18.5 Things Marketers need to know about the new Google+ Brand pages
Google+ started with a lot of interest but then it died down. Then the search engine opened Google+ to all and it got a lot of interest but then it died down again. To keep the momentum going they needed the next move. This has come with Google’s new concept of allowing people to create a Google brand and local company pages. This also puts them into direct competition with Facebook. In my humble opinion, G+ brand pages puts Google right back in the social game but they are not playing to the same rules as Facebook.
A lot of people say G+ will fail because Google has a big disadvantage. They say that Google is not a social media company. But I think that Google has one big advantage over Facebook, in that Google “isn’t a social media company”!
A large number of bosses don’t think social media adds any benefit to the bottom-line and they just don’t get, or won’t get, social media. A lot of those guys however do understand Google and know that being top of search results in some sectors can have major bottom-line impact. So if your boss “wont do” Facebook will he “do Google”?
I believe that G+ could be the first step of a lot of companies as they move into social media. I don’t think G+ will take people from Facebook but it might win the battle for the late adopters.
18.5 things Marketers needs to know about the new Google+ Brand pages
1. It’s very easy to set up a Google+ brand page and that scores an advantage over Facebook with its clumsy navigation.
2. Search - If you open up a Google brand page you will have one more positive result in Google searches for your brand and that is important for online reputational management. This is something that most companies don’t invest in until they have a problem.
3. Local Search – Now, I am guessing, when I say that the pages will start to rank highly in Google searches in the near future. But I do believe that if you open up a local business page then you will start to dominate local business searches.
4. Local Search - If you have a chain of local businesses, you can have a corporate brand page and then a different Google+ page for each local business. This will work well for chains of restaurants/hairdressers etc
5. G+ Direct - You can search with the + sign. You may remember Google took the + sign out of its search algorithm recently (it was used to connect search terms for more detailed terms) and now if you want to find a Google+ page just search for “+brandname” hit enter and it will take you straight to the G+ page of that brand. Google call this Direct Connect and it isn’t working for all G+ pages yet but to see how it works go search for +Google.
6. Google Analytics is a great analytics tool and if you want to use social media to sell, tracking the traffic and conversion rates from your Google+ page will be far easier than with other social media network pages. OK, I know Google Analytics and G+ are not connected yet but the strategy is obviously to integrate all Google services with the Google+ as a social gateway to Google services, so give it a couple of months.
7. Content Advantage – Google+ is content driven and can be used to share highly focused content that will track well in niche searches. Think about using your Google+ brand page as a landing page in its own right with a conversion mechanic and a call to action.
8. Google+ brand pages can act as a microsite but how about as a substitute for a website for a small business? Far better than a standard cheap static HTML brochure site or one of those cheap and nasty free business sites with naff templates! It all depends on how well brand pages eventually perform in Google and Bing Search.
9. The Google+1 button will drive search ranking. You may have seen the +1 button on many sites recently. Its G+’s version of the ubiquitous Facebook “Like” button. Now, Google can’t favour its own services in search over competitors, or that would get it into anti-competitive legal territory, but it can favour G+ pages that have a lot of +1s and make sure that G+ brand pages rank higher than Facebook company pages most of the time.
10. Design – Ok, so G+ pages look like Facebook pages only maybe cleaner, more functional and bit prettier but the small differences make all the difference to me in terms of navigating the page. This is personal opinion, maybe. The brand pages have profile images and if you click on the far right image you are taken to a “scrapbook”, which is basically a gallery and one thing that is quite interesting is that the page header images can be animated gifs see how Burberry have done it https://plus.google.com/110651620964477160777/posts .
11. Google Chrome users can also add a +1 button to their browser and therefore instantly +1 any page of content they are looking at even if it doesn’t have a +1 button on the page. This makes sharing easier. This is an option that should be available across many browsers soon.
12. YouTube – Again the integration of Google’s services is key here and note that as a marketing tool, video spend doubled last year and I predict it will do so again every year for the next three years. YouTube channels are a bit tricky and not well understood but the integration of your YouTube business videos into your G+ brand page will boost the accessibility of marketing videos.
13. Linking - Google brand pages can be linked to your company’s URLs and to your Google Adwords account and this means that people can not only +1 your websites but +1 your adds. So, in essence, a Google Adwords campaign that receives a lot of +1 will do better than one without. But why would people socially recommend an ad? A better question might be, what can you advertise that would get social recommendations? A give-to-get approach maybe or is it too much to ask businesses to pay for adverts offering free eBooks and white papers “liked” to lead generation pages? For me that will be a key part of any business’s rapid growth optimisation (RGO) strategy.
14. +1 Gating - If you link your brand’s URLs to your Google+ brand page, all of the +1s that the others sites receive will accumulate to your Google+ brand page and make it more powerful.
15. Google+ Circles are an interesting feature for marketers. For example, if you sell globally you might not be bale to offer the same promotion in different countries for legal or, indeed, tactical reasons. So research your G+ followers and see what countries they come from, or what niche marketers they represent and then out them in the relevant Google+ circle and that will allow you to target tailored messages to niche markets rather than broadcast to all.
16. Once Google Analytics is integrated into Google+ will you be able to use that tool to create circles of visitors to your site within set targeting criteria. Or am I thinking about this too much now?
17. Google+ has 40million users (expect that to grow faster from now on) and a lot of people say that isn’t many when compared to Facebook, but they are making the wrong comparison. Google has a lot more users than Google+ and more people do searches on Google everyday than visit Facebook and that is the main chance that Google has to build a volume of users.
18. Signing in – Having set up your page you and signed out you will want to go back in and post content to your brand page later on but you will end up back on your personal G+ account. Look to the top left just by your profile picture you will see a small drop down menu that says how many pages you have. Click on the page you want and you can post away to your brand page. Took me a few minutes to figure that one out!
18.5. Fake G+ Pages - It’s easy to set up fake pages so look for the verified badge to the right of the company name, at least until Google figure out how to stop this. Look out for some funny spoof brand pages though!
Stop Using Facebook?
So should you stop using your Facebook page and invest all your time in G+? No - this isn’t a Facebook killer but an interesting marketing tool for businesses. I think that Facebook is a social network but that G+ is a marketing engagement tool and ideal for businesses that want to engage on a deeper level but not to have friends and inane chat and updates.
How useful is it going to be? It’s probably too early to say but as a digital marketer I am excited about the integration of Analytics, YouTube, Adwords, Picassa etc and this is a definite advantage over Facebook.
Google+ isn’t so much a case of a search giant finally getting “social” but more of engagement marketing finally going global.
OK that's what I think fire in some comments and let me know if you think I have got it right or not!
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