Labcast: The Best Ways to Use Google+ for Your Business
In our latest episode of Labcast, Jesse Stay, social media and technologies consultant and author of the brand new book Google+ for Dummies, gives us his insights into this relatively new social media tool.
Brendan: Hello again, everyone, and welcome to this episode of Labcast. I’m Brendan Cournoyer, and today we are joined by a social media technologies consultant, Jesse Stay. Jesse, how are you doing today?
Jesse: I’m doing great, Brendan. It’s great being here.
Brendan: Jesse, now you’re also the CEO and Chief Architect at Stay N’ Alive productions, and you do a lot of work around social media marketing, social media strategies. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about the relative newcomer on the block in terms of social media and that’s Google+. So I guess the first question for you is: what do you like about Google + in terms of social media marketing for B2B companies?
Jesse: Well, the huge advantage to Google+ is that it’s Google. We’re seeing it more and more, over and over again, as they slowly start to integrate Google+ into every product that they own. Just today, for instance, I found out that Google is now requiring new users of Google and new account users to have a Google+ and Gmail account as part of their Google account if they’re going to create one. So Google’s now requiring users to have Google+ as they join.
At the same time, just recently Google launched Google Search with Friends which enables those with Google+ accounts to see their friends on Google+ and the posts of their friends in the Google search results. It appears just right with the normal search as with every other search entry on Google. So now being on Google+ as a business is advantageous as a search engine optimization strategy in addition to a social strategy. So, there are huge advantages to being on Google+ as a business right now.
Brendan: You touched on a few points right there that I want to get a little more detail on. The first is as far as being on Google+ as a business, when Google+ first launched it was purely for individuals for personal purposes. Then later on, they allowed the functionality for companies to have their own business pages there. What can you tell us about your perspective as far as from social media marketing standpoint, the difference between your personal Google+ page towards a company branded Google+ page?
Jesse: Certainly. The personal Google+ account is intended to be you as an individual. In fact, it’s against their terms of service to be an anonymous person under a pseudonym with a traditional Google+ profile with a few slight exceptions. You want to use your personal Google+ account as representing you as a person. So this is an opportunity that the personal Google+ account from a marketing perspective is an opportunity to expose people within your business.
If your CEO were to have an account, it would be a great way to provide a transparent element around how your CEO is leading the company. Or maybe, you have an evangelist of sorts that represents the company and they could represent your company and provide evangelism and provide an internal view to the company which makes it a much more personal view into the company. So that’s how you would use a personal account.
At the same time, the personal account can be used with Google+ hangouts which are Google’s live video chat that allows up to ten people to chat in person live with each other. Then you can even have people watch the broadcast of that as it’s happening and chat at the same time. So there’s an opportunity for you to use your personal account within Google+ hangouts as well as to chat with individuals.
Now for the business account, it is like a personal account. You set it up. It looks a lot like a personal account. It’s set up by a personal account that becomes an admin of that business account. Then that business account can circle other individuals, and circling in Google+ is the equivalent of following on Twitter or liking on Facebook would be the other equivalent. And so, that business account can circle other people.
I think you’re only allowed to circle people that have circled you, but they’re are great ways with that as a business account you can create separate circles that you can target messages to and you can do that with a personal account, too. You can set up your own hangouts with the business account that bring in individuals from your business into the experience. A business account is going to be a lot more limited, but it’s a great way to represent your brand as a more anonymous entity than the personal account, if that makes sense.
Brendan: It makes perfect sense. You raised an interesting point when you talked about the targeted messaging you can do via circles, and you also do some parallels to Facebook which I find interesting because certainly when Google+ first launched much more so than Twitter, much more so than LinkedIn, I found it seemed very Facebook-esqe in the way it was set up.
It seemed to have a lot more in common but what I found and what I still find to some extent, and I’m interested in your take, is that the majority of people that I engage with on Google+ are there even when they’re talking personally, they’re there with more of a business drive objective – lots of marketers, lots of entrepreneurs, and people like that – rather than Facebook where generally it’s just friends, relatives, everyone’s on it obviously, but the way you engage seems to be very different. Have you found that Google+ has become much more popular for more business minded folks?
Jesse: Definitely. Google+ has a different audience than Facebook, and you’re going to need to take a slightly different strategy than you do on Facebook. Now the strategies you take are going to be somewhat similar to a Facebook page in that you want to engage your audience. You want to get them conversing and commenting and +1’ing the posts which would be the equivalent to a Facebook like. But beyond that, your audience is going to be different.
Facebook is generally a much more personal audience. When you’re targeting on Facebook, you’re targeting people and their close family and friends. Whereas on Google+ you are targeting, as you mentioned, you are targeting a much more professional and business oriented audience. Google+ has a somewhat weighted group of photographers, for instance, as one of their audiences.
Brendan: Yes, definitely. I’ve seen that, too.
Jesse: I think it’s just a great opportunity for some of these small businesses out there to get a little more attention towards their brand and to show their expertise and what they can do and how they can do. I think the consulting realm, the professionals that have specific expertise like photographers, for instance, are a typical audience for Google+. At the same time you’re starting to see more and more celebrities joining Google+ as well as journalists.
So, in many ways the audience at Google+ is going to be a lot more similar to the audience of Twitter than it will Facebook. So your audience is going to be different. Your strategy of posting may be similar, but your audience and your target demographic is going to be much different that Facebook.
Brendan: That’s a good point, too. I think that’s definitely what I was trying to articulate there where the audience does seem very Twitter-esque yet the format and setup seems very much like Facebook and put it together and this is what you have. Still, at the end of the day, there are a lot of people who aren’t doing it. When it first came out there was that feeling of oh, okay, now here’s another social platform we have to worry about and that kind of thing. Then there’s some people I talk to who just plain don’t like it. Is there anything you don’t like about Google+ or anything that you hope they improve upon as far as the platform from a business perspective?
Jesse: From a business perspective, I would like to the see the ability of more international support. Facebook has great international support and this will be more applicable to the larger corporation, larger business, than it will small but still could apply to small business in that Facebook allows you to target to specific locales, specific languages and specific groups of people around the world. Google+ offers circling but you have to select who you want to circle, whereas Facebook will automatically detect the languages that people have set in their settings and you can target towards that. That would be a great feature for Google+ to add.
At the same time, I think they could really benefit. Facebook has really embraced their platform to enable custom tabs. They’re really links on the left now where you can create customized experiences within your Facebook page as well as welcome pages that appear when you go to the Facebook page that you can customize and create your own. It involves you having to have a developer or just a little bit of HTML experience to do, but having the ability to customize these pages would be very useful for Google+ as well. I think specifically for that audience I think it would be really beneficial to be able to just customize that experience a little bit.
Just recently Google+ has allowed multiple admins to be added to a Google+ page. That used to be a problem, you could only have one admin, but now that’s not a problem. So that’s a great thing. There’s one more though that I think would be really beneficial that would put them ahead of Facebook even if they could do and that is allowing different types of roles amongst admins. So for instance, maybe I have full admin access, but I have someone else who I only want to be able to publish new posts to the page and I don’t want them to do anything else. I should be able to say this person is a publisher.
Then maybe, I have another person who I want to just be able to moderate comments and be able to delete trolls and stuff like that. That person, I should be able to set as a moderator and nothing else so that they can’t update my images or publish new posts or anything like that – they’re just there to help moderate. I think that would be really beneficial on Google+ not to mention Facebook, but I’d love to see that anywhere I can.
Brendan: Sure, no, definitely. It’s cool filling us in on some of those features. Like I said, a lot of people really haven’t gotten their feet wet yet and as we know Google is always trying to improve everything it puts out. There are always new updates, so it’s interesting to kind of find out as the platform matures some of the different things you can do with it.
Obviously, the one thing that we’ve sort of touched upon but haven’t really looked at yet as far as Google+ goes is that what is Google really when you bring it right down to it. It’s a search engine and we’ve talked a little bit about it. But obviously, one of the big things when Google + first launched was what’s going to be the SEO impact in regular search about posts that are tagged +1, posts that are from people in your circles, all these different things. Have you done a lot of research and what can you tell us as far as the SEO impact of Google + in terms of the results and page rankings that people find when they search in Google?
Jesse: Well, it’s still very brand new. It was only launched a couple of weeks ago so there aren’t a whole lot of research studies out there at the moment. From my experience, I’ve seen that if your brand has a Google+ page and my friends have +1’d a particular post on your brand’s page and it has to do with the thing I’m searching for on Google, it will rank higher than many of the other posts generated by computer algorithm that Google is doing. It’s not consistent. I’m not sure exactly how they rank that with the other static content out there.
Brendan: Sure. I’ll set it sometimes number one. Sometimes, it’s down in the middle of the page, but it draws your eye because you have the thumbnails for whatever the avatars of the people who have +1’d it and stuff like that. That’s certainly affects clicks. I certainly feel more encouraged to click on something when I see that.
Jesse: Certainly, and in many ways it doesn’t 100% matter where it appears on the page as long as it’s on that first page it appears. The other thing I’ve noticed as well on top of that is that, and this I have proven, is that when you post something on Google+ that has to do with the things that a person’s friends are searching for, it appears within about 30 seconds within the Google search results, whereas for traditional static content, depending on what it is and how quick the Google bot indexes the content, it can be anywhere from minutes after that to even 30 minutes after that for that content to appear. So, it’s much more real time. So, if you need things to be appearing immediately in search results, Google+ is a great strategy for approaching that.
Brendan: Very cool. Well, Jesse, I really appreciate you taking the time. Before we wrap things up, I want to give you the opportunity to tell us a little bit more about yourself, some of the work you are doing, and of course, where some of our listeners can go to find more from you and for more information.
Jesse: Certainly. My full-time experience; I’m actually helping the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at the moment with their social strategy, and there’s some really incredible challenges with that. It’s a worldwide organization with international needs, one of the largest charitable organizations in the world. I serve the Mormon Tabernacle Choir within that, and so there’s a Grammy award winning organization that I work with. So a lot of really fun challenges I work with on that.
But I do a ton of stuff on the side, and that’s where Stay N’ Alive productions comes in. I’m helping numerous clients at the moment. My specific expertise is within the social design area. What I try to do is I try to show people how they can build social experiences within the products that they’re building. Instead of just adding like buttons and share buttons within your products, how can you bring a person’s friends into your product? How can you have a person when they’re there seeing their close friends and family in that experience? And as they do that they naturally want to share more, they naturally want to interact with that content more and stay on the site longer. So, those are the types of things I help companies with at the moment.
Of course, I just finished Google+ for Dummies. That’s my most recent project. You can buy it on Amazon, and just before that I released a book that will really cater to both marketing and developers. It talks in a very simple manner about Facebook development. It’s called “Facebook Application Development for Dummies”.
Brendan: Very cool. Thank you very much again. We’ll certainly provide links for our listeners and readers where they can go to find more information and thank you. Hopefully we can do this again sometime soon.
Jesse: It’s my pleasure. Thank you, Brendan.