It finally happened… my curiosity got the best of me. At first I couldn’t bear to even read about Google+ considering the amount of time I have spent in the past few years setting up and maintaining my Facebook page. Why would I need yet another means to share pictures and stories with my friends & family (and distract me at home & work)? The truth is I probably don’t. However, I am just a single social person. My prosperity is not dependent on my efforts to brand myself or in getting my message out to the masses. BUT the overall success of our clients truly is based on these factors. I can no longer ignore the fact that there is a major new player in the world of Social Marketing. And this heavy hitter can provide some very exciting advertising opportunities for our client base.
At AdTech New York in November, keynote speaker Christian Oestlian, Lead in Social Advertising with Google, explained exactly why and how brands and companies should be using Google+. Christian broke down the information by highlighting 5 of the most common problems facing marketers and then providing a Google+ solution for each.
- Marketing Disconnection – Companies social efforts often vary drastically from the implementation of their other marketing plans. Google+ Page, Direct Connect – Users can connect & communicate with your brands directly through your Google+ page. Google provides the ability to drive customers directly to your brand’s online identity with one simple search by including ‘+1’ in the search.
- Recommendations without impact – Valid recommendations fall through the cracks and are often not dispersed throughout all facets of a brand’s identity. Google +1 button – Allows a brand’s users/fans to recommend you with a simple click anywhere they see you online. In Oestlien’s own words, it is “marrying the power of personal recommendations with the immediacy and power of recommendation on Google search.” According to Google surveys, 90% of people rely on the recommendations of friends/family when making any new decisions.
- Comments without Conversation – Until now companies have been serving up their message to social networks without a way to actually engage prospects. Google+ Hangouts – A way for brands to have real conversations with their actual audience through the group video chatting function. The impact of face-to-face interaction w/ your target consumers is immense. Answer customer service questions, play live testimonials, gather a business group for brainstorming, and on and on.
- Messaging lacks personalization – Marketers have been limited in creating messages that are personally targeted. They have to try to reach a larger audience all at once with just one broad message. Google+ Circles – This feature allows brands to directly target specific segments of their prospective customer or audience base. Companies can direct followers to varying circles in order to better target which content they will see. It also offers a solution to the common marketer dilemma of how to manage a professional and personal social platform.
- Lack of Awareness/Transparency – Companies have limited insight into the details of how people are interacting with and sharing info associated with their brand. Google+ Ripples – Analytics providing a clear view of who is sharing what about your brand and with whom. Ripple actually creates a timeline of how posts are shared and interacted with. This is an invaluable tool for dissecting the flow of shared info and learning who your best advocates are and which content offers the greatest reach.
Google+ has managed to bridge the very real gap between search & social. Google can now track users from search to websites and back to social. This allows Google to target users continuously as they surf the web. For example: A user visits the Jiffy Lube website and views the oil change info then leaves the page without scheduling the service (converting). When they hit G+ you could serve this user with a targeted ad – “Don’t wait to change your oil! Click here for a $7 off coupon.” Priceless.
In case it isn’t obvious yet, I’m sold. The ability to link all aspects of our client’s online identity together and create a cohesive brand that fans/customers/users can search & engage with is amazing. In closing, I have to agree with Sherilynn Macale, the Social Media Editor for The Next Web, who believes, “Google+ is the future of search branding and marketing, encouraging the brand-to-user and user-to-brand experience through more intimate and personal engagement.” Now we just need to get our clients on board!
Author: Jacoba Deming