Google’s Foray into Social Media: Google+

Google’s new social media network, Google+, appears to be a viable competitor for Facebook, both in terms of connecting users and as a means of social media marketing for businesses. The features and user experience will be a big draw for the tech-savvy, socially connected crowd, while the information provided to Google will enable businesses to focus their advertising efforts on specific demographic groups, much like they can with Facebook ads. Further, there is already evidence that G+ will help drive traffic via referral links.

Features

Google is attempting to completely revamp social networking by making it more similar to real-world networking. Users will sort their connections into different circles, allowing them to separate the information they share with friends, coworkers, family or any other group they define. The Sparks feature will aggregate information based on user-defined interests and allow them to easily share sites, articles or videos across their network. The Hangouts feature allows users to establish video chat rooms with up to 10 people while Huddle allows for real-time group text chats and is intended to be used to coordinate information in groups of people with similar interest. G+ features tight mobile integration across Android, iPhone and non-smartphone platforms. With a smartphone, any pictures taken can be automatically uploaded to a private G+ album to allow easy sharing in the future.

Search

All of the information users (and businesses) post on Google+ will be available to and indexed by Google. This will provide the search engine with massive amounts of information on real-time trends as well as demographic information on its users. Google’s former deal with Twitter, which allowed aggregation of Twitter users’ data, will likely be replaced with the information shared through Google+. Further, because Google will be able to identify people based on age, location, gender and any other factors they share on the social networking site, advertisements akin to Facebook’s demographically-targeted ads will likely start popping up, giving businesses a new set of tools with which they can reach their target audience.

Impact on Business

The payoff for businesses could be massive. One of the main drawbacks of Google’s current Pay-Per-Click campaigns is the fact that advertisers are unable to specifically target the demographics that are most likely to purchase their products or services. If Google integrates their AdWords PPC system with Google+, it could eliminate much of the reason businesses advertise on Facebook. Further, with all shared content being indexed by Google, advertisers could have a deep well of previously untapped data to be used for marketing research. Link sharing on Google+ has already generated a massive impact for Techcrunch (http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/05/google-plus-sharing/), with the new social platform jumping into the site’s top ten referring sites within the first week. It works the other way, too, allowing businesses to connect with their customers and exchange interesting, relevant content.

Google+ is shaping up to be a major contender in the social network world as well as a huge resource for internet marketing. Users will be able to separate their social circles, choosing to share content only with people they wish and making it easier to communicate with specific groups. Businesses can leverage Google’s data, providing a greater depth of study into target demographics, but, most importantly, they will be able to use G+ to connect with their users, hopefully cultivating relationships built on loyalty and trust.

Guest post by: Michael

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SK is the Founder of Techdunes. Loves blogging on Technology. Follow him on Twitter at @funmansk. Contact him at : admin(at)techdunes.com

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