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Google+ Your Business

2011 November 8

So Google+ has finally launched Pages for businesses – but what does this mean for your social communications and audience engagement?

I have read many blogs this morning about how Google + Pages is lacking in functionality, and concluding that it is no match for Facebook, but here’s my view as to why Facebook should be worried, and why brands ought to get involved (even at this stage if it is only to stop people squatting on your brand name!).

Facebook vs Google +

Facebook’s mission for the last 18 months has been to tap into the social graph, giving their community a more holistic, richer experience on the web through enabling brands to be more insightful and relevant to fans through becoming embedded in their social network. Google already has the ability to go to this depth – after all they have been building and adapting their search algorithms for some time now to deliver the perfect search result for each individual.

So while Facebook are trying to do a lot of things through their own platform, Google + can call upon their established partners and utilise their position as the king of search to increase richness and traffic in their new social space. This has positive implications for both brands and their audience alike:

Brands:

While Facebook has overtaken Google as the most visited website, Google is still the de facto utility for information finding. Facebook are ever creeping towards an advertising model to drive traffic to Brand Pages, while Google already has an established ad model. They also have the added ability of being able to deeply integrate Google + Pages into their search results. All this means that Google can start to bring more day to day relevance and traffic to the Google + Pages; so while the engagement (at this stage) might not be as rich – prospective followers will be getting many more opportunities to visit a Google + Page as a result of their daily interaction with Google search and associated partners.

With Direct Connect, you can automatically add Google+ pages to your circles from Google Search. Just add + in front of the page you’re searching for.

Brands need to consider search as part of their social strategy as keywords and social signals play an ever increasing role within search engines.

Audience:

From an audience point of view, these external traffic drivers mean that Google + Pages can remain clean and un-cluttered (as long as Google aren’t tempted by the advertising revenue opportunity). User criticism of Facebook has often focused around major roll-outs like changes in layout and the addition of features that clutter their online experience.

One other very interesting (especially from a Roost point of view) thing that Google+ Pages has over Facebook is the ability for brands to segment their audience. Experts have often talked about the need to understand the reasons behind people becoming fans of brands, but up until now Facebook didn’t really provide the means to do this, e.g. by sending out a specific communication to each of these groups. Through circles and hangouts Google + allows us to include updates for anyone from VIPs through to Team members – I’m sure that there are many brands out there are already thinking about how they can integrate their Gold Card members into a circle. I know that we will certainly be revisiting and adapting our comms with key brand influencers across our retail, FMCGs and other family brands clients.

Google+ Pages

I just want to sign off with a couple of quotes from Google that I feel give a lot of insight into their strategy for Google+:

“People are what make the web as powerful and exciting as it is today. We all contribute. With photos, videos and blogs, we’ve turned the web into an incredible resource, connecting and sharing with each other across the world.”

“Using the power of the web, Google+ Your Business can bring your company and customers closer.”

Google’s blog >>

Google+ Pages – guide to getting started >>

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Google+ Pages…

 

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