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8 November 2011

Marketing

Why You Should Set Up a Google+ Page for Your Business

24 hours ago, Google+ rolled out ‘pages’- the search giant’s newest attempt to level with Facebook on the social media scene. Designed to enhance the relationship between businesses and users, the pages were highly anticipated as a rival to Facebook’s pages. Yet, in contrast to Google+’s initial launch, ‘pages’ have experienced a rather cool reception.

google plusBut at FDC Studio, we’re convinced that there is more than meets the eye. From a business angle, pages allow you to add users to circles (once they have added the business to their own circles), which means you can segment your audience and market to them in a more focussed and appropriate way. Google’s Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering, stated on his blog:

“For businesses and brands, Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you. Not only can they recommend you with a +1, or add you to a circle to listen long-term. They can actually spend time with your team, face-to-face-to-face. All you need to do is start sharing, and you'll soon find the super fans and loyal customers that want to say hello.”

In terms of its effect on search, naturally the pages have been integrated closely with Google results. A new feature called “Direct Connect” allows users who are logged into Google+ to add brands and businesses to their circles almost instantly. By searching for “+ [brand]”, Google will automatically take the user to the business’s Google+ page, where they can then connect with the business. However, not all pages will have the luxury of Direct Connect. Google uses an algorithm to identify signals which determine the relevancy and popularity of a page, based on the business’s website. It has been mooted, however, that placing the Google+ badge on your main website is likely to increase your chances of being able to unlock the Direct Connect feature.

So what does this mean for business owners?

The power of Google should never be underestimated. Whilst initially Google+ pages appear to be rather boring and unthreatening to the likes of Facebook, the integration of this new feature with search engine results will undoubtedly play a significant role in search marketing going forward. Google’s mission statement over the past few years has been to provide searchers with results that are as relevant and accurate as possible, so it is no surprise that Google+ pages have been engineered to bridge the gap between business and customer. What this means for business owners is that where currently searchers can visit a website and leave it without ever being known to the business, Google+ pages allow businesses to see the person behind the number.

So, imagine if your site has 10000 views per month, and 1% of those visitors convert. That’s essentially 100 email addresses you can add to your marketing database. Those email addresses tell you little more than somebody, somewhere wanted to buy from/enquire/contact you through your website. With Google+, however, those conversions will be meaningful connections that allow you to develop customer relationships based on increased demographic data such as gender, age, social interests, networks, brand loyalties etc. What we will start to see here is a further tightening of the gap between search behaviour and social engagement as Google continuously refines the algorithms which are responsible for returning human-friendly results. For businesses that are selling online and are not yet engaged in social media AND search marketing, failing to appreciate the future of online marketing could leave many out in the cold.

Over the next 90 days, Google has revealed that more changes and features will be rolled out as the pages gain momentum, so watch this space as we follow with much interest!

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