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21 Info@BootCampDigital.com 646-‐450-‐2267 www.bootcampdigital.com How Google’s New Social Network Can Impact CMO Briefing Your Business Google+: Facts What is it? Bottom Line Google+ had over 30 million It is Google’s social network Google+ is a site to watch, users in the first month and that includes the sharing of but for the moment was the fastest growing Facebook with the open business opportunities are social network ever. But following of Twitter. The limited. Watch for how time on the site and interface is clean, but it isn’t Google+ will send signals engagement are low. catching on just yet. to search engines The business leaders guide to Google’s social network. Google+ launched as the fastest growing social Why You Should Pay Attention Google is a huge player online, and Google search network ever. What does this mean to you? makes up 65% of the search engine market. When you combine the wealth of data that social Google+ (also known as Google Plus or G+) This CMO Briefing will get you up to speed on Google+ without networks have with Google’s business model of launched as a social networking and having to waste hours on the site, providing the most relevant ads to the right person identity service on June 28, 2011. or reading hundreds of articles. in the right place, their interest in social networks Google+ integrates many of the social We’ll cover: becomes more obvious. networking features of Facebook, while But…… connecting users to their other Google • What is Google+ Don’t rush to create a Google+ strategy just yet. properties (Picasa, Profiles, etc). • Key Features of Google • Google+ for brands is still extremely Plus and Differences vs. limited. Brands can create pages and post Google+ dominated discussions in Facebook updates, but that is it. marketing and technology circles since it • The Opportunity for • User engagement on the site is low. launched, with many arguing that it is the Marketers and Businesses While Facebook generates 7.5 hours on next big thing in internet marketing while • What to look for in site per active user per month, Google+ is others view it as another failed attempt by Google+ just 3.5 minutes. Google to enter the social networking space. • Next steps for business • The top brands on Google+ have about leaders and marketers 300k followers vs. 8 million on Twitter and This report shares the key insights you need 30 million on Facebook. to know about Google+. • Basically, people just aren’t using it yet.
info@BootCampDigital.com 646-‐450-‐2267 www.BootCampDigital.com This isn’t just Google’s version of Facebook. Google Plus isn’t just a Google version of Facebook. It is also a way for users of Google products to connect all of their properties. Consider that Google owns YouTube (video sharing), Picasa (photo sharing), Search and Blogger. Google+ is your new entry point to all of your Google properties. How Google+ Works The Growth of Google Plus Like other social networks, it is free to create a • On January 19th 2012 it was reported that Google+ account, but you need a Google account to Google+ had over 90 million users, making it create one. A Google account is also free to create, the fastest growing social network ever. and Google uses this as your single sign on for all of their web properties. • Actual usage statistics on Google+ remain low – with limited active users and low time spent Google+ is Google’s Social Network on the site. While Google continues to boast On Google+, users can: high membership numbers, independent • Connect with friends reports suggest limited actual use. • Share updates, photos and videos • On January 10, Google released "Search plus Your World", which inserts content shared on • View status updates, photos and videos posted by the people in their circles (friends + people Google+ profiles and brand pages under Web they are following) Search results. This feature was controversial, but suggests that Google+ activity could • Follow brand pages impact search results, making it interesting for • Follow the public updates of other people marketers. • Participate in “huddles” or online group video • On May 30, 2012, Google Places was replaced chat by Google+ Local, which now integrates • Connect with other Google assets (Picasa, directly with the Google+ service to allow YouTube) users to post photos and reviews of locations directly to its page on the service. • Discover popular news through sparks Additionally, Google+ Local and Maps also • Rate and review restaurants on the go with the now feature detailed reviews and ratings new Google+ Integration with Google Local from Zagat, who was acquired by Google in (think Google+ combined with Yelp) September 2011. 2
Info@BootCampDigital.com 646-‐450-‐2267 www.BootCampDigital.com Since Google+ is a relatively late entrant into social networking, they have been able to integrate the best features and functions of both Facebook and Twitter. Interface The interface on Google+ is clean, and many people prefer it to Facebook. It isn’t (at least not yet) inundated with ads. Profile A Google+ Profile is similar to a profile on other social networks. Upload your photo and basic information and get started. Once you have a profile created you will want to start adding people to your “circles” (friends) and begin to post updates and share content (similar to Facebook). Hangouts A hangout allows you to have a live video chat with random people or people in your circles. It is a big improvement over Facebook chat and can be a quick way to connect. Sparks/Explore Sparks are newsfeeds based on interests. For example I could follow a spark on social media, cars or photography. It helps me to see what people are sharing related to a specific topic of interest. The explore tab on Google+ allows you to see popular content – regardless of whether or not the poster is in your circle. 3
info@BootCampDigital.com 646-‐450-‐2267 www.BootCampDigital.com Circles Circles on Google+ are how you connect with people. On Facebook you add friends, on Twitter you have followers, on LinkedIn you have connections and on Google+ you have circles. Circles allow you to organize your friends and contacts into circles. You can then choose to share content with just one or two circles, or all of your connections. With circles your contacts are all organized making it easy to view updates from contacts in a specific circle or to share information with only a specific circle. For example, you may have circles for Friends, Family, Coworkers and Acquaintances. To add people to circles you simply drag and drop their icon into the circle. It is much easier and more visual than Facebook lists. Circles are Private One of the advantages of circles is that it is only for your management. Your friends and family can’t see which circles you have placed them in; they can only see that they are in a circle. Reciprocity NOT Required Unlike other social networks, Google+ does not require that you approve or reciprocate friendships, it just limits what people can see. Here is how it works: • I can add anyone to my circles • Anyone can add me to their circles • BUT we’ll only see the status updates that have been shared with the circles that we are in For example: • If you add me to a circle but I haven’t added you, you will only see my PUBLIC updates • If I ALSO add you to my circle, you will begin to see all of the updates that I share WITH THE CIRCLE THAT YOU ARE IN • Circles are private, so people don’t know WHICH circles you have them in, just that you have them in a circle Friendship or connections works like Twitter. You can add anyone to your circles, but you will only see their public updates if they have also added you to a circle. In this way it combines Twitter and Facebook with public following but also sharing with friends. 4
21 Info@BootCampDigital.com 646-‐450-‐2267 www.BootCampDigital.com Opportunity for Marketers: Limited but Interesting Brand Pages What You Need to Get Started The main opportunity for brands to participate on • A Google Account – You can set up a free Google+ is through brand pages. Similar to Facebook, a Google Account to get started. brand page is the representation of a business on • Create the Page – Click on “Google Plus Page Google+ for Business” or go to www.google.com/+/business/ Currently, brand pages are very limited. • Logo – 200 x 200 pixels is the standard size You can create a page with your logo, a background allowance and cover image image and complete basic information. Brands can post • Description – Which will be prominently status updates and share photos and videos. That is displayed under your Page name (consider about it. including your keywords in this for search). • 5 Photos that represent your brand – Similar No custom pages. No contests. No tabs. Nothing else. to Facebook Pages, Google Plus pages tile along the top of your page. Choose photos Google+ is still less than a year old, so it makes sense that include your branding and showcase your that they will roll out more robust features for product or service well. businesses over time. When Facebook launched they • List of Relevant Websites – You may link to didn’t have brand pages and they have spent years other relevant websites to augment your page. creating and changing the brand page presence on their • A Plan – Like any other social network, you site. should have a plan that includes what your objectives are, who you want to connect with Stay tuned for better brand pages and more robust and what you are trying to achieve. features. 5
info@BootCampDigital.com 646-‐450-‐2267 www.BootCampDigital.com Building an Audience On Google+ Much like other social networks, if you build it they probably won’t come. Social media is about community, and contributing and participating actively in the community is required for success. To build an audience in Google+, first look for opportunities to promote your Google+ page as you would with other social network accounts. Next participate and contribute. One factor that makes Google+ unique for brands is that you can’t add people to the circles of a brand Things to Remember page unless they have added you. So it is vital to encourage your fans/friends and followers to connect • Brands have Pages, People Have Profiles – with you so that you aren’t talking to an echo Just like Facebook, a profile is reserved for a chamber. person and a page is for a business. Don’t run the risk of getting blocked from Google+ Next, participate and build community. Engage and by using accounts inappropriately. participate in a relevant way to build a loyal and • People have to add you to circles first – If interested following. brands could add anyone to their circles, we would probably see lots of spam. To mitigate this a person must add a brand to their What to Post on Google Plus Pages circles before a brand can add the person to theirs. Similar to Facebook, brands can post status updates • Have a plan – Your plan should include your with links to other sites, photos and videos. As of Google+ strategy as well as how you will now, brands cannot create custom tabs or run promote your page and build an engaged contests. Build a plan that focuses on who you want audience. Always remember to link back to to reach and what content they are likely to be marketing objectives. interested in that also links back to your marketing • You can keep your circles private – If you strategies. Test and experiment to optimize your don’t want people to see which circles you content. have them in you can create private circles. You may also hide the number of people who have added your brand to their circles. Don’t Have Time? Not Interested Yet? • Analytics – Google+ has analytics for pages so you can analyze your page and posts. The reality is that Google+ doesn’t have the engagement rates that Facebook and Twitter do. So if you don’t have time, don’t worry about it. Create a page and simply leave one status update “We aren’t active on Google+ yet, but please add us to your circles to be the first to receive our updates. In the meantime we would love to connect with you on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BootCampDigital) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/BootCampDigital).” 6
Info@BootCampDigital.com 646-‐450-‐2267 www.BootCampDigital.com Google+ Really Matters Because of Search. Google continues to launch features that integrate Google+ into search engine results. Search is a key traffic driver for most businesses, so watching Google+ and getting an early start could potentially provide an advantage with Google search. Question: Implications for Search Google Plus Your World Google launched the Plus Your World search feature that directly integrates content from Google+ into search engine The BIG question is how will Google+ impact search results. Google Plus Your World allows you to see content engine results. Google already owns search and social is that people in your Google Plus Circles are sharing. This the next big frontier in online marketing. means that if people use the Google Plus Your World feature, the content that is most shared or +1ed in Google+ It makes sense that Google will include social signals will have search engine prominence. (they already do) in their search engine results rankings. Facebook social activity is behind a closed door and With the low engagement and use of Google+, this probably Google can’t access it. Google+ will give them access to isn’t very helpful to searchers just yet. what people are sharing and talking about online. Google Local Integration Google already has the +1 button on the web, which Google is now integrating local listings with Google+ pages, allows users to vote for a page or give it a +1. This is which includes ratings and reviews, plus mobile similar to liking content on Facebook. optimization. This shows that Google is serious about Google+ and it will continue to grow in importance over It makes sense that +1s will be a factor in search engine time. Local businesses should pay attention to this change results since they are essentially votes. and follow updates as the integration continues. Bottom Line As a business leader, Google+ is worth watching as search + social is the holy grail of online marketing and driving traffic to websites. Here is the bottom line: • Google+ has the power of Google behind it and can impact search. Look for updates and changes to search algorithms. • Create a page on Google+ to claim your place and allow people to add you to circles. If it does take off you’ll have a head start. 7
Info@BootCampDigital.com 646-‐450-‐2267 www.bootcampdigital.com About the Author: Krista Neher Krista Neher is the CEO of Boot Camp Digital, a bestselling author and an international speaker. As the CEO of Boot Camp Digital Krista has trained thousands of marketers and businesses on how to harness the power of social media to grow their business. Krista has over 10 years of marketing experience and has worked with companies like P&G, Macy’s, GE and the United States Senate. Krista is the author of the bestselling Social Media Field Guide and a co-‐author of a leading textbook titled: Social Media Marketing A Get Your Social Media in Shape. Strategic Approach. Krista also created one of Do you want to stay up to date the first accredited social media certification programs. on the latest in social media? Want to Learn More? We Have a Program for You! Boot Camp Digital is a training organization with a mission to help Boot Camp Digital offers a variety of online and businesses stay educated and get results from social media and digital live training programs to help you stay up to marketing. We have programs for all knowledge levels and business date -‐ www.bootcampdigital.com/training needs: We specialize in training companies of all sizes « Live two day Boot Camp in Cincinnati Ohio (quarterly) in social media. « Online Boot Camp with over 24 recorded modules to “Boot Camp Digital’s presentation and materials are learn at your own pace (available on demand) so helpful and comprehensive. After attending I feel like I have what I need to be successful. She is « Online Membership program (with the latest topics) the guru!” -‐ Carrie Phillippi, Saybrook Marketing « Custom corporate training programs Communications Still Have Questions? Contact us: www.bootcampdigital.com/training 1600 Main Street, Cincinnati OH, 45202 646-‐450-‐2267 “The class was phenomenal! Krista was able to provide step-‐by-‐ info@BootCampDigital.com step instruction in how to use social media — which tools to use to keep my website content current, how to start a Facebook fan page and how to create a blog. If you are new to social media or if you’ve been using social media, you’ll learn how to take your social media skills to the next level. I recommend the class to everyone, from small organizations to large; for businesses to non-‐profits. Everyone at any level will benefit. “ – Amy Foly, Executive Director, NAMI-‐Clermont County