By Keredy Andrews - Punch Communications
Setting itself apart from Facebook and Twitter, Google+ offers brands a unique means of controlling the way their content is distributed and seen. Ripe with benefits for businesses, Google+ is fast becoming one of the top three social networks, recently outpacing Twitter in terms of its growth. Three main features of Google+ let it stand out from other networks and allow users and brands to tailor content to specific audiences and decide who sees what, creating a bespoke online experience for fans. Those three key features are: Circles, Hangouts and social search integration.
Being able to group select members of the Google+ community into ‘Circles’, allows brands to tailor content to offer future products, complimentary services and relevant updates to their audiences. By only targeting certain posts to specific users, brands are able to keep their content relevant for fans. Circles also carry benefits when looking for influential fans as loyalty Circles can be created to closely monitor users’ posts.
Another benefit of Google+ for brands is the use of Hangouts which allow private video calls and conferences to be held with a select list of invited attendees on the network. Brands and businesses can use Hangouts for Q and A sessions, advertising, drawing attention to key speakers and even offering invitations to events as online competition prizes. In addition to using Hangouts to connect with fans, businesses can also hold meetings online with colleagues to discuss new products and brand developments.
Social Search Integration
Perhaps the most significant reason that brands must not ignore Google+ is that it is at the centre of the search and social merge. Search giant Google is integrating Google+ into more of its features, with a recent introduction of social annotations to its search results as well as a hashtag and search facility within Google+. As social search is given more priority within networks, having an established following and readership in place on Google+ will be invaluable.
Businesses looking to manage their online presence should reach out to social media agencies for advice, as language and copy differs between networks. Google+ offers the opportunity to go into technical detail with fans and engage in regular conversations with people who really care about a brand. Google+ is a part of the bigger social movement that is trending away from only posting status updates and is embracing a new wave of communicating a lifestyle.
Guest Post - Keredy Andrews is an account director at Punch Communications, an integrated PR, SEO, social media agency, serving a range of global clients. She has over eight years’ experience in communications and marketing, regularly contributes industry insight to websites, including the Punch Communications blog, and she can be followed on Google+ and Twitter.