Google launched business pages for Google+ last week, and now the digital marketing world is scrambling to figure out how it will work best for themselves and their clients. As with any product launch, there are a lot of blog posts out there listing off the do’s and don’ts of Google+ business pages. However, there haven’t been many discussions about how they can help a business. There are two main features in Google+ that businesses can leverage right now: Hangouts and Circles.
Google Hangouts will be the main feature that differentiates Google+ business pages from the rest of its competitors, namely Facebook Pages, and to a lesser extent, Twitter and YouTube profile pages. All businesses need loyal customers to survive, and Google Hangouts will allow them to increase loyalty. Let’s run through a couple of examples involving a big-time business and a small business.
Big-Time Business Hangout: Video games have large communities comprised of extremely dedicated fans that want to know everything about a particular game. Imagine giving fans the opportunity to talk to a developer from an upcoming game via Google Hangouts. This would increase interaction between video game developers and their fan base, as well as reward die-hard fans with insider information.
Small Business Hangout: Not all companies are multi-billion dollar enterprises, but that doesn’t mean Google+ can’t work for them too. Imagine running a fashion blog and being able to have a discussion hangout with your most loyal readers after watching a runway show. It would even be possible to have a dedicated hangout every Friday afternoon where readers can give each other fashion advice for their upcoming weekend activities.
Google+ Circles are a lot like Twitter Lists and Facebook Groups, but Circles are better integrated into the Google+ platform than other grouping solutions. The debate continues on as to whether single users actually find Circles useful (I publish to the “Public” quite often myself), but for businesses, it just makes sense.
Google starts each business off with Circles for “Following”, “Customers”, “VIP”, and “Team Members”. Businesses can add other Circles of their choosing, which allows for list segmentation. This is important because a business can then share information with those who will care most about it. This way, users’ streams will not be flooded with information that is unimportant to them.
Mike’s Wish List:
I hope that Google, much like Instant Search and its “suggested users” in Gmail, will eventually recommend certain Circles to share with as one types in their status update. For example, while creating a status update for this blog post, it would be cool if Google+ automatically suggested that I share it with my “Social Media” circle!
Finally, I’d like to end this post off with a prediction.
At the moment there are a limited amount of analytics available for business pages, but given Google’s terrific (and free!) analytics product, it is only a matter of time before this is built out. The information found within Google Analytics is extremely valuable as it gives businesses an idea of how users are consuming data and traversing their website. The same information, if applied to a Google+ business page, would be just as valuable as it could give insight on where a page is most successful and where a business might need to pull its socks up.
Google+ is the new kid on the block, and while it has a long way to go to compete with the likes of Facebook, it has made a good start. With a couple of differentiating features, and a whole lot of clout in the internet game, I’m including it in my social media business strategy, and so should you.
Questions about how you can use Google+ for your business? Contact 6S Marketing or write them in the comments area below and I’ll reply to you!
Also, be sure to +1 the 6S Marketing Google+ Business Page!