Google + has just been launched, however what exactly does this mean and what is it going to do to improve business via social media. Google + is more of a community building tool and aims to make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. The Google +1 button lets you easily recommend web pages that you like to your contacts as well as the outside world. There are many more features and in my view, Douglas Idugboe explained Google + in a nutshell.
What Google+ Means For Your Business
With all due respect to Google, its social media efforts till date have been nothing to write about. Google Wave was a disaster and Google Buzz made a limited impact. In contrast, Facebook has gone from strength to strength and emerged as the world’s leading social network that’s fast approaching the 600 million member mark. It’s been a bitter pill for the world’s leading online search giant to swallow and I expected Google to hit back strongly.
Earlier this last week, Google unveiled its latest social media offering – Google+ to the world and since then social media and technology experts have been busy churning out one opinion after the other. Comparisons to Facebook are inevitable and many experts have been quick to claim that Google+ will dethrone Facebook as the numero uno social media phenomenon.
I was amongst the quick adopters of Facebook and I’ve been a Google fan since its early days. So, I’ll refrain from doing any comparisons for now and instead focus on what I do best – educate my readers on What does Google+ mean for your business?
Tools are your best friend
Unlike Facebook, Google isn’t a place where you’d visit to kill time. Instead, it provides a set of tools accessed through your existing Google account and delivered through a toolbar that also gives easy access to all of your Google tools. Whether its circles, Sparks, Huddle or Instant Uploads, these are business-friendly tools that can help your business in more ways than one.
While Google+ offers tons of goodies, I’ll cut straight to the ones that make sense for businesses. First up is ‘friend groupings’ – that allows user can set who sees their posts, images, and other content. Users can also create video chat groups, and follow celebrities or other interesting people, similar to Twitter. So, that essentially means your business can leverage the Google+ platform to communicate with customers and increase awareness.
The idea is to promote ‘targeted sharing’ between well-connected users rather than use a spam messaging approach that can be exploited on Facebook and Twitter. The concept of circles makes it easier for people with large personal Facebook networks to segment their business activity much more easily by moving all business networking to this different platform.
What about Marketers?
Google+ may not be a pure social network like Facebook but it’s all about community building. It encourages users to build out large networks while they can still keep their friends circle restricted. Most marketers would realize the power of having such close connections. There are no ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ but there’s a massive untapped audience out there.
What about Viral Marketing?
To be honest, I don’t think Google+ has been designed to promote direct viral marketing. Instead, it encourages businesses to choose the alternate route and creates a close network of their own by offering people deals, discounts and promotions. The idea is to use your immediate network as reach out to the broader network to attract new customers and promote your business.
At the end of the day, a business is all about relationships – be it customers, employees or partners. Google+ takes a refreshingly different approach to relationships by introducing boundaries so that businesses are forced to interact with customers in a completely transparent manner.
At the same time, Google+ manages to break away from the more personal aspects of Facebook.