October 23, 2014

Google+: All You Need to Know — Right Now

googleplus2 Google+: All You Need to Know    Right NowHave you caught the buzz about Google+? It’s the latest “thing” that has marketers and social media mavens – dare I say it – a-Twitter.  Just launched by Google, already 25 million people have signed up! It’s got people questioning what this means for Facebook and Twitter…and, grumbling about learning another social media tool.

At a Social Media Club of Columbus meeting, experts discussed what Google+ is, why it’s beneficial and how to incorporate it into your marketing plan.

 

Wow Features

Google+ is a social network that lets you follow people who don’t have to follow you back. (who doesn’t love that?) Users get a profile, news stream and the option to follow topics they’re interested in.

I found this presentation useful for providing some of the general “what is Google+” information. Three really great features with Google+:

  • Circles:You can create friends in categories such as work, high school friends, etc. When you post a message, you can choose which group of friends can see it. This is user-friendly and easier than arranging Facebook groups.

googleplus circles 261x300 Google+: All You Need to Know    Right Now

  • Sparks: Talk about target marketing. Users can suggest news stories, videos, photos and more to specific users (or Circles) rather than posting it to everyone.
  • Hangouts:Users can simultaneously video chat with each other. I find it interesting that Google+ has incorporated key items from Facebook and Skype and appears to really be trying to centralize all of your social media tools.

Things to note:

  • Business pages aren’t yet available, but you can make it work for a business. Ohio State Parks are using their rangers (naturalists) to set up a profile and test this new tool. Read more about what they’re doing here.
  • People need to receive an invitation to join since it’s still in beta testing.
  • Only works on the most recent browser versions.

 Check out “10 Awesome Google+ Presentations To View Today” for all you need.

The experts at the Social Media Club of Columbus all agreed: Consider your brand, strategy, message and customers before determining if Google+ makes sense for you. Questions they posed for the audience:

  • Does Google+ demographic profile match with your customers?
  • Are your customers using Google+? Are you missing opportunities by not being in this space?
  • What’s the risk of waiting to see the direction of the newest tool?
  • Can you provide value in Google+?

Their full presentations can be found here.

Whether or not you decide Google+ is for you, we know social media tools are here to stay and new ones will continue to pop up. As marketers, we need to ask ourselves – does this one make sense for our customers?

Are you using Google+? Let me know – we’d all love to hear about it.

My thanks to Julie Theado, CML’s Social Media Strategist, for this post.

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

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Comments

  1. Google+ looks pretty good on the surface, but I’m still leery. Recent reports about account deletion–not of Google+ accounts alone but of *all a person’s Google data*–have me reluctant to risk entering the beta test.

    I’m also not wholly comfortable with the fact that Google requires you to use your full, real name when signing up. Pseudonyms have plenty of uses besides illegal activity, and Google’s point about connecting with “real” people in the “real” world sounds like junk to me. What’s in a name, anyway? A blog handle, properly branded, is real, even if it doesn’t show up on my birth certificate.

    Newsnet article: http://www.netmagazine.com/news/google-under-fire-account-deletions

    Macworld article:http://www.macworld.com/article/161331/2011/07/complaints_mount_over_googleplus_account_deletions.html