Three Ways to Use Google+ Social Connections to Market Your Company - dummies

Three Ways to Use Google+ Social Connections to Market Your Company

By Jesse Stay

Much like Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is a form of social media which allows you to connect with others and market your product. These social connections can be very helpful when trying to gain exposure for your product or content. So, you may as well use them.

Build around people

Social design with Google+ calls for a slightly different approach from social design on social networks like Facebook or even Twitter. With Facebook and other social networks, you design around relationships. With Google+, social design focuses more on the profile — and on the people behind your content — which can make it easier to bring in other visitors. Before you know it, you’ve got some relationships growing around your brand.

Designing around people and profiles personalizes your content — which makes the visitors to your website feel that they’re in friendly territory, on a site run by real people. If they feel that way long enough and often enough, they’ll feel they’re part of a community rather than lone visitors wandering around.

Implement Author tags to ensure that users are seeing the Google+ profiles of authors behind your content. Feature profile pictures and names. Make sure users can see the owners of each piece of content very clearly.

This approach means changing the main focus of your site from content or product per se to the people who create the content or product — and if you can make that change, you’ll be on the right path toward implementing an optimal Google+ website strategy.

People will stick around longer because they see people they recognize and trust. They’ll go to your site instead of your competitors’ sites for the same reasons. They’ll find your website more easily because you’ll appear with a higher rank in search results. It’s a new way of thinking, but you ought to see results as you take this approach.

Design around social connections

Facebook is more about relationships and connections than Google+. The connections you find on Facebook tend to be much tighter — close family and (often) friends already known in real life offline. Google+ is a different kind of social network for that reason — often, the connections made there are with people the users have newly met.

However, there may be some advantages to pulling in just that type of connection: Some Google+ users feel more tightly connected to the people they know on Google+ than they do to their Facebook friends, even if their Google+ gangs aren’t made up of family and face-to-face friends! For this reason, you ought to consider integrating some design principles that make specific use of the user’s connections on Google+.

Here are some considerations to think about as you’re designing your website or (for that matter) your mobile app:

  • What types of content or products do you own that the user would find more interesting if his or her friends were viewing the same content or purchasing the same products?

  • How can you build community through adding comments that link back to users’ Google+ profiles?

  • Can you implement an activity stream that connects the various types of activity that a user’s Google+ friends have participated in on your website?

  • How can users share content back to Google+? Are you automatically sharing activities back to each user’s Google+ History private feed? Can you pull from those resources to improve the online experience that your website offers?

Always think about ways social design could improve your visitors’ experience. Be sure to A/B test — and then track results — as you develop an effective social design for your website or app. You might be surprised by what you find out.

Launch hangouts

You can add links to launch specific Hangouts from your website. Maybe you have a Hangout running, and you want to bring your visitors’ attention to it. Or perhaps you have an application you’ve created that your website’s visitors can use to interact together in a Hangout.

Google has given apps access to Hangouts to create more versatile experiences for their users in Hangouts. You can create a special link from a Hangout to your website, one that launches the Google+ Hangout with your app installed. This means you can now launch a Hangout that features a focus on your brand as its main experience.

With a brand-specific Hangout up and running, you’ve created a place where visitors can chat live, in real time, with your brand at the center of their shared experience. These relationships are as close to face to face as you can get online, which improves the community you’re growing through your website.