“Waste of time.”
“It’ll never happen.”
These are common sentiments when it comes to Google+, but it really is time to rethink your strategy because Google+ is not going away.
I know, your department’s resources are all tied up with other channels, like Twitter and Facebook, and you think Google+ may well be a flash in the pan. Well, it won’t be. No chance.
Google has put a social layer across its products and services – this is Google+. Sure, there is an aspect of Google+ as a social destination, but Google+ is Google.
I don’t just mean that Google+ is owned by Google, I mean that Google+ is like the super-charged 2.0 version of Google. Here’s why:
Google+ and Google Adwords
In the past, Google Adwords was about CTR, but now Google+ and Adwords collide with +Post Ads. This enables Google+ posts to spread across Google’s two million site strong Display Network. Even better, it is set up to pay by engagement.
Through social connecting with Adwords, you can bet that every business with million dollar spends on Adwords will be testing what works for them.
Then there is Adwords ‘Remarketing’ – if people are engaging on your content on Google+ and then click through to your website, you can follow them around the web.
Google Semantic Search
Contextualization, including devices as well as personalization is nothing new, but with Google+ they are determined to deliver meaningful content when and where people want it.
We can see this with Google Now for mobile, but desktop is still able to know whether we are about to propose to a loved one, whether we are looking to holiday overseas, or apply for an MBA. When you add Google+ on top of this, Google can see the nature of content people are engaging with and to what extent. It is almost guaranteed this data will start to be used in relation to Adwords, enabling a far more refined and differentiated experience for advertisers and searchers.
Contextualized advertising is commonplace, but the same now applies to Google.com with Search Plus Your World - personalization based on your personal network and their actions. As a business, it’s no longer all about “how to get to be number one in Search” for your keywords; you can now build and influence the information your network receives more than ever.
As a content creating business, you can influence the Search results of the people in your network and worry less about trying to get a “trophy term” ranked at number one. With the right content you will reach the right people.
Have you seen the photo of author’s of content, often with number of people who have them in circles showing as social proof?
This is not just about accumulating followers; people will choose which link to click based upon the relative feeling of trust you elicit.
Businesses Can Use Google+ to Build Trust
The world really is changing and Google+ enables people to “hang their hat” on their content, their social presence, and their network connectivity like never before.
As author David Amerland says, businesses now need to act as if they were people, using social to build trust. Google enables people to generate trust within the context of a community, with like-minded peers creating authority through engagement, which in turn enables that person to be seen as an authority on that subject matter.
Google+ and YouTube Work Hand in Hand
The world’s biggest search engine owns the world’s second biggest search engine (YouTube), and YouTube is now integrated with Google+ through the comments system. The default commenting system generates a new blog post on Google+.
Through relative engagement on content, and with videos indexed by Google Search, this content surfaces and steps outside of YouTube alone. You know this already, but the social engagement on Google+ sends social signals like no other social platform. Google can access all of the data from their own eco-system and decide what content deserves to surface. Genuine engagement really does give them a boost.
Google Hangouts have been called “the killer app” by people like Guy Kawasaki. They allow 10 people/devices in a Hangout at a time (15 for a paid/apps account). You also have the option to make them private or integrate them with YouTube to run live events.
Hangouts are a marketers dream – directly reaching and communicating with your audience, engaging, connecting. With up to 50 managers on your Google+ Page and YouTube channel, you will be able to run your own broadcasting station, reaching that generation C on their own platform (YouTube).
Do you value your Search results for your web content? Of course you do! If you are not on Google+, don’t you think you could be missing out?
The world of social has collided with the world of SEO, and the result is the ability for the Google+ community you form around your brand to amplify your content into Google Search.
This social-search-site mechanism enables your content to live long and prosper in Search. Google is an ecosystem, and whilst other social networks are of great value, you will only see more people join the Google+ party and engage on the content they love.
If you start building your communities now, you will be able to send the signals to Search that your content it loved, appreciated, and valued. The community on Google+ gives you Search results. It is that simple.
Building a Community
If content is king, then community is its kingdom.
There are over 150,000 Google+ Communities so far. Easy to create, straightforward to manage, and with all publicly shared content being indexed by Google Search, building your own community allows you to find your brand evangelists who are keen to share and accelerate your content into Google Search. Once you have around 100 people who love you and your brand, no matter the size of business, you can do some incredible things like run campaigns that influence thousands more.
Running Campaigns on Google+
Through relatively straightforward seeding mechanisms, you can take a small group of people and amplify the effect to thousands. On one recent campaign, we started with 50 active participants and reached 3000 active engagers for a #PlusTheZuck day.
Any business can do the same, you just need to build up trust in the community and be prepared to be flexible along the way.
(Here is the full social network analysis report if you’re interested: http://www.plusyourbusiness.com/case-study-plus-zuck-tracking-insights-social-network-analysis/)
The time to start on Google+ is NOW. Do not wait, and do not think it will go away.
It is not as simple as other networks as it embraces so many other aspects of Google’s Products and Services. What you can do in Search, however, is exceptional.
See you on Google+!