Social Media: Exploring Google+ for Business

While Google+ already has over 90 million users since its June 2011 launch, it can hardly be compared to Facebook’s mammoth 800 million-plus global users. Similar to Facebook, Google+ is a social media network that is free for use by individuals to use for sharing photos, discussions, comments and much more. In addition to the usual fare, Google+ users can also share video conference calls with other users in Google+ Hangout, create a network of targeted users within Google+ Circle and take advantage of a whole host of other Google-infused tools within the Google+ social media network.

While it wasn’t initially designed for business users, Google+ has made some changes to its initial offering and launched a new Google+ Business Pages option in November 2011. Now marketers and business owners have the ability to create pages for their companies and link all of their Google-based efforts together, including Google Analytics, GoogleAds and much more. Immediately on the day it was launched, Google+ was flooded with business-based users anxious to play with the service to see how it could be used to their advantage.

The Advantages
The biggest advantage to using Google+ Business Pages as a part of your social media marketing campaign is that it’s powered by Google. Everyone knows that Google makes good stuff. Beyond that, Google intertwines everything that it makes in with everything else that it makes, giving a big advantage to companies that utilize everything that Google has to offer. It’s easy to see that with just over a year under its belt that Google will be layering in even more tools and opportunities to its social media network.

Plus One?
There are some distinct differences between Google+ and other social networks. Keeping with Google’s policy of linking everything together, Google+ will also play an influential role in Google search results. This can be a huge boost to any marketing strategy. You may have seen the little “+1” clickable button on news pages and other information websites. Individuals can endorse or support a company brand or Business Page by using the +1 option. Company brands can be tagged in photos and then shared and comments can be posted on Business Pages to help companies engage with customers.

Video Interaction
By far the biggest unique feature of this new social network is the Google+ Hangouts video conferencing option. This is unique to any other social media network, giving businesses the ability to interact directly with their customers in real time from their Google+ Business Page. Company reps can now receive personal feedback from site visitors that can be used to improve their products, customer service and order fulfillment, but even more, it allows them to establish real face-to-face relationships with the people who buy their products or use their services. This type of real time, face-to-face feedback is something that was previously only available to main street brick-and-mortar store owners.

Marketing Opportunities
Another great feature is the Google+ Circles feature. Business owners can’t add people to their Circles and can’t join Circles until the company has been mentioned or invited by the individuals first. What this means is that companies aren’t able to just “show up” in a Google+ Circles discussion and spam their products or services – they have to be invited. When a company is invited to discuss their brand with customers and potential customers, it makes for a truly targeted marketing opportunity that is unique to any other program or platform.

So take some time to register and try out Google+ for yourself. You might just find that it has the tools and opportunities that you need to spread the word about your business, increase consumer brand awareness and interact with your customers in a whole new way. If you don’t have a lot of experience working with social media marketing, consider hiring a professional to at least get you started and point you in the right direction. To utilize an affordable way to market through social networks, let New Bedford Internet help by calling 508-415-8648 for a free consultation and evaluation of current search engine marketing efforts or to get you started toward reaching a larger audience.