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December 2, 2011, 4:36 am UTC
As brands make an entry into Google Plus, there are few areas they need to leverage to maximize affect.
Google’s umpteenth foray into social networking may or may not be a Facebook killer but it does offer an impressive array of services that will be music to the ears of branding professionals globally.
So far the brands that have set up home on Google Plus, have done just what they do on a Facebook Page – upload image, content and status updates. Yet beyond these, there are features that does set Google Plus apart from Facebook. The most important of them is the possibility of integration with the Google universe and its video chat called ‘Hangout’.
Google that began its life as a search engine, is an conglomerate that is a dominant internet force when it comes to blogs, videos and other touch-points like the web (Chrome) and mobile (Android OS). The idea is thus to not look at Google Plus as an isolated webspace like Facebook, but a platform that connect many other internet universes and is much more open in that sense compared to Facebook.
The Hangout feature can be used extensively to market a brand or product by organizing video chats between a brand’s spokesperson and other Google Plus users. This is again something that Facebook does not have.
The other important features that brands need to realize is that Google has a very strong Analytics. Of course, even Facebook and Twitter have those but the analytics of these two social networks is applicable to only their own networks while that of Google Plus could be applicable to a large part of the entire world wide web.
The other potential feature of Google Plus is the possibility of linking social CRM and CEM (Customer Experience Management) with the data that is gathered from a person’s use of other Google services like Gmail, YouTube and search. Besides these other Google services like Shopping, Places and Map offers some major opportunities for interested brands.
Yet, the problems with Google is that it has to achieve scale before it can make a large impact. So far it has only 40 million members, most of them driven by Gmail. It is a far cry from Facebook’s 800 million plus users. And despite having been open for outsiders for a while now, the numbers have not yet scaled up exponentially to either worry Facebook, or to even entice brand managers.
The way to go forward for brands with regards to Google Plus right now should stem from an understanding of the various aspects and scope of the Google universe and using these to develop a clear strategy for its engagement with Google Plus. Wait, watch and learn should be the brand managers strategy right now.
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