I guess these tools are still too new for me to have a firm grasp on their full capabilities so I won't get into any details about my experience using them - yet, but they sure are being discussed by a lot of social media marketing professionals around the Web. Some firms are adding them to their social media marketing packages, and from the looks of things - It is a pretty smart move.
I have been using the tools much more lately and I'm really starting to understand where Google is going with this. They are not quite there yet, but with just a few more features and improvements, I can envision Google taking the wheel to drive social media to an entirely new plane.
Here are my thoughts so far...
Google+ Usage for Businesses
In expanding its campaign to allow you to "connect with all the things you care about," Google announced its addition of Google+ to Google Apps. Then, after months of teasing the market by strictly allowing user pages, Google+ has now released a business expansion tool that has the potential to revolutionize advertising. These are both serious steps that enable Google to compete in the social media-marketing arms race that is currently sweeping the Internet.
Its current applications allow businesses to communicate face-to-face with their potential consumers. The main impact on the marketing industry will be its development of communication and promotional tactics, and methods of measuring effectiveness. However, some social media experts are a little underwhelmed by its current applications. Overall, this article will look at Google+ business page applications, its potential benefits for small and large businesses, and its place in the race to the top of the social media-marketing ladder.
The new Google+ business pages expansion permits businesses to communicate with the consumer on a much more personal level by implementing posts, video chats, and segmented discussions to focus on specific consumer groups.
The "hangout" feature of Google+ allows businesses to communicate with both employees and consumers via one-click video chat. These "hangouts" allow instant feedback from consumers, as well as provide a medium for video conferences within the business, consisting of anywhere from one to a dozen participants. This aspect of Google+ business also implements a "follow-up" aspect, which allows businesses to see who was present at the meeting, and continue relationships with current and future consumers.
Another advanced development for Google+ business pages is its ability to let the business segment its consumers and construct messages specifically catered to them. These circles allow users who follow your business to discuss your products or services in a forum-like fashion for open discussion. Businesses can also address certain circles based on type, which could include employees, business partners, or consumers.
The second major wave of innovation that Google+ business pages proposes are "badges" and "direct connect' capabilities that are designed to make promotion of businesses more efficient.
The implementation of Google+ badges allow businesses to connect their Google + account to their website. By adding the badge to their site, users can click the + icon and be linked to their Google + page. From this, users can then view the company's page, join its circle, and view other content. This development is important for consumers because it unifies the traffic they can calculate from their own website, as well as other sites mentioning the business, blog posts, and its Google + page.
The "direct connect" aspect of Google + business pages is still being developed, however given the volume of users that Google receives as a search engine, the ability to directly link them to your business can increase your site's traffic exponentially. These methods of segmented analysis are prominent advancements in social media marketing because they allow businesses to develop specialized marketing schemes that cater to individual consumers.
Lastly, Google+ business pages plans to release more integrative methods of measurement to determine what ads reach consumers most effectively.
One integral facet of Google+ business pages will be its measurement application. This allows for the businesses to see who is searching for information about your business, how they spread information about your business, and what messages led them to discover your business. This aspect of business pages will take the longest to efficiently implement into the service, but it will be one of the most important factors to persuade businesses to adopt Google+ over other web advertising services.
Google will thrive in its incorporation of the most widely used worldwide search engine into their service. Allowing businesses to be accessed straight from the Google search engine by adding a "+" sign to the name of the business will promote instant access by consumers without the risk of losing them somewhere in cyberspace. The new business service also flaunts its cooperation and implementation of YouTube into its video-conferencing and video blogging services. In this area, Facebook and Twitter lack the big-name backing of an online streaming video content giant such as YouTube, which may cause business to adopt Google + business pages in the long run.
Undoubtedly, the future of Google+ and its business application is very bright. However, in its current state, there are some drawbacks that Google+ business pages present. Right now, only one person can monitor the businesses Google + page, which means that there has can only be one login name. This is troublesome for larger businesses that may have multiple people monitor their social media pages during an average day.
Secondly, Google+ business pages cannot "+1" other pages or their own page. This would be detrimental to businesses that utilize affiliate-marketing strategies, which are seen as substantially beneficial to online marketers.
Lastly, and probably most fixable, there is little to no verification aspects in the creation of Google+ business pages. Some social media analysts assume that this will be fixed in the near future when the badges application of Google+ is more developed, allowing Google+ pages to sync with the webpages of businesses.
Overall, Google promises to include users in all of its development stages for their new Business Pages to ensure satisfaction. While these applications evolve and become more centralized in the interface of Google+, its benefits will allow it to compete rigorously with the current social media market leaders such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
As with any emerging Internet marketing service, it is important to jump on the bandwagon quickly and learn the applications of the service as it develops. When this service takes off it will be tough for businesses to make up lost time while competing with other businesses. With all of these proposed applications in mind, is it reasonable to assume that Google+ will be a driving force in social media marketing in the future.
Google has been releasing some of the best APIs ever for Google+. At Isis Toolbox - Social Media Marketing Tools we plan on incorporating them all into our free tools so stay tuned for the announcement.