One predominately untapped resource in online marketing today is Google Plus. While many have considered Google Plus a failure, including contributors at Forbes, Mashable and MSN Money, few have realized the true potential of this platform.
As of now, the late adopters have decided it’s better to employ the excuse of lacking the resources than attempting to dominate the field and create barriers to entry for the competition.
So how do you build your brand, customer engagement and a following on Google Plus? Read on and get started today.
Utilizing a New Media to Convey a Message
The key element of social media success with businesses is the ability to create and engage with a targeted community of current and potential customers. And, with the Google Plus Hangouts feature, businesses can derive unmatched value through connecting with customers and developing relationships that can provide real value to the end user – something that should be the goal of every business.
With Hangouts, entrepreneurs or marketing professionals can offer real-time customer service, how-to videos, employee and customer commentary and anything else to offer a more personal experience.
Hangouts have also opened the door to out of the box opportunities. For example, Veterans United Home Loans has taken a strong Hangouts strategy, even to the point of providing the world’s first Google Plus virtual career fair, all through the Hangouts feature.
Google Plus Communities
Google Plus communities might hold the largest benefit for those looking to establish their brand as a thought leader in an industry. Start by joining a community that matches the expertise of your brand, and then study that community. Find out what they are talking about. What interests them? What questions is the community raising? Can you bring a solution to a common problem? It’s an easy way to stay on top of trends or, in some cases, study the competition.
After you’ve learned the ins and outs of a community, it’s time to start a conversation. Create content targeted to your community, utilize your expertise to solve a problem or give advice. Continue by contributing to the discussion on a topic – even if you didn’t post it.
This is relationship building my friends. We’ve all done it in some form or another, and with Google Plus Communities, you can do it by posting or even through face-to-face meetings with Hangouts. Try and do that through Twitter and Facebook.
Future Search and Branding Benefits
We all know that social media and search strategies are colliding, a trend that will continue in 2013. Google Plus is no exception. Possibly the most important feature linked directly to Google Plus is authorship markup.
Even now, a multitude of Google’s search results are accompanied by the headshot of the author – the current feature of marking up your content with rel=author; however, this is the beginning stages of a principle known as “AuthorRank”.
AuthorRank is a principle as of now, but the patents and premise are in line for allowing authors to rank for the topics they write most about. Basically imagine having your own personal tag cloud, all stemming from your Google Plus. Now is the time to start establishing yourself as a content creator in your industry. It will pay off in the future.
Lastly, if branding with Hangouts and Communities or the increased search benefits aren’t your concern, then think about integration. Google Plus is integrated with almost every Google product. From Google Places to YouTube, interaction through Google Plus is getting to the point of required.
About the Author: Sarah Hill is the 38th most followed person on Google + and Content Producer for Veterans United Home Loans – the nation’s leading dedicated provider of VA Loans. Connect with Sarah on Google+ or Twitter.