Google + – What is it and how will it integrate into your marketing strategy?

Over the last couple of months, we’ve been tracking the rollout of Google’s new social network, known as Google +.  Considered by many to be Google’s response to Facebook, the new network has grown to over 20 million users in just the first few months of its existence.

Even though Google + has already grown to this many users, many of us are just starting to figure out how to integrate it into our social media marketing strategies. While there of course naysayers out there, much of the buzz surrounding Google + is pretty positive with many marketers saying it will eventually develop into the ultimate content sharing and marketing platform…more on that below.

But first off – how does Google + work and what makes it different from Facebook?

Google + is essentially the search engines latest foray into the social networking world. According to the company’s official blog:

“Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools. In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.”

Google’s basic idea is to make all of their existing products (search, Maps, Gmail and more) socially compatible. Doing so, they hope, will challenge Facebook as the leading social network.

Each profile will center on the ‘stream,’ which is essentially the equivalent of Facebook’s news feed. This stream though will be joined by four other core elements – Circles, Hangouts (video chat), Huddles (instant message) and Sparks (things you may be interested in).

One key difference and advantage Google + has over Facebook – users, through Circles, have better control over who sees the information they post. On Facebook, all of your friends see what you put online, be it they’re your friends, family, co-workers, business contacts and so on.

With Google +, you will be able to have one circle for your friends, another for family members and another for business colleagues

We all communicate differently with various people in our lives. You don’t communicate with a business prospect the same way you communicate with your mother. Google+ reflects this reality.

And that’s one distinct advantage of Google+ when sharing your content online – it allows you to target your marketing messages to the people who matter most.

Will Google+ eventually become the ultimate content sharing platform?

That remains to be seen of course but Google+ has already solved many of the inherent privacy and ‘over-sharing’ issues that make Facebook problematic. Google+ also provides a rich multimedia and discussion environment that Twitter cannot match. According to Brian Clark at Copyblogger, Google+ has been put together in a way that “…encourages, rewards and protects content sharing.”

And one more biggie – Google+ will certainly be tied into search rankings, unlike Facebook. When it comes to better search rankings, building an audience on Google+ may be the best thing you can do.

At the end of the day, Google+ is taking many of the positive attributes about Facebook and Twitter and making them better. Google has had the luxury of watching what Facebook and Twitter did wrong and making it better.

Google being very careful in its pursuit though since their first two attempts at social networking (Buzz and Wave) failed to catch on. This latest social network attempt by Google hasn’t been released to the general public just yet – it’s being dubbed as a ‘project’ and is by invitation only.

We’ll keep on the lookout for how this latest innovation from Google can play into your social media marketing strategy. In the meantime, check out a demo and see how it works for yourself!

About

Stone Reuning is President and CEO of SEO Advantage, Inc. Consulting for a wide variety of companies over the last 25 years, Stone spent the 15 years prior to founding SEO Advantage working in design and development of advanced decision support and executive information systems for some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the U.S.