Have 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.
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.
- 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.