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Google +: the new business social media tool

At 56 Degrees we love new things and we like to share. That’s why we’d like to tell you more about Google + as we think this is the next great social media tool for business marketing.

What is Google +1?
Google is the number 1 search engine in the world. When you’ve used it recently though you may have noticed that the results which come up after you make a search now have a new button beside each page link: a small rectangle box that says ‘+1’.

This new button allows signed in Google users rate a search result page and “+1” the ones they think are cool. Pages that receive a +1 are then publicly annotated in Google search results.

We’ve done some research and have found that those pages [and the websites they come from] who receive a +1 can see a real increase in their search engine results. This is good news for your businesses if you want to get more people visiting your site and to get more business.

Google have said their +1 rating system may become a part of how they rank pages along with their existing SEO functionality but that it is still reviewing its use carefully before making it a part of its ranking criteria.

In the meantime, 56 Degrees think this is definitely one to watch and something all the SEO marketers will be looking at in more detail fur future online activity.

How is Google + relevant to businesses?

At the moment Google Plus is only available for private individuals. However, Google are now planning to launch official business pages later this year and are testing the potential business features of Google + with some companies.

Google + pages will list employees and management and also allow visitors to confirm that the site they are interacting is a “real” business. This gives credibility to your business and confidence to your visitors who can become “fans” by rating your page or website with a +1.

You will also be able to add more than one business location by integrating Google Maps and Places, use Google Offers to include special offers for your fans and customers, and integrate Google Analytics and Google Adwords. It certainly has a lot of potential to really promote your business.

Google + and the benefits for business
Google + has the potential to bring tangible benefits to businesses. Using functionality that already exists businesses can take advantage of things like virtual meetings and collaboration enabling ideas and decisions to be shared more effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, working in this “virtual” space can save businesses time and money.

Some of the business tools include:

Google Meeting allows companies to organise, hold, record and even archive meetings – whether on the phone or by video – for up to 10 people. Invites can be sent through the Google calendar, eMail and chat applications.

The Google Screencast functionality enables users to demonstrate and share with others anything on a computer screen.

Google Whiteboard: Google Docs already allows those in the same meeting to present, create and share documents. The virtual whiteboard takes this a step further by allowing participants to make notes and share and develop ideas together. These can later be shared, via Google + or email, with a wider audience – such as those unable to attend the meeting.

What people are saying about Google +:
As part of the development and technology community 56 Degrees likes hearing what others are saying about a whole range of online topics: Google + is no exception. These comments come from a selection of sites and tell us what other think about Google +1 and how they are using it

Chris Brogan – has listed “50 things to think about with regards to Google+” – here are some of them:

Google+ is built to take you away from either Facebook or Twitter (or both), and it could do it, in time.

Your “about” section is rich, robust, allows links, photos, QR codes, and more. Marketers rejoice!

If Google Music integrates into this platform the way YouTube is now, it’s a powerful entertainment media platform instantly

With Circles (how you group the people you link with) you control privacy in a way that makes clear and obvious sense

The live video chat feature is a powerful addition to collaboration and workshifting scenarios

A standalone Google+ Apps version plus Google Docs = a very powerful business collaboration environment that would trump most white label social enterprise tech easily

There are more big name visionaries poking around on Google+ right out in the open than on any other social application that I’ve seen (this just might be the nature of G+, that everything is so visible, but it FEELS like big news to have Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg and others checking it out)

The photo display interface in Google+ is stunning, adding to my thoughts of this making for an amazing media platform. The moment G+ full-throttle opens up accounts for businesses, you’ll hear big news plays about this platform

Eric Swayne also states: “Experts agree Google Plus business pages could deliver features that social media marketers are desperate for, particularly those in b2b marketing.” In his blog

David Armano raises some interesting thoughts on Google + in his blog. A few points we particularly liked were:

Google’s number one advantage is its overwhelming 65.5% share of the search market. That’s a strong reason for any business to join Google’s social media strategy.

With such deep search capabilities available in-house, Google Plus has the potential to deliver businesses a much deeper context

For those using social media for b2b, this could be a boon. Because of the industry’s longer, complex sales cycles, the ability to measure the interaction of social and search fills in the missing piece of the b2b social media strategy

If the Circles feature, which makes it easy to segment your connections, is extended to business pages, it could enable brands to do much more targeted messaging… and enable brands to be really good community managers”

It’s clear that Google’s size and newfound social shape can give it a leg up in bringing brands to Google Plus business pages. But with Facebook already responding to the new competition, Google will have to move fast.