Google+ is taking the social media world by storm. Already, social media expert Chris Brogan has come out as a strong advocate, and people are flocking to invite their friends, colleagues, and family. Perhaps it’s the new platform’s Circles feature, which allows users to set up groups of connections with a particular interest or relationship with the user, and target each update just to a specific Circle. You don’t need to be in marketing to see the benefits of this type of narrow targeting—how many people have posted pet photos to the whole world on Facebook or shared work updates of no interest to our kin? Companies are waiting for their chance to stake a claim; so far, only people are being allowed to set up most profiles, with the service not yet open to every company that wants to set up a page, a la Facebook. There are still many ways you can leverage Google+ for your business:
- If your site is in Drupal, add a Google+ module to immediately provide the same level of integration with the new service that you already have with Twitter and Facebook. Stay on top of new modules that will appear as soon as Google makes a public API available. Modules will be released with lightning speed, so be prepared to implement them once they hit to stay ahead of the G+ curve. As Acquia’s Product Marketing Manager Amanda Wilson points out in a recent blog post, one of the huge advantages of an open-source platform such as Drupal is the speed with which the supporting community provides new modules in response to developments in the online world. Stay informed and subscribe to groups so you can keep integrating Google+ with your site in increasingly connected ways.
- The SEO bet is that getting shares and +1’s in Google+ will play an important role in search engine rankings. Start sharing useful content from your company’s content library in your personal Google+ account, if you feel it’s appropriate. Remember, the principles of content sharing and content curation are the same on Google+ as on other channels such as Twitter: share content you genuinely believe is helpful and useful for readers, and be generous: share content from around the web. It’ll make your profile a go-to account for industry information.
- Build Circles that touch on all the fields pertaining to your business. Google+ provides generic Circles, such as Friends and Acquaintances, but you can also create a Circle for anything you want. If you’re in Cloud computing, build a Cloud circle and add people with similar interests. You’ll have a built-in group of colleagues and collaborators.
- In all the brouhaha about Circles, remember Sparks! Characterized as a socially styled Google Alert, Sparks provide easy to access multichannel updates on your favorite topics. A rich source of competitive intelligence, industry trends, and ideas for blog posts, Sparks are one of the handiest marketing research tools social media offers.
- Look at who’s got you in their Circles. Potential partners, employees, and clients might be finding you on the network.
The industry is hearing that Google+ business pages are coming soon. Companies that will make the most of this social media channel, as with Facebook and Twitter, will be the ones that have authentically engaged on it as individuals, and marketing teams that understand the unspoken rules and best features of the platform. Be ready to leverage Google+ for your organization by laying a solid groundwork.