Since Google + Business Pages came out, there has been a clamoring and a clangoring of businesses shuffling to get onto the social network and “interact” with customers and potential customers. And while, right now, there may not be as many people on Google + as there are on Facebook, a recent report by BrightEdge reveals that more than half (61%, in fact) of top brands jumped on the Google + bandwagon and created profiles within the first week of the brand pages existing.
This, despite many social media experts getting their signals crossed and being unable to provide a definitive answer about whether brands should be on Google + yet or not (companies like HubSpot say yes, others say what’s the point if there’s no one else on Google + to interact with yet). While Google + may not be wildly popular with average people (but incredibly popular with techies and, apparently, brands!) – it is true that Google + pages will begin to impact search results for those signed into their Google accounts who are following brands on Plus. The motivation is clearly there for businesses to join the social network – but the question is, how do you turn simple motivation into action and active engagement?
The fact is, if you are a big company with a great deal of notoriety, it’s easy for you to join Google + and have people “Circle” you. So many people are interested in interacting with big companies via hangouts that they will quickly flock to their pages. But what about smaller companies? How are they to maximize their Google + existence(s)? Especially when, according to the report, “top consumer brand stalwarts like Coke, McDonalds and Verizon had only dozens of fans, all just a shadow of the millions of Facebook fans these brands have already connected with” and “over two dozen of the top 100 brands had zero Google + fans at the time of this report” (while on Facebook, over two dozen have over one million likers!) If the big guys are having trouble, what hope is there for the medium and smaller guys?
The BrightEdge Report
Enough conjecture and rambling – let’s get down to the reason we’re here – the BrightEdge Report.
At the time that BrightEdge compiled this report, 61% of top brands had created pages on Google + (since Nov. 7). 93% of these brands have Facebook pages. The report also claims that Google is the only brand that has a Google + page but no Facebook page (but wait –what’s this? https://www.facebook.com/Google). That being said, Google’s Google + page has over 50,000 fans, according to the report, numbers to which no other brand on the new social network come even a little bit close.
I think the next fact is incredibly telling: “Only 12% of top 100 brands that have Google + pages have linked to it from their home page.” Could this be a sign that brands are still unsure about the viability of Google +? Maybe they don’t think about putting the badge on their home pages because they’re less concerned about engaging customers, and more concerned about affecting the search engine results page? Or maybe, many of these brands simply have not gotten around to it yet. The report then pits Google + pages against Facebook pages, noting: “53% of top 100 brands link from their home page to their Facebook page.” I feel like a broken record saying this again, but there are 800 million people on Facebook. If you are a large, nationally recognized brand, you are more likely to gravitate towards the large, nationally recognized social network (at least for now, right?!).
Tips for Creating and Leveraging A Successful Google + Page
When building your Google + page, make sure to use language that is consistent with the rest of your branding and marketing language, and that pitches your company to people in the most brief way possible (the “tagline” for your business should be short, sweet, descriptive and should draw people in). Also, make sure your image is a clear and appropriate representation of your company. Once you have built up your page, filled out all your info, added some pictures, and shared some content, “promote your page” by having all company employees share it on their Google + streams (and other social networks). If your employees don’t have Google + accounts – change that. Everyone should be participating, as getting your brand page off the ground is truly a group effort.
Direct people across all of your mediums (your website, your Facebook and Twitter accounts and your blog posts) to circle you on Google +, to respond to comments or answer questions on Google +, etc.
As soon as you get enough followers and garner enough interest, try to hold a hangout with those interested in your business – and make sure the people involved are at the top tier of your management hierarchy. If you are a creative-based company, host hangouts among fans and your designers, writers, etc – let people pick the collective brain of those behind your company’s creative output. Don’t make a commercial, though (like the Muppets reportedly did, in the first hangout ever held by a business page) – make sure you are truly talking about what people want to be discussing with you, and let them actively participate in the conversation.
Use your Google + page like it’s any other form of social media – which means, continually updating it (never just create a page and leave it alone thinking its existence is enough – it’s 2011 people, get with it!), respond to those talking about your company on Google +, and be engaging. Try to create value for your page by answering people on other social networks – like Twitter, and then directing them to Google + for a more comprehensive response/a blog post on the topic, etc.
Let Us Know What You Think!
Update on Google +: 11-21-11
Google has added group chat to the social networking mix, giving one’s Google + home page almost the feel of “G Chat” – except, this allows you to chat with more than just your email contacts. You can chat with your connections on Google+. Further, you can do so with multiple people (remember when Facebook released this back in July?).
Also interesting is that, on the right side of the page, you can also find what’s trending on Google + (much like you can see what’s trending among hashtags on Twitter).
These seem to both be positive and user-friendly changes. We’ll keep you updated as more improvements on Google + become evident!
Looking for more information about Google +, or about social networking as a whole? Looking to learn about SEO and its impact on the search marketing landscape? Check back with our blog on a regular basis for free tips and news items. With questions more directly related to your business, give our Atlanta SEO company a call at 770-481-1766.