With the introduction of Google+ Branded Pages last week, all eyes turned to the few select brands that were granted early access and already had Pages up and running. The actions of early adopters like Ford Motor Company will set the bar for brands and organizations to follow.
While other brands quickly follow suit, marketers will do well on Google+ if they view the platform as more of a forum, rather than a network that competes with Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, success will come not just by navigating the new landscape but by managing (and balancing) an engagement strategy on the social environments where a target audience resides.
On that note, Google+ has several features that make it a valuable place to communicate with specific audiences.
Hangouts are quickly becoming a feature that brands are utilizing right away. Anderson Cooper, Macy*s and even the Dalai Lama have used Google+ Hangouts to hold live Q&A or interview sessions. While Hangouts can only accommodate up to 10 speakers, Google+ users can subscribe to those hosting Hangouts and tune in to watch and engage.
Hangouts are quickly becoming a useful alternative to existing webcast platforms, allowing brands to conduct live chats and webcasts within the platform.
Another feature unique to Google+ is Ripples, a real-time diagram that demonstrates how a post spreads through individual users and their circles. Just like Klout scores, shares and re-tweets, marketers are always searching for the right metrics to prove the success of a campaign, as well as its earned media. The visuals of Ripples are not only informative, but they’ll be sure to spice up many a PowerPoint deck.
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In the coming months, we’ll see Google work diligently to improve the Google+ experience not just for consumers, but for brands. Despite the new features that will likely be unveiled on Google+ Branded pages, marketers need to continue relying established best practices using social media channels: keep fans engaged on a consistent basis with dynamic content, up-to-date news and information, and regular communication (especially in responding to questions and commentary.)
Smart brands understand it’s their responsibility to stay on top of their social media presence, pay attention to the changes occurring and quickly learn how to best take advantage of the appropriate tools at their disposal to build social buzz and increase customer loyalty.
Guest Author: Blake Cahill, president at Banyan Branch – The Social Media Agency.