Building a Business on Google Plus

As mentioned above, Scott Monty is another key player in the social media industry to watch.  His work as head of social media for Ford has been groundbreaking in many ways, especially in his hyper-proactive testing of new platforms and paradigms in the social and digital realms.  You can read a great article on his work by Zachary Rodgers at ClickZ, Ford and Google Plus in which there are a number of great tips for businesses, including the potential use/importance of the Huddle feature on Plus:

 

Scott Monty, Ford’s head of social media, said the Ford-initiated “Huddle” on Google+ could allow up to 10 people to chat with some Ford executives about future initiatives. He described Huddle as one of the site’s most promising early features for brands.

“The Huddle chat capability has potential for webinars, analyst calls, even customer service [uses] for people to have a face-to-face experience of the brand.”

The article also points out that official brand pages within Plus are on the horizon:

 

Google has confirmed brand profiles are in the offing, at least for small to mid-sized businesses. In a comment posted to the blog of Mike Blumenthal, a marketing and technology consultant, Google Commerce and Local Jeff Huber wrote, “Yes, we will have (smb) business profile pages on Google+. I can’t announce a launch date yet, but we want to make them *great*, and we’re coding as fast as we can.”

A primary focus here is to TEST NOW.  Individuals tasked with trying out new digital/social tools should be building pages for their personal brand as a means to test what will work for their organization and clients.

Fifty Ideas for Google Plus

Chris Brogan is Internet-famous for a reason. To use my Boston parlance (where Chris is also from), he’s “wicked smart  His ruminations on half a hundred tips and ideas around Google Plus is a must read.  Some top tips for businesses:

 

  • (Idea #6) If Google+ starts influencing Page Rank (meaning, if a link shared on G+ is weighted more than others), it’s game on for SEO/SEM.
  • (Idea #11) A standalone Google+ Apps version plus Google Docs = a very powerful business collaboration environment that would trump most white label social enterprise tech easily.
  • (Idea #20) The photo display interface in Google+ is stunning, adding to my thought that this would be an amazing media platform. The moment G+  opens up accounts for businesses full throttle, you’ll hear big news plays about this platform.
  • (Idea #23) Google+ is perfectly configured to run social customer service, if only it allowed baked-in search capabilities akin to search.twitter.com.
  • (Idea #31) If you enable location on your mobile device, G+ creates circles by “nearby,” thus allowing for instant location-centric social networks.
  • (Idea #45) Ford is already investigating the heck out of Google+. Location data plus Places plus users’ friends’ data make for a rich marketing profile, and some really useful tools.
  • (Idea #48) Small businesses would benefit from an integration of Places, Pages and Google Plus. That whole social customer service movement? Pow. Done. Easy.
  • (Idea #50) The notion of “trending topics” would be exponentially more valuable inside of Google+, depending on how the algorithms reflected this.

NFC in Google Plus

Finally, as an Augmented Reality enthusiast (fine, I’m obsessed with it), it’s important to note ReadWriteWeb’s article on why Google included Near-Field-Communication (NFC) technology in an android application using Plus.  As Sarah Perez notes in her article, Why is NFC in the Google Plus Android App:

 

The blog AboutFoursquare.com recently found that the Android application offers a feature called “Google Check-ins,” accessed by tapping the checkmark icon on the “Stream” page of the Android app. This feature is built on top of Google’s location-based service Latitude, which introduced check-ins in February, but lacks the Latitude branding, it seems. Users who check in by way of this service can post that check in directly to their stream on Google Plus, limiting its visibility by Circles (groups), if desired. Google Check-ins would be Google’s direct counterpart to Facebook’s Places, and could easily be NFC-enabled in the future.

What this means is that the actions you take using NFC (buying coffee at Starbucks, checking in to a location, etc.) can be mirrored into your Streams/Circles on Google Plus.  From an advertising perspective, this means Google could be trying to compete with Facebook’s Sponsored Stories platform that lets brands take posts from your Facebook page and use them as the basis of ads throughout the Facebook network.  It also means that when you purchase via NFC, you could eventually let certain circles know about those purchases, where relevant (if you, for instance, set up your “Family” Circle to be just for you and your spouse to watch your household spending).

 

Go Test

There’s enough interest in the platform to merit you trying out Plus as soon as possible.  Facebook launching Skype may limit the usage of Plus’ Hangout Feature (where you can start your webcam and invite people from your circles, or watch a YouTube video with a group of people – see my picture below where I ended up alone for my limited trial), but the SEO factor of Plus means brands and individuals alike cannot toss Plus off like you may have done with Google’s earlier social efforts.

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Catherine Sullivan is director of communications.