At the forefront of this evolution is Google+, a platform specifically engineered to promote real time social networking as opposed to asynchronous text based communication. This means your business can connect to its customers on a more uniquely intimate and personal level than ever before.
This new layer of social is called “Human Media” and the sooner your business embraces it the sooner you can grow your following not only horizontally but vertically. It doesn’t matter how wide your social media branches reach if they’re not anchored at the roots with engaged customers.
Google+ is about nurturing a customer base – the roots of a business.
A Google Hangout is a group video chat platform that lives within the social network of Google Plus. Hangouts allow for face-to-face communication via webcam and connect users more deeply than a text based social media post.
Hangouts can be private allowing up to 10 people to join in on the conversation, or can be broadcast through what’s called “Hangout on Air.” This feature offers the ability to stream live on YouTube for anyone to watch. After the session, that Hangout automatically records to your YouTube channel so you can share the link later.
Show and Tell
Users who host and participate in Hangouts are essentially harnessing the power of a free broadcasting tower.
This “broadcasting tower” allows for many options, including how-to classes, industry interviews, product demonstrations or for a more outside of the box approach, check out the world’s first virtual career fair from Veterans United.
Google+ is free, providing the ability to grow a video archive for a wide variety of subjects at minimal expense – directly translating into cost-efficient marketing.
Creating an Organic Presence
Perhaps one of the most important results from a Google+ campaign is a bump in your search engine ratings.
This increase stems from the thousands of results that can be produced by marking up your content with authorship tags – essentially claiming your works and giving you a snippet in search results containing a picture, the number of circles you are in and other works you have produced.
For individuals, you can use a rel=author tag; however, businesses will want to use the rel=publisher tag connecting your business page to your website.
Google recently rolled out a new “Communities” feature that serves as the yellow pages of social networking.
Communities make it easy for businesses to search for other people with similar interests and connect with these users on a one-to-one level. Combine Communities with Hangouts and you have a global, face-to-face virtual trade show where people can use their webcams to go from booth to booth.
Being able to realistically, efficiently, and effectively take the time to truly connect with your customer and client base is nothing short of innovative. People love it when you slow down for a second to talk to them face to face on a personal level.
Engaging more deeply with your customers gives you a competitive edge against passive marketers because your customers also have their own social platforms on which to share their experiences with your company.
In a world where technology is outdated almost as soon as it’s released, businesses and their marketing practices need to be able to adapt quickly in order to survive. And, even though Google+ has been around for more than a year, is still in its infancy.
Adopting this product early can establish a greater presence more quickly before everyone catches wind of how much the Google+ platform will change the landscape of online marketing. The ideal time to establish your presence on Google+ is right now. So what are you waiting for? Embrace the Human Media movement. Connecting with people face to face in real time is a huge plus.
Sarah Hill is the Chief Storyteller for Veterans United Home Loans.
Image Credit: Scott Schaefer