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A Marketer’s Guide to Google+: 5 Tips for Enhanced Engagement

Google Plus

Google recently released its social networking platform Google+. The biggest differentiator from its competition is the way that Google+ will help people consume the world’s information and share it with their Circles via the web. In the coming months, as Google looks to expand this product, brands will have a place to house their paid, earned and owned content on a Search Engines Results Page (SERP) through Google+. Google+ will incorporate brand assets beyond the brand website on the SERP, making it all the more important for marketers to integrate their digital marketing programs. From a paid media perspective expect that Google+ will be heavily focused on click-based advertising driving higher click-through rates than other social networks have been historically. Yet there is more to the product than just advertising…

What Are the Elements and How Do I Use Them?

Below are the five elements of Google+ and 5 tips on how you can best utilize these elements in your marketing.

+Profiles

The brand profiles we are expecting to see shortly will most likely incorporate Check-ins, Offers, Links to Other Owned Properties, and more. This brand experience will give businesses the opportunity to link Google+ brand pages with web analytics, webmaster tools, and a number of other properties – giving businesses a deep understanding of how social networking affects their everyday business, as well as impacts search.

  • Tips on Profiles to come after the brand profiles are launched. In the meantime start thinking about how this audience will differ from other social networks and plan your strategy to adapt to the key features below.

+Circles

With Google+ Circles, users have the ability to share with the world or share only with those that are interested in their content, allowing you to more closely target and relate to your audiences.

Tip 1: Circles provide ease of segmentation and reach – think mass media and personalization all in one. Be sure to leverage the benefits of targeting through Circles by providing custom content to key segments within your customer base. The benefit, deliver customized messaging to your audience all from one account.

+Sparks

Google+ Sparks are a way for consumers to search for topics of interest, or find featured content throughout the web that Google has collected and grouped for easy consumption. The consumer can then take that information and easily share it with their Circles. Sparks are a like an RSS or news feed, done in real-time, and collected in the same place that users share topics they want to talk about.

Tip 2: Even though Sparks will make it hard to actively target your consumers, consider sponsoring a search for a day. Think about the area that is most relevant for your business and brand. For instance, if you sell road bikes, you could sponsor the cycling Spark.

+Hangouts

With Hangouts you can instantly video chat with any person, Circle, or even everyone in your contact list. It’s an easy way to engage with multiple consumers all at once.

Tip 3: Launch a new product to your Circles via a Hangout two hours prior to public notification; taking the example above, segment the Hangout to your Road Bike Circle of customers only.

Tip 4: Use Hangouts for customer service (http://gigaom.com/video/dell-google-hangouts/) – react to questions and feedback in real-time and face-to-face.

+Mobile

Google+ offers the ability to add your location to every post (or not), as well as check in at every place you stop in your journeys across the globe – think Foursquare + Facebook. Google+ also allows you to instantly upload your photos while choosing to share (or not share) that photo at a later date.

Tip 5: Create unique offers to Google+ users who check-in via mobile devices.

As Google continues to index not only on-site content, but also offsite content (as we’ve seen with YouTube already), Google+ will likely impact SEO as well.  For now, brands can get a head start by using the +1 button (RM POV on Google +1 Button) on their website, and measuring and optimizing the social engagement through Google Webmaster Tools.

All in all, Google has a reputation for innovation, so stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated with the latest Google+ breakthroughs.