users and a growing influence on search, Google+ has definitely emerged as a key player in the online marketing ecosystem.
Google’s equivalent to Facebook’s “Like” button, the “+1”, is about so much more than just social networking. It’s about enhancing your visibility on the biggest search engine in the world.
The business page concept will be very familiar to those who use Facebook Pages. Even the way you switch between personal and business profiles with a drop down menu is straight from Facebook:
Google+ and Business
Google+ allows businesses to create pages and develop relationships with prospects and customers on multiple levels. Individuals can add a brand to a specific Google+ Circle, share a Google+ page with their network, and interact with the content posted by that company.
For instance, users can +1 (or in other words, endorse) the updates a company publishes, leave comments, upload photos, and tag the brand in them. An interesting aspect of this platform is that its Hangouts feature enables companies to engage with fans, prospects, and customers through video conference calls.
And how about this:
When one of my contacts +1’s one of your site’s pages, I see their endorsement in my search results when I search for products or services like yours. That provides a huge boost in terms of both credibility AND visibility — +1’d pages leap right out of the search results at you with a trusted face attached.
Google+ and Video Chat
Video chat is definitely the element that distinguishes Google+ from other existing social networks.
“We want to help you make the same kinds of lasting connections with your customers online the way you can in real life,” wrote Dennis Troper, Product Management Director, Google+ Pages. Video communication is one way to make this happen.
9 Facts about Google Plus Pages and Your Business
- Pages can’t add people to Circles until the page is added first or mentioned.
- Pages can be made for a variety of different entities, whereas profiles can only be made for people.
- The default privacy setting for elements on your business page is public.
- Google+ Pages automatically unfollow you if you unfollow them.
- Pages can’t +1 other pages, nor can they +1 content on the web.
- Pages don’t receive notifications via email, text, or in the Google bar.
- Pages don’t have the option to share to ‘Extended Circles.’
- Local pages have special fields that help people find the business’ physical location.
- Google+ Pages can’t even mention you unless you’re connected.
A Quick Word About AdWords and AdSense
Along with the launch of Pages for Business, Google has launched a new extension to their AdWords service that will let people +1 your page right from your ad. Again , this is a way to help your ad stand out from the pack of generic text ads AND help your long term organic search visibility.