Google+, what it could mean for marketers

I have been meaning to put these points as my view on how Google+ can be used to help marketers. At this moment Google+ still doesn’t support brand pages, however at some point it will and this could have different implications for brands. The beauty of Google+ is the ability to create content categories that are specific to consumers’ interests. As in this Mashable post some ad agencies give their opinion on how brands maybe able to use Google+.  If a user decided to join a specific circle on the brand’s Google+ account then he/she would receive content related to that circle, in effect giving the brand control over what messages should be broadcast to which circles. This makes it more relevant to the consumer, which encourages sharing and increases engagement.

In addition to this brands can use Hangout to connect with consumers to get face-to-face interaction. Why does this matter? Consider a product launch or an event, now with such a service brands can invite its top most advocates for a sneak peek, even conduct focus groups and make its best customers feel part of the brand’s journey. The feature at the moment only allows eight participants at a time, if this could be increased to include more participants it could definitely be a wonderful tool for different purposes. Over time it could be another way to conduct training, provide a way to educate consumers and answer questions.

Even better, this is now integrated with YouTube so a user can start a hangout around a video, bringing the concept of social TV alive even before Facebook announced this. Imagine the possibilities for a brand, not only can the brand now conduct real-time conversations, these conversations can also be made available on YouTube so anyone can watch it and carry out a discussion around it with their social networks. The potential for the increase in SEO is huge. Since people now tend to discover content and relevant content finds them through their social network this is significant for the brands.

And let’s not forget the +1 button, this is directly relevant to social recommendation, so the content that is posted on Google+ and on the web by the brand when gets +1 by a user then that user’s friends when searching for similar content will be able to see content that was publicly +1’d by that user. So, Google+ extends that concept and now with the circles concept, it makes it even easier to +1 posts that are of interest to make sure they are discovered by friends. The amplification of the content and its reach magnifies.

And Google Ripples (kind of like “People Talking About” metric on Facebook) users can discover content that is most popular on Google+. So the onus is again on creating exciting content that will find users will find interesting. This is from Google’s Official blog on Ripples, “There’s something deeply satisfying about sharing on Google+, then watching the activity unfold. Comments pour in, notifications light up, friends share with friends (who share with their friends), and in no time at all there’s an entire community around your post.”

Now, brands can see what posts are shared most often and who shares them. What this allows is for the brands to assess the engagement. And take it a step further, segment their most vocal brand advocates in a circle and target them with exclusive information on products. Research has shown that consumers more than the lure of offers follow brands to get access to exclusive information.

Then take the Creative Kit that Google+ offers users so they can create amazing pictures, so now brands can have their followers create imaginative photos and share that either as part of a contest or promotion or even to simply get consumers to engage in a proactive manner. Take for example, Starbucks with their Instagram integration on the website, now take this concept and extend it to Google+. Consumers can capture their favorite brand moments, use the creative kit to enhance them, share it on the brand page, have other Google+ users vote on it with the +1 feature, and have a means to express their brand affinity.

I think there is so much with Google+ to be explored for brands and for users. Explore the p(lus)sibilities….