What Google+ Means for Brands
The Google+ Project
Social media, beware! There’s a new kid on the block and his name is Google+. That’s right; Google recently unveiled its new social media platform– a Facebook copycat built around the concept of friend circles. The project is currently in limited Field Trial and membership is by invitation only, but its popularity is already growing exponentially and an invitation is as coveted as one of Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets.
While Google+ is nearly identical to Facebook (complete with a “stream” in the place of a newsfeed and “+1”s in the place of liking), it has one major point of difference that gives it an edge over the competition– circles. The site allows you to divide your connections into groups and share individually targeted content, which means you control exactly what information you share and with whom. Want to share the hilarious photos from last weekend’s bachelor party? There’s a circle for that. Want to post links to your updated portfolio and resume? There’s a circle for that too.
Google+ and brands
For marketers, Google+ is a dream-come-true. Its circles feature promises to be a real game changer in terms of social media segmentation. The site’s version of product pages will allow brands to target specific audiences and deliver tailored content based on each segment’s wants and needs.
In the future, Google may integrate all of its unique functionalities into a section of the product pages, for example, a Google Maps feature, to help consumers find the brand’s nearest location or retailer. Another possibility is integration with Google Analytics which would allow marketers to see the page’s results as well as the movement from Google+ to the company website, in order to measure the effect of online engagement on ROI and sales.
But don’t get too excited; all of this is still very much in the future. Currently, Google+ has shut down all non-user pages and is carefully controlling access to a beta program, available to select brands that apply. This guarantees major benefits for those who get in early, such as Ford and MTV who already have pages. But for brands that aren’t able to access the program, it means a period of waiting and uncertainty.
So if you’re one of the early birds already on Google+, consider yourself lucky, and if not, I recommend you head on over and take a tour, familiarize yourself with the site so when its non-users pages are open to the public, your brand is ready.