The news of launch of the Google+ social network was practically the most discussed event in the middle of summer 2011. Forums and other resources were flooded with messages containing invitation requests. Google Plus managed to gain more than 25 million signups in only several weeks. Just to compare: it took Facebook 3 years and Twitter 30 months to attract this number of users.
Though the number of subscribers was so great, the connect time period turned to be short. Most experts assume that in case Google does not offer new revolutionary opportunities, it is doomed to death. While the network’s future is obscure, let’s think that Google+ will struggle to survive and will win.
Thereby, the Internet gave shelter to another competing site designed not only for entertainment and communication, but also for marketing. So how can we use it along these lines?
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Google+ Inner Potential for Marketing
Below you can see a list of useful instruments of the Google Plus social network and recommendations on effective employment of each of them.
1. Account Creation and Search of Friends
Before you conduct marketing in Google+, you should create an account in this network and attract concerned audience of your site and other social networks.
Accounts with the most complete information will be more successful in attracting friends and fans. Due to the fact that the network is new and its users have only a few friends there, masses of subscribers are still ready to make friends even with strange people – use it!
After creation of a small community, marketing in Google+ is carried out the same way as in other networks: a user must publish an interesting content, pictures, videos, chat with users, always have an ear to the ground, be interesting, and timely. We will not delve deeply into the problem of marketing in social media in general; let’s dwell on the specific features of Google+ in particular and learn how we can use them in marketing.
Google+ offers a unique opportunity of sharing various types of information with all manner of people. Circles are lists of your acquaintances which are divided according to the previously chosen criteria. Existence of such lists in social networks is nothing new, but the opportunity of hiding and sharing information with a definite group of people according to your wish is definitely something new 🙂
One can use this function as a marketing instrument – specifying the target audience and differentiating information in accordance with interests of groups of people. Basically, it is the CRM system (Customer Relationship Management System).
Google+ provides its users with an opportunity of “one-way” friendship – an analogue of the “subscription” on Vkontakte. Take a note that those who added you to their circles will be able to see your news only in case you do not limit the audience. Being very interesting and attracting many subscribers, you will be able to spin yourself among strange people without spamming your list of friends with strangers.
3. Video Conferences
One of the new specific features of the Google+ social network is the opportunity of organising group conferences in the video chat. One can send chat invitations to the whole circle as well as to separate chat participants. This function seems to rob Skype of its users in the near future.
How can one use group conferences for marketing? This depends on imagination. The video chat can be resorted to for discussions with clients (or potential clients) or during an interactive show or a webinar.
Facilities provided by group video chats:
- Opportunity of open access to the display of your PC for the participants of the video chat for demonstration of presentations and photographs;
- Add-in YouTube will let you share your videos quickly;
- With the help of the integrated service of Google Documents one can create a shared document and make together notes, schemes, and sketches which are automatically saved in Google Documents and are available to all the participants of the conference after it is over.
- Moreover, it is very convenient to obtain interviews for your blog because video conferences can be easily recorded and played again.
Sparks is a topical stream which can be saved and viewed any time you would like to. This idea resembles Google Reader; the difference is that Google+ Sparks scans not specific sites and blogs, but the whole Internet and wall publications of users of the social network.
A marketer might find it pretty useful to have regular access to Sparks related to his/her business. Published articles will be available not only for the friends of your circle, but also for those having you in their friend lists, and for all users of Google+ if you want. What is more, Google+ Sparks is a wonderful source of target visitors as people themselves type the query they need.
How to Get Included into Google Sparks?
Judging by observations, Sparks- and organic results related to one and the same queries are a bit different. As a consequence, the search algorithms are different either. Article ranking is most likely to be influenced by the following factors:
- The +1 mark by Google (the more popular an article is, the more the number of the +1 marks is, and the more the possibility to get included into Sparks is. You should write an interesting content.)
- Age (the more recent an article is, the higher its position in the stream is).
- Relevance (how relevant is an article to the Sparks subject area? Use keywords in the title of the article and in the text (with a higher frequency) and resort to traditional ruses of text optimisation).
5. Distribution of the Content
An important feature of the Google +1 button is that people can share interesting information with all their friends or separate circles by means of only one mouse click. There is no need to copy and send a link or use plug-ins. This advantage seems to be not very significant, but in fact it considerably simplifies the process of distribution of information among the target audience.
Google+ and SEO
The influence of Google+ on SEO may be analyzed in to 2 aspects: the impact of the +1 button and indexing of texts, links, images, and personal data by search engines.
The +1 Button
Just as the Like button in Facebook, the +1 button was made for users to be able to assess quality and usefulness of a site or a page. Thereby, Google encourages users to share their experience and recommend sites they like making search easier.
How does this button work? At the present moment, it influences the Google search result, which concerns only registered and logged-in users. After you click the +1 button for some site or page, your “voice” will be displayed in the search result of your friends when they request information on relevant topics.
If a site or a product has feedback given by a human being, it becomes more trustworthy, especially when the feedback is made by a familiar person.
This is Google’s attempt to reduce influence of the soulless algorithm of a computer on search result, to involve more people into the process of its creation, and to breathe human and social elements into the search.
Google+ stores information about all hittings of the +1 button and makes it possible to view it. One can also change his/her mind and cancel some of these hittings. Due to the fact that Google takes into account behavioural factors and topics interesting for a user, it is possible to create a circle of personal interests and modify future search results.
Indexing of Texts and References
The search system of Google indexes texts and references published in the social network.
Remarkable is the fact that links published on walls are defined as dofollow. It means that references are considered by Google and, consequently, give PR weight to the site. Placing texts and references to your site in the Google+ network, you increase visibility of your site in a search engine by far.
Despite numerous unfavourable prognoses of the future of the Google+ social network you should not ignore such a promising site when promoting your business. So long as the Google search system and some of its products are in the lead at the market, it will be harder and harder to ignore this wholly convenient social network. There are ample possibilities that the network will liven up so do not lose your chance to benefit from it from the very first days of its existence!