The Marketing Benefits of Google+
As a company, you must be able to adapt to the demands of the market in order to remain relevant. This is true for any industry. That is the test of a marketer. An expert must contend with message clutter, rival agencies, and an ad-proliferated environment in order to capture the consumer’s attention.
In recent years, Social Media has done more to change the face of marketing than any other single invention. That’s because Social Media works. It is a digitalized, low-cost form of marketing that offers the greatest results.
The benefit of Social Media is that it offers more than a one-way channel of marketing. Social Media is a community where every consumer has chance to interact with the brand, and have a say in company decision making. This is the appeal. You CAN influence what is available on the market.
This being said, the nature of Social Media is free-flowing. New utilities and tools are released into the marketing based on need, or potential need.
Google+ is the future.
Google+, as touched upon in our Basic Overview of Google+ Blog post, is an integrated Social Media Networking site.
The concept of G+ is not new. In essence, it is a digital platform that allows users to interact with each other on a large scale. The difference is in execution. G+ offers a variety of new concepts and functions that make it more efficient as a tool for marketers.
The features that make G+ so unique (and full of potential) are Circles, Cross-Platform Integration, Hangouts, and the +1.
The main driving force behind G+ is the introduction of Circles. G+ Circles are like your real life social circles. You may have multiple groups of people you associate with to a varying degree, based on shared interests or other definable characteristics. These characteristics can be defined, and organized into a G+ Circle. Each Circle has a unique title, and you add connections into them accordingly.
The challenge of marketing is to define your target audience. A great deal of time and research goes into this. But with Circles, G+ makes it incredibly easy to narrow down your audience into segments. The value behind audience segmentation is that you are able to craft audience-specific messages, and deliver them in the most efficient manner. Say for instance that you are a Sports Equipment Distributor, and you have a new basketball shoe that you want to test. With G+, you could organize your followers into their respective sports circles (i.e. basketball, tennis, football etc.), and deliver the message to the pertinent group- in this case, the basketball circle.
Another beneficial feature of G+ is the Cross-Platform Integration. Google is taking strives to integrate every aspect of your online experience. The introduction of G+ ushers in a complete overhaul of all Google utilities, consolidating them into a central dashboard. This allows for greater overlap of individual components. Where you would otherwise have to access many different applications to maximize your social media marketing efforts, you can find it all in one place on G+.
For instance, G+ is integrated with Picasa and YouTube to make it easier to share videos and photos. This is important because videos and photos represent rich media. Rich media is shown to be much more engaging to an audience, resulting in increased feedback or action. Your marketing campaign will be more successful through utilization of multiple channels of rich media, which explains the benefit of our next feature.
Photos and videos are a good rich media source. But the Hangout is the best platform, short of in-person face-to-face communication. The G+ Hangout is Google’s video calling/conferencing interface. Hangouts allows for multi-way conversations between users across multiple screens. The collaboration potential is endless! Not only does it allow for convenient interaction with your consumers, but it puts a face to your brand.
This is the proverbial meet-and-greet with a modern upgrade. Whenever a consumer has a problem or question, a spokesperson can provide them with instant feedback. A company would benefit well from this kind of public relations. Many celebrities have already embraced this function, holding scheduled Hangouts to conduct interviews and answer questions for fans. The flock of celebrities engaging in Hangouts is indisputable evidence at the growth potential for G+ customer interaction. And last but not least…
…We have the +1. The Google +1 is similar to the Facebook “like”…if it was on steroids…and had a better haircut. The +1 is Google’s endorsement mechanism. This function is somewhere between Google’s paid and natural search activity, with an element of wider social recommendations. The +1 will be included in all of Google’s search results. This means, the more +1’s your site has, the higher it will appear in a list of search results.
The underlying benefit of this feature is word-of-mouth advertising. This type of message transmission is the most effective because people tend to trust peer recommendations. G+ users may offer their +1 to any content on the web, resulting in an online peer recommendation.
Search results are affected by the people you are connected with on G+. This requires strategic planning in acquiring connections and followers. A company’s social connections may hold more importance than their link activity. Sites on G+ tend to be indexed very quickly.
These core features, combined with the plethora of additional utilities offered, makes G+ the best candidate for being THE Social Media Networking platform of tomorrow. It is imperative for marketers to become savvy with this technology to keep their company relevant in the social landscape. It’s never been easier than with Google+.