How to use Google Plus for Business is a two-part blog, with the first part focused on the strategy and concepts of why Google Plus is important to your business. The second part provides some detailed tips and examples of how to maximize Google Plus for your brand/business.
If you want to build a powerful brand on social media you have to learn how to use Google Plus, why? well, Google Plus grew to become the second largest social network as of January 2013.
Google was late to the table with a solid social network offering, at only 2 years old compared to Facebook 9 yrs and Twitter 7 yrs. But despite this, it has already transformed Google Plus into a major social network with rich features and mobile apps. Google is making social an underlying part across all its products e.g. you can now see your circles in Gmail.
Recently Google changed Google Plus, not just a little they made over 41 changes to Google Plus and launched a new app just for Hangouts. Many of these changes have harmonised the Google Plus experience across smartphone, tablet and PC. The other key change is the Cards.
If you look at your Google Plus stream you will notice that some content stands out much more. They are interactive “Cards”. Matias Duarte, the lead designer of Google’s mobile operating system, Android in the New Yorker, says that “The idea is that each card is a single atomic contextual piece of information; essentially, a suggestion, a prompt, a call to action,” said Duarte. “It boils down to focus: in a very constrained space, they can communicate one thing really well.”
Why You Need To Learn How To Use Google Plus
If you are serious about online marketing then you know that Google plays an important part in what you do and how you do it, from SEO to Adwords to YouTube. The scale and scope of how Google affects your online presence are undeniable. First of all, Google is the most important search engine with over 82% of search and it controls how you rank in the majority of search and what content is presented to people.
As we have become more social Google has changed how it scores websites and content. If you also are searching for information and come across a blog or article that is relevant and high quality you are more likely to share it. This social proof becomes a way to score your content – the more your content is shared the more interesting and relevant you must be to your audience.
But Google’s strategy is much more than just SEO and search, it recognizes that by integrating social into its broader tools it changes the game for how social can be used for business. As users it provides rich and relevant experiences, helping us to easily share and connect with similar people through communities or chatting to the family online through hangouts.
Scott Huffman, Engineering Director for Search Quality at Google tells has said “Google’s going to know when my flight is, whether my package has gotten here yet and where my wife is and how long it’s going to take her to get home this afternoon. […] Of course, Google knows that stuff.” Of course all relies on on you opting in to allow Google about you — but increasingly, opting in is the default.
But what does this mean for business?
Google is interested in connecting how social relevance reflects in our search, content and connections. This granular data of what we like, what are hobbies are, our passions, who we listen to (read), who we and what (e.g. communities) we connect to; provides an incredibly powerful set of data. This data can be used to market products and services to us not only in a more personalised way but also using evidence/recommendations from our connections. If you take into account the data from mobile searches you have a very detailed picture of how people behave. Google can use this to serve better ads, yes it makes money remember, that in turn, we find ‘fit’ to who we are.
Google is providing us with tools to help us create and share media, explore and discover people and content as well as purely be useful e.g. navigation and Google Places – i.e. find local restaurants, see ratings…
As Google Fellow Amit Singhal noted on the Official Google Blog:
We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships.
This is one of those game-changing shifts in the opportunities it presents to connect and build your brand with people. It also makes businesses very transparent and open.
Understanding How Google Plus Relates Compares to Other Social Networks
You have probably heard this before but Google+ affects your SEO ranking but I will go into more detail on this and how to optimise your Google Plus in Part 2.
Guy Kawasaki provided a nice summary of the differences between Twitter, Facebook and Google+:
Twitter = Perspectives.
Twitter is great for getting or sending immediate perspectives on news and events. In other words, if you want to learn what is trending, get peoples instant responses and have short 140 character chats then Twitter is for you. In short, Twitter is for real-time perspectives.
Facebook is the way to learn what’s going on in the lives of people you already know (friends, relatives, and colleagues). It’s great for learning that they have cats that do odd things, that they went to a great party, or that they had sex, kittens, or children. In short, Facebook is for people.
Google+ = Passions.
Google+ enables you to pursue your passions with people you don’t know. Your friends and family on Facebook probably do not share your passion for photography, but on Google+, you can have fun with a community of photographers or singers or techies. In short, Google+ is for passions.
What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us by Guy Kawasaki
How Businesses Can Benefit From Google Plus
Before diving into the detail in part 2 I thought I would list why as a business you need to learn how to use Google Plus to power your social marketing.
- Authorship – to help you build your identity and across the web
- Improve your SEO performance
- Join and/or build an online community related to your customer’s passions e.g. an Italian restaurant could have an Italian Recipe/Cooking Community
- As a tool to help connect team members and build team relationships – re hangouts
- Share events that you organise
- Promote your blog articles
- To build your brand following
- Hold your own webinars (hangouts through your business page
The key to the future is relevance and context and experience.
Chris Brogan has talked about Google+ as a being social backplane more than a social network – because of the integration it offers with Google Search, YouTube, Gmail and other Google products, it ties together all these services, giving you a consistent identity and ability to connect and share with your connections.
How are you using Google+ for your business