Written by former LiveWorld employee, @BryanPerson.
The Google+ social network launched to great fanfare last week, and has attracted plenty of digital ink, activity, and experimentation in the 10 days since, particularly among the early-adopter crowd.
We still think it’s way too soon to draw any definitive conclusions about Google+’s place in the social media landscape, but we’re certainly keeping a close eye on it. And we think brands should, too (some, like Ford, already are!). With that in mind, here are five suggestions for how brands can approach getting involved with Google+:
1. Apply to be a Google+ business test partner
Google says it will start beta testing business pages for Google+ within two weeks and is looking for about 300 partner companies, including many brands. To be considered, fill out this short application from Google.
2. Learn the culture
At their core, social networks are about people and their behaviors. Google+ will be no different. Before you launch a brand presence on Google+, encourage some of your employees to create personal profile accounts and start exploring! Find out how and why people share content on Google+, how they connect to each other, and what they really want to talk about.
3. Test out the features
From creating Circles and participating in video-chat Hangouts to sharing photos and videos, there are lots of cool features to try out on Google+ — but some are trickier than others. Take some time putting these tools through their paces to understand how to optimize them.
4. Prepare for the customer-service implications
The culture of social media is transforming customer service, and fans and customers routinely reach out to brands on Facebook and Twitter now when they have a question, complaint, or service issue. We should expect similar behavior on Google+.
Once your brand launches a formal page or presence on Google+, you should be prepared to engage and respond to people from the get-go. How will you staff for monitoring, listening, and jumping into ongoing discussions, and for responding to individual customer-service issues? Will your participation and moderation guidelines from Facebook apply, or will they need some tweaking for the Google+ environment?
5. Think integration
A big part of Google+’s promise comes from all the potential integration points with other well-established Google services and applications. What might this look like eventually on Google+?
- Your brand’s Google+ page, and the content from it, will display prominently in Google search results.
- Real-time search results about your brand from both inside Google+ and across the social web will be mashed together.
- Your YouTube channel videos and Google+ Hangouts will be published and shareable in both places.
- Google Places data and activity for your brand’s physical location(s), such as reviews and check-ins, will be mixed in to your Google+ brand page.
- Activity from your Google+ brand page will be integrated into your corporate website and measured through Google Analytics.
More reading on Google+
I’m maintaining a list of bookmarks of articles and posts about Google+.
And if you want to follow or connect with me on Google+, I’m right here: Bryan Person on Google+.