Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hey marketers, now is the time to dance with Google+

We open up our social media site every morning when we wake up. We talk about social media at companies or schools. With no doubt, social media is part of both our private and work lives. Every brand has built up its facebook fanpage or twitter account already. From the marketing standpoint, at the time Google launched Google+, many of us all recognized that social media is not a fad. In fact, social media might change our ways of communication and create a greater impact for individuals and business than we thought.

Why should a company build up a facebook fan page?

As a marketer, your answer might be “ Well, it’s a great two-way communications system for my brand and consumers” or “ It’s another way to spread the message out and generate a buzz.” But when we go deeper to find ROI, we often get stuck at the number of fans, the fan page traffic, or likes, comments and sharings of a post. The question I want to ask is who are your followers? When more brands jump into social media for marketing purposes, we have to look for a more sophisticated way to engage with consumers. By doing that, we will know our consumers and followers better.

Google+ probably could help you

What is interesting about Google+ is its “Circle” and “Hangout” features. We add friends into different circles named by our own social behavior. Brands can do that as well. Using circle, marketers have more ideas about the demographic variables of their followers. In return, marketers could send out specific messages to different circles. For example, Radio Shack used to post branding-oriented messages on its facebook page. Now, if Radio Shack manages its G+ circles based on areas, it can use G+ to post local stores’ promotion messages to different circles.

“Hangout” is another interesting feature marketers should definitely try. I used to hold blogger gatherings for one of my clients. One time, we wanted to stream the gathering online to boost more buzz on the internet. We were having a hard time finding an appropriate platform for this idea. Hangout has low barriers to entry and is a user-friendly tool for marketers to engage with consumers globally at a low cost.

Another reason I recommend you to join G+ is that Google has integrated G+ into its search engine. You might have noticed that every time you google something, there is a “personal results” pop up on the upper bar of the page. Moreover, the links, images, videos shared from your friends will be marked and show up on your search results.

Google+ can help brands to find more customer data, or deliver messages in a better visual way. But first, you have to activate a G+ account and start to dance with it a bit to feel its magic!

*Li-Chia Huang is a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC marketing program and is specializing in marketing, branding and social media. Follow at @Lycahuang0621.

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