Business is often told that it’s a really good idea to be involved with Social Media. Countless experts, pundits, consultants and marketing companies contribute to what has become a clamourous cacophony.
There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to be involved that are simply common sense. Not the least of which is that companies, brands particularly, should listen more to their customers.
There’s much talk of the battle between Facebook, Twitter and Google+. In our view there’s room for them all, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Which platforms you’re active on depends on your business. Who are you targetting? What are your objectives?
Which brings me to Google+. Google’s nascent social offering promises to be the one Google service to rule them all. A kind of social backbone running through everything they do. From GMail to Docs, YouTube to Search each has been influenced by the rapidly growing platform. Whether or not you feel that Google+ is right for you today it’s not going anywhere. And you should be paying attention to it.
Don’t just take our word for it, already, and with a fairly immature Page offering, we’re seeing brands with high growth figures (1400% in February), impressive in a service that is less than a year old. The absolute numbers, however, are nowhere near Facebook’s; H&M enjoys just over 535k followers since their page started in early november, compared to their nearly 10m followers on Facebook. That said, their G+ activity has been limited largely to posting photos of their product line and a skim through their posts doesn’t reveal an overwhelming level of participation. You reap what you sow and they’ll get better at it.
What will be really interesting to watch is how G+ infiltrates Google’s search results. They have already introduced (in the US) what they call Search Plus Your World, which delivers an optional set of search results that includes only results influenced by your friends. But ignoring that potentially problematic product, if you’re logged into a Google account the results you see for a given set of keywords are not the same as those returned if you are not logged in. Google are already responding to what they call Social Signals.
So here’s how it works. Your business is active on Google+, your customers engage with you and you with them. So Jo Customer heads to Google (as the vast majority do) to find something. Anything. The search results they are presented with are influenced by the fact that they are engaged with you on G+. So a page that your business has liked, shared, whatever, will be given prominence over other pages. All because you have invested the time into interacting with your customers.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg that I’m sure privacy advocates, lawyers and governments will be occupying themselves with for the next ten years.
Online businesses live or die on their rankings on Google so anything that your business can possibly do to improve those rankings it should be doing, right? That doing it involves building stronger relationships with your customers is common sense.