If you’re at all active in social and digital media, you’ve by now heard that there’s a new game in town: Google+. And if you’re not active, you haven’t heard – and you’re probably not going to jump on the bandwagon for a little while. Sure, there are more than 20 million users in Google+ already, but they’re mostly early adopters, techies and communications professionals. The masses of grandparent and college students, and your high school sweetheart, probably have not yet made the leap from Facebook.
However, Google+ is clearly shaping up to be an important platform for marketers. Most brands already have a strong Google presence – think about all those listings you work so hard to generate in their search engine, and many of you probably also have a YouTube presence. Some may even have a Google local listing, and maybe you also pay for ads. It’s not going to come as a shock to you that Google will almost certainly give brands with Google Plus presences a well-placed listing in relevant search results.
But not just yet. Google+ has been actively discouraging (and even deleting) accounts from brands. They say there’s an official brand type of page coming, so they’re not letting companies have presences just yet. So you’ll have to wait a while before you can get really excited about it.
In the meantime, here are a few likely plusses to consider about Google+; mind you, this is based on current info about the consumer pages, and I’m speculating that these things will carry through to brand pages as well.
- Google+ is, in its default setting, public. That means that all that good content you create will likely be available to all your customers, not just those on Google+. So it’s a bit like Twitter in that way, and that’s going to be good for your search engine visibility, too (if you do it well).
- There are easy-to-use options to share your posts more privately with different groups of people (though it remains to be seen if this feature carries through, and how it can be easily managed, for company pages).
- Google+ posts allow for much longer form than Twitter, and longer than Facebook – in fact, there’s no limit to the length of a G+ post. So you can treat it as a mini-blog for your brand. (But don’t go overboard!)
- Threaded conversations, like those on Facebook, allow for more interaction and engagement.
- You can choose to turn comments on or off for a post, which might be great for important company news, recall information, etc. – but could be a slippery slope, because social media is, well, social, and people have come to expect engagement.
- It’s easy to integrate a Picasa account for photos and YouTube for video. (This might be a problem for some brands, though, who already use Flickr as a primary photo platform.)
It’ll be exciting to see what Google+ does for brands and how they roll out their company pages. For brands who already do content well, Google+ could be a huge boon. For those who are not yet in the content creation and curation game, they may very well have to get started once they have access to Google+, otherwise they may lose valuable search engine slots to companies who are on Google+ and doing it well.