What's All the Plus Fuss About?

Anna Ritchie : Community Maven
Anna Ritchie
Marketing & communications practitioner, and product manager for TMCnet. Focus on content marketing and social media with a specialty in Online Community-building for businesses. Follow @Connectincloud and @apritchie
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What's All the Plus Fuss About?

Google-plus.jpgSince November 7, marketers have been scrambling to take advantage of the new Google + fan pages. With 40 million Google+ users and counting, it’s silly not to create a page on Google +, I guess. But when I was tasked with the initiative to create a page, and fast, I did feel a moment of overwhelm and hesitation

Another social media page to manage? So, I did what any marketer would do in my situation: I ‘Googled’: ‘Googled’ tips on creating pages, how the pages differ from Facebook fan pages, and how to spread the word of the new page once it’s been created (Mashable has some great content, like this Google+ Guide) Because that’s what most of us do, right?

We ‘Google’.

Which is exactly why Google+ is worth our attention. As the go-to search engine for a majority of internet users, Google has the power to petrify marketers with each new algorithm update: We scramble to improve our content, optimize our SEO and check the quality of our links and site design. So when Google creates a social network, we should take note: Our site ranking could be dependent on how often content is shared on the Google + page, or how many fans we have.

So I create a page.

Here are 7 immediate reactions I had to setting it up, and from exploring other company’s Google + pages. Keep in mind, this was yesterday.  Like most companies, I think we’re all still learning the ropes, here.

1)      I really like the layout.  I checked out the Muppets fan page, and Pepsi fan page and immediately I was drawn to the bright, big colorful layout Google + offers. It felt less “narrow” than Facebook, and I didn’t have to scroll down so much to see previous conversations.  This makes photos a lot easier to view, also, with an easy-to-spot conversation bubble to notify which photos had comments attached to them.  There’s just something about that clean design that is a breath of fresh air from the ad-and-content-cluttered Twitter and Facebook.

2)      It’s really hard to upload a good logo. Now, I’m not a graphic designer, but I found the interface really difficult. It took our team several tries to upload a picture that was the right size, and resolution, required for the page.

3)      Segmentation is easy, and helps target messages. Keeping up with new lists, hashtags and trends is tiring on Twitter, and Facebook doesn’t really let you target messages to specific groups at all. So even though we don’t have followers to our Google+ page yet, I think the ability to segment certain communications by ‘groups’ is going to be awesome. Think about it, putting all our ‘current customers’ in one bucket for lead nurturing content and pictures, our prospects in another to receive case studies and promotional pieces, and our conference attendees in yet another bucket to participate in hangouts (see #5), now that’s every marketers dream. I’m interested to see how it’s going to work…

4)      It’s “App” light: OK, so Facebook has some really cool apps that I don’t think Google+ has yet. But I’m a patient person (sort of).  Plus I like the integration with YouTube with the handy slide-out bar at the top-right corner, so that’s keeping me occupied for now.

5)      Interaction abilities are pretty cool: Hangouts = awesome. I can’t wait to eliminate the need for a 3rd party vendor or conference facility and just hang out with our clients and prospects online, at any time.

6)      I’m trying to balance where it fits in our greater social media “plan”: I use Hootsuite for all my Facebook and Twitter updates, so right now I’m trying to sort out how I’m going to find the time to add yet another website to update with new content. I’m thinking an integration platform will be out sooner rather than later to streamline this for frazzled marketers (please!)

7)      Ripples! This is perhaps my favorite feature of Google+- and reflective of the site’s very visual, clean style. You can actually see, in a web diagram, how a content piece has been shared, who your main influencers are, and other fascinating statistics that you just can’t find anywhere else.  I’m going to have a lot of fun with this.

Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, check out this article by Frank Reed about how companies rushing to Google+ is a bit silly; and remember “Google+ brand pages are going to change….Slow down folks. It’ll be OK.”

Because who knows what tomorrow will bring…..

Are you creating a Google+ page for your company? What has your experience been like?

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