What’s all the Buzz About Google+ Hangouts?
If you have been online in the last few days, you undoubtedly have heard the latest buzz on Google+ and Google hangouts. Why is Google+ important to your business? Is Google+ yet another social media site that you need to setup and maintain? Isn’t Google+ just for geeks?
Let’s talk about what Google is and what it is not first. Google is still the most powerful search engine today. Many of your potential clients will still go to the Google Search Engine to find products and services. Google has several what we call “tools” available for business owners to help their businesses be found in the search results. These tools include Google+ Local (Local Search), Google+, YouTube, to name just a few. Google+ is one of the many tools available to the business owner. Yes, it is interactive and creates networking that provides engagement. One of Google’s main objective is the user’s experience. Part of the reason for building the Google+ community is that it feeds into other Google tools and provides value to the community.
Reputation is actually the first and most important thing a business should be concerned with over engagement. Google purchased Zagat, a company specializing in reviews, and the Zagat rating system replaced the 5 stars that were previously used. See the full article Google just got ZAGAT Rated! Google wanting to make the reviews a bit more “real” and valuable is combining the different pieces you would get from an online community and an online review system. So for example, those who perform a review and have a Google+ profile will show up in the review stream. It makes the review process a bit more authentic.
Forrester research is quoted as reporting “70% of people searching online for a business or service will trust the online reviews”. People reading those reviews generally look for a minimum of 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business. Even the simple “+1” feature is another way someone can quickly give a fast opinion on something they have encountered online. These statistics and tools have really change the online marketing game.
So what about Google Hangouts. The hangout is an incredible tool both for business and personal use. The hangout is a free tool that enables people to virtually meet with up to 10 people on video and voice chat. It brings everyone into one virtual room. You can opt to make the room public or private. So if your business has the need for long distance collaboration, it is an excellent tool. On the personal side, you can meet with family and loved ones who are not geographically in your backyard. There are several apps you can add to a Google+ hangout, which just add to the versatility of the hangout.
Google Hangouts can be recorded when they are selected as “On Air” hangouts. As mentioned before, another tool Google owns is YouTube. So when you record your hangout, it immediately goes to your YouTube channel. Experienced marketers realize the value of such functionality. You can download the video, edit it, and re-purpose the content in several different mediums.
I’ve been coaching a few clients who are teachers/coaches on how they can utilize the rich features of Google Hangouts. When on-air hangouts are be made “public” people can watch the hangout live while it is on air. There are several more tricks to a Google hangout that can help expand your audience, these are just some of the features. Google Hangouts are an excellent, low cost way for you to feature your business to your customers, record a video and build “know, like, trust” even from a distance
Is Google+ a social network? Google+ is just one of the tools in the Google toolbox. We have been consulting our clients for the past year+ on the necessity to have a presence on the Google+ channel. Some additional features of Google+ include a personal profile and a business page profile. Google+ features Community Pages, that act like groups with a bit different functionality then other social platforms. While it is directly compared to other social platforms because of it’s look and feel, people often mistaken the fact that Google+ is just another social site. The truth is Google+ is just one of a group Google tools.
Since Google still is the number one search engine, our best practice is to recommend that companies have a presence on Google+. It is a bit confusing since there is also Google+ Local Pages, which play a huge part in local search. If you are a local business, you most definitely want to be concerned with having your Google+ Local page optimized and set up with best practices. Google is the big player so play by Google’s rules. This is not news for us nor our clients. They’ve known for a long while just how important Google tools are to their business.
This brings me back to the same message I intend to deliver. Do I think every business belongs on every social site? Most likely not, but it does and will always come back to strategy questions. What is your objective? Having a carefully planned marketing road map designed around your business and then going to implement the “vehicles” of the road map is best practice marketing. Strategies help businesses market with intention. When you market with intention you can target, track and measure. When you can target, track and measure, you can identify your marketing successes.
Blessings To your marketing successes!