Last Friday I watched not just one but TWO Google hangouts; a hangout is part of the Google Plus system. Google Plus or G+ as you may see it called is the fourth attempt by Google to create a viable social media platform. And this time, I believe they’ve done it. In fact, Google has done several things over the past year that CONTINUES to make them a force to be reckoned with online and not just as a search engine either.
You may not be aware that Google has always been more than just a search engine. They have forever made available various tools, some very powerful tools that help web developers, marketers and general business owners get more out of the Internet. And these tools have always been free to use. So many, if not ALL of those most recent things were created to revolve around Google Plus.
So what is Google Plus and why is it a game changer?
G+ is a social media platform along the lines of Facebook and Twitter but with it’s own flair and vocabulary. Yes, to use each social media platform is sort of like learning a new language and it’s no different with Google Plus.
G+ let’s you organize your followers and friends into circles. Think of them as circles of influence. You can create your circles, name them, and organize them by any method that makes sense to you. This is a very cool feature from a marketing standpoint because you can create a post on G+ and send it to only the circles it applies to. That lets you really segment and target your list.
Another important aspect of Google Plus is the Hangout. Hangouts are an integral part of the platform and are basically a video chat. If your computer or laptop has a webcam, you can easily hangout with other people on Plus and video chat with up to ten people simultaneously for FREE. That’s HUGE. You can have face-to-face meetings with clients or your team anywhere in the world without the price tag of teleconferencing. Did I mention it’s EASY?
From a marketing standpoint, this is useful in tons of ways. Imagine being able to:
• Demonstrate a product or process.
• Host a Q & A session with customers.
• Town Hall with constituents. Listen up 2014 political candidates.
• Roll out a new product.
• Get feedback on a product or service.
• Check in on a patient.
• Interview an expert.
By the way, it really works for B2B not just B2C. The opportunities are literally endless. And I haven’t even mentioned that Hangouts can be private between the parties hanging out or there is a Hangout on Air function where participants hang out and the entire event is recorded and shared on Google Plus and YouTube. Think of the branding and marketing opportunities inherent with that. Anyone can have a “television show” online. It boggles my mind; the opportunities G+ affords you to market your business.
The final thing I want to point out today is that what used to be called Google Places which was a crucial tool for businesses that have a brick and mortar location, or local businesses, was rolled into Google Plus and renamed Google Plus Local. So the whole “find a local business online through Google search” aspect of Internet marketing is now part of G+. Take that in for a moment.