What’s the Fuss with Google+?
Internet giant has developed a new social media option
If you’ve been living under a marketing rock, perhaps you’ve missed the limited launch of Google’s new social media platform, Google+. Whether you’ve received an invitation or spent time begging for one, the question now is how B2B marketing professionals will transform their social media tactical plans as more people join this shiny new social network.
The idea behind Google+ seems to be taking Facebook down a notch or two by making every Google product socially compatible. That means integrating all the information and functions of Blogger, Picasa, Gmail, Google Maps and more into the Google+ experience, so users won’t have to sign into different services to share photos or otherwise let others know what they’re up to. Another perk for users who currently employ all of these products is that they will instantly have content to display and share with their friends.
But Google+ has a lot more to offer, too. Marketers will want to check out:
Circles. This Google+ feature allows users to share what they want with whom they want. Circles makes it easy to put friends in one circle, family in another, work connections in yet another, and so on – however many circles you would like to make. Circles also can make targeting audiences easy, allowing marketers to segment their circles into different types of prospects or leads. The best part is that only the user will know in which Circle a connection has been placed: No one ever needs to know how they have been labeled.
Sparks. With this option, users can teach Google+ to filter content based on their likes and interests. Spark will actually look for videos and articles it thinks an individual may find intriguing. Adding a topic is as easy as doing a search while logged in and clicking the “Add Interest” button to include the terms in the user’s list of important subjects. Though this idea isn’t particularly new to social media, it is still a useful tool for marketers, as it provides them with an endless amount of useful information and discussion starters to share with their prospects.
Hangouts. This option allows users to connect on-screen via webcam with a group of friends or colleagues. This video chat attribute will allow up to 10 people to interact with each other. Although this technology also has been around for years, one unique feature of Hangouts is that the video chat changes automatically to show whomever is speaking at that moment. The business application for Hangouts is that teams can use it to interact or present information to each other quickly and efficiently. Sales people can also have face-to-face meetings with prospects or clients this way. The possibilities are extensive.
Huddle. Sometimes video chat isn’t for everyone. Still in pajamas, hair all a mess? Google+ has another option that allows users to connect with a group of friends or colleagues for a chat. Instead of having several different text chat conversations at once, a Huddle can be initiated for a group chat about pending projects or upcoming events, saving everyone time and energy. Best of all, everything said in a Huddle can be preserved for future reference.
Options. Google+ is supported by Chrome, IE, Firefox and Safari browsers. It will also soon be available on a variety of mobile platforms, a must for any social media network. Additionally, unlike Facebook, Google Takeout allows users to download data to disk from any Google+ product. That includes Google profile, Google Contacts, PicasaWeb albums and photos, Stream and Buzz.
With these features and more, Google+ has much to offer social media marketing plans. Marketers should be prepared to spend some time getting set up and familiar with this channel, as initial buzz suggests it will be better received than Google’s previous attempts at social networking platforms.