With the growing realization that social networking platforms can play a major role in a company’s overall marketing plan, the very recent addition to Google+ has attracted some heavy hitters. Two influences that have attracted the attention of major retailers are the hopes that using the search engine’s own social media product will have SEO significance and that a significant section of a prime buying demographic will be accessed, namely college students. With online learning now playing a significant role in traditional and adult courses, current and future generations of potential buyers may come around to the just launched Google+ business pages.
Hitting the ground running:
Open to the public on November 7th, Google+ Pages had a rush of early users. According to the tech research firm, Bright Edge, 61 of the nation’s top 100 brands created Google+ business pages within the first week of the site’s launch. Though nearly all of these same brands already have Facebook pages, such a strong initial showing serves as a measure of confidence in Google+.
In addition to Pages’ strong showing, November traffic on Google+ spiked with its third largest showing in the social media site’s history. While more data is needed to determine where the growth came from, two likely suspects come to mind.
Hangouts, Circles and the people who love them:
Both Google+ user accounts and the site’s business pages share the ability to engage users and build connections. Both also lend themselves to Google+’s contrasting features when compared to Facebook, the dominant social networking giant with twenty times the number of Google+ accounts at over 800,000 users. While Facebook has the capability of users to teleconference by using Skype directly from their profile pages,
Google+ has its Hangouts feature, organic to the Google account.
Returning to the disparity of numbers between the established Facebook and the only-months-old Google+, the user profiles come into play for e-commerce marketing. Younger, trending towards better educated, and therefore better compensated, technically savvy users, Google+ account holders seem to be less hesitant to use the full range of capabilities of their platform. Though much smaller in numeric power, Plus users have the potential to drive influence in disproportionate degrees.
With a base comprised largely of college students and graduates, many working in the high tech industry, Google+ members have a different engagement model than Facebook. The difference for Plus is the grouping strategy called Circles, a contact management feature that seems more natural than Facebook’s Lists. Every bit as important is the ability of Google+ users to “share” their lists, encouraging deeper engagement than that of Facebook. Entire groupings of contacts with similar interests can be shared with another user. Your “foodie” circle can be shared with another user who can then begin to interact–or not–with your users, and those not wishing to share or receive can opt out or delete new add-ons.
For marketers, the advantage of having a Google+ business page may be an investment to make in addition to other social media products. Given the fact that the social platform in question is also the world’s biggest search engine is not to be dismissed.[Pictures purchased from Fotolia]