Google+... that’s been around a while now hasn’t it? It’s hardly taken off as a social network but recently it seems Google have their sights set much higher than that. They know that they can’t compete with Facebook, but then they don't need to. Google are still the most used search engine in the world, they have more traffic than Facebook anyway, so why shouldn’t their social network revolve around that aspect of their platform? Well, Google have slowly been revealing that it does, and I’m here to tell you that it’s a good thing for your business.
Combined with Google+ Business Pages, the whole Google platform can deliver more for you. It only takes 5 minutes to create a page so there’s really no reason not to. But what exactly will you get out of it?
Be Found Instantly
Not only are Google+ Business Pages another great channel to broadcast your business through, they are also an instant access point for users to reach you as a brand. For example, since the business pages went online big brands like Pepsi, McDonalds and Lexus have all signed up to the service. Users who want information or the latest news from those companies merely have to type + and the name of the company into the Google search bar.
Try it out now and you’ll see that as you type instant search literally offers you the Google+ page of that business, giving users an extremely fast way to access your social stream.
Obviously, if you’ve got a page Google will find that anyway but the Google+ integration with the search engine is just so fast and slick. It’s a service only Google can truly offer within the confines of their own platform and as users become accustomed to this unique Google offering (as we have done with so many others) it could become a winning feature.
Increased Search Ranking
Perhaps the single most relevant thing that will attract those of you who still mostly think of Google as a search provider is the ability of Google+ to improve your search rankings. There’s a new system at work to integrate with Google+ and it works like this...
Say, for example, I +1 something, a page, a product, a business (the +1 system can be integrated all over the web just like a Facebook ‘like’) and then you do a search for it. Because we’re friends (hello!), on Google+ your search results will have my relevant +1’s displayed. This means that users of Google get advice from their friends without even having to ask for it. An absolutely crucial marketing tool if you have a loyal fan base, allowing it to grow by subconscious word of mouth.
Additionally a friend of codegent who knows the guys at Google rather well recently told us that your Google+ page will be (can we say artificially?) promoted up the search algorithm for searches against your brand name. Its a very easy way to boost your search position and dominance of the first page of results.
Access to Your Customers Zero Moment of Truth
There’s been a long standing phrase in the marketing world, “moment of truth”. Traditionally this was broken down into two parts; the First Moment of Truth, when a customer sees a product they like and begins to gravitate towards it and the Second Moment of Truth, when a customer attains said product and uses it, reinforcing their belief that the product was as good as they believed it to be.
This traditional concept of these two moments is 100% accurate and has been proven over billions of sales of products worldwide since the dawn of the modern advertising agency. However, thanks to the connected world we now live in Google has assessed that there is another, more important, Moment of Truth which occurs through social media and dictates a huge proportion of peoples’ spending habits. As we now do more shopping online than anywhere else this makes perfect sense, why would we go out to do research when we have the largest compendium of human knowledge just a mouse click away? Not only that, but the benefit of the experience of millions of other customers.
This, is the Zero Moment of Truth. Gone are the days when you had to get a product home and try it out or luckily come across a good tester model of it in a shop to find out it’s real value to you. Social media doesn’t just drive peoples’ lives socially, though the name may allude to that. In reality Social media drives peoples’ opinions of everything, from football matches, to movies, to physical products. So if I were to be torn between two equally popular products, between Samsung and LG for example, not knowing what to do I might look to their social media pages. If one were to have several million more fans than the other it would certainly seem that their customers had a reason for acting in such a way and alter my perception.
That’s a high level example, but it can be equally important on a small scale, for a single product or campaign behind that product. If you publish a post (and there are over a billion a day on Google+) related to your product and it catches the right eyes it will spread. Knowledge of your product will expand and the hits on both your Google+ business page and that products own page online will increase, potentially exponentially. Many users will be experiencing a Zero Moment of Truth, proof by a large body of their peers that the product is good, appreciated, interesting.
It’s impossible to emphasise the importance of this effect to you and your business but Google are helping with that one too. They’ve introduced a feature called Ripples, which allows business people, marketers and general speculators to view the effect a post had, a sort of butterfly effect on Google+. Your post flapped it’s wings here and then what? You can see where it spread, to which users, how it spread on from them and the impact it had on your site traffic.The ramifications of this type of awareness are astonishing, allowing marketers to tailor their posts to mimic their most effective campaigns.
The simplest way I can summarise is - get your business on Google+. There’s never any telling how a new service or product will pan out but Google+ has a lot to offer you right now and you shouldn’t miss out.
If you’d like to know more about the Zero Moment of Truth and how it really drives your customers then Google literally wrote the book on it, which is a free download in all the common eBook formats and can be found at www.zeromomentoftruth.com.