Look who’s fresh out of the blocks into the social media universe – Welcome Google and their latest effort Google+. This is not only Google’s effort to enter the social media space but to also integrate their services under one ‘cloud’ (so to speak) with all their services within your browser.
No DVD software package to launch and no installation needed onto a computer to launch. You can simply open a browser, launch your Gmail account and away you go. Right at your finger tips, you have access to email, Google documents, Calendar, Photos, Reader, search engine, YouTube and many more….and now Google+.
After many hours playing and experimenting with Google+ as an early invitee (as the doors haven’t fully opened yet), there are several elements of Google+ that you will discover. Google+ features list contain “Circles”, “Hangouts”, “Sparks”, “Stream” and most importantly a “Data Liberation” option which enables users to download their content from Google+.
– “Circles” are Google’s version of Twitter and Facebook Lists.
– “Hangouts” is arguably the most exciting element of Google+. This is Google’s group video conferencing tool which has a limit of 10 users at a time. You can video chat, text chat, watch YouTube videos together and simply just hangout. If you’re lucky, you get to hangout with fantastic people like Michael Dell (Founder of Dell Computers), New Media consultant Brian Solis, author and Apple Fellow Guy Kawasaki or anyone of the Google+ team like Frances Haugen (Google+ Profiles Product Manager) to Melissa Daniels (Chrome OS Community Manager). If anything, “hangouts” enables deeper engagement with people and provides a focused or freestyle open forum. It’s fun and has massive utility especially when it comes to customer services.
– “Sparks” is an aggregator. Users can find information based on topics they love and be able to share these links with people within or outside of their networks.
– The “Stream” is the Google+ newsfeed where you get to see updates from your “circles” of contacts. This is where you can update and share information pertinent to you and/or your audience.
– Many will appreciate Google’s efforts here with their “Data Liberation” feature. This feature alone for many will build trust with their new communications platform.
Even in its infancy and beta phase, Google+ has some solid bones for businesses to utilise. Keep in mind that business pages are still coming and may be rolled out soon once a few bugs are ironed out.
Here are several tips for marketers to use on Google+:
Start your engagement process with active listening. Ask questions and listen.
On any social media platform, be it Twitter, Facebook or Google+, the #number one most important activity to do is to ENGAGE. Engagement builds trust. Engagement gives life and a personality to your brand. It’s living and breathing and not a one dimensional logo. Again, ask questions and listen to your audience.
3. TARGET MARKET
Discover who is using Google+ by typing their names and email addresses into the FIND PEOPLE bar on the “Circles” page. Word of caution, if you are connecting with clients who are in your database on Google+, it may be wise to ask their permission first from outside of Google+ to engage them there. Some people may not approve of an alternative/private email being shared with Google.
4. HANGOUT OFTEN
Let people get to really know you, ask questions of you, your brand, your company. The more people engage with you, you increase the likelihood of them talking about you with their networks and sharing your information from your status updates. Invested time with people increases the probabilities of future word-of-mouth activity because they LIKE or LOVE you and your brand.
5. SHARE A LOT
Share nine out of 10 pieces of content about or from other people and one or two pieces of content about you or your brand. Social media is a space for sharing not selling. If you show people how much you care about them by empowering them with invaluable pieces of information to help them with their needs and wants, you inherently build trust with those people.
6. COMMENT PLENTY
Make sure you comment on other people’s streams. Engage them by asking meaningful questions that relate to their question/topic of inquiry. Comment helps to get people to notice you.
Google+ may be the best way for you to improve your search rankings. Google puts a heigher weight on content that has more shares or +1’s.
8. PUBLIC PROFILE
Since Google is popular for its search, then chances are that it will index your google profile quicker than a normal blog or website. This helps people to search for you.
Sparks allows you to follow industry related news, be sure to add your industry into sparks to follow the current news and be updated as to what is happening around your industry.
10. REAL TIME SEARCH
Did you know? Google is bringing back real-time search which they have remove a while ago due to the expiration of contact with Twitter. This time Google will bring it back together with Google+.
11. REFER TO TIP ONE AND TWO!
Remember the first tip and second tip at your peril!
Remember: Social Media Success = sharing, caring, listening, resharing, humor and being yourself!