Using Google+ for business: Interview with Incite

By Chris Lee

Search engine giant Google’s latest foray into social networking Google+ appears to have achieved genuine traction, with more than half a billion members, nearly half of whom are active at least once a month. While the majority (70%) of organisations have set up a brand presence on the network since its inception in 2011, according to Simply Measured, the site remains something of a curio for many.

In addition, Google+’s share of social log-ins are increasing while Facebook’s are falling, and – perhaps unsurprisingly – Google’s search algorithm appears to reward the “social signals” generated by Google+ plus ones (+1s) more than Twitter or Facebook activity, according to Searchmetrics’ research.

So, with these apparently clear benefits for business, how can organisations capitalise on the potential offered by Google+? NMK caught up with Paul Thomas, director of strategic research consultancy Incite to learn more.

Making the most of Google+

According to Thomas, it has taken Google+ some time to gather any real traction and it is all very well for digital marketers to bill the network as a “must” for integrated marketing campaigns, but what should brands actually do on the site? What’s best practice?

“Isn’t [Google+] just another form of social media? This is just one of the common questions raised by clients when it comes to using digital platforms to better engage with their audiences,” Thomas told NMK.

“When you consider brands – like Sony and Cadbury – that have used Google+ effectively, we begin to see how they all followed a number of steps in order to maximise success on this particular platform,” he added. “Firstly, brands must deliver interactive, media-rich content – there’s no room for banner ads and flat, unattractive content is quickly flushed out by Google+ users.”

Secondly, Thomas argues, brands keen on the platform must make a conscious effort to get to know their audience.

“Who are your followers? Why do they follow you? What do they want from the experience? Try to understand your audience and learn about individual needs in order to maximise engagement,” he advised.

“Thirdly, create an interactive experience that’s consistent with your brand – bring your brand to life, excite, delight and where appropriate, stretch your perception. But don’t stray too far from your brands offline image; you can’t fake it until you make it,” he added.

Thomas believes brands should view Google+ as another means of getting their engaged consumer to create a buzz about their brand as well as maximise their search engine optimisation (SEO) performance.

“Embracing G+ is sure-fire way of improving your SEO and the platform makes its presence known when it comes to Google search,” he concluded.

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