Thursday, December 1, 2011

Social Media for Business Growth

by Syed Asghar Javed Shirazi / shared from Logic is Variable

Social media has come of age overtime and now it provides a powerful means to reach out and engage with online population in an extremely cost effective and efficient ways. Even as social platforms shift in popularity or come and go, businesses can introduce themselves and interact with those who share the same interests. The ability to connect with highly targeted and highly interested individuals at a personal level is welcome mat for businesses of any size. Savvy businesses are already using Facebook, twitter, YouTube and so many other platforms and are taking advantages. 

Now they have one more; Google+ your business.

Google, we are so familiar with, released its social network last June (2011) and was asking enterprises and organizations to wait for using the site for business purposes. Last Monday (October 7, 2011), Google rolled out Google+ Pages for businesses to create a presence on the social network platform for connecting with their users locally and worldwide in a big way. Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook. Like Facebook pages, at Google + Pages, businesses can share content - text, photos and video - to not only a network of contacts but to anyone using Google services.

Like Facebook, individuals can have a personal profile at Google+ and a Page for local business, place, product or brand, company, institution or organization. The page can also support the arts, entertainment, sports or much more. Overall, it is a social site to post information in different formats for a cause. So, what is the difference? Why businesses should create pages at Google+ for what they are already achieving at Facebook? Simple answer is the search results.

People search on Google billions of times a day. Having Google+ Pages can help people transform their queries into meaningful connections because Google is bringing Google+ Pages into its search results. Google has integrated + into its World Wide Web dominating search engine. In addition, with Google+ Direct Connect, searchers can insert a “+” before their query and jump directly to a business’s Google+ page. Type “+YouTube” into a Google search box, for instance, and Google will take you straight to YouTube’s Plus page. This is where Google will have an advantage over Facebook or any other social media platform. This ability alone gives Google+ an edge over other more familiar social networks. This interesting and innovative feature can be a welcome mat for eager marketers and is likely to put them into motion to claim their own brand pages.

Another difference lies in counting Facebook likes and Google +1 that are considered as public endorsements. Presently, Facebook has more than 800 million active users (Google+ so far has only 40 million in less than six months), 50% of them log on to Facebook in any given day and an average Facebook user has 130 friends (I have already reached the limit of 5000 friends of my own). Only Facebook account users can add likes to your pages where as anyone having Google account can Google +1. And it will not be exaggeration to add that almost everyone online has Google account. For people that already use features like Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar, the inevitable integration between these tools and Google Plus is useful. But let me hasten to add that counting number of likes or +1 is is not a measure. Instead, businesses that want to track how well their page is doing can simply use Google+ search to look for keywords for their products or services. Businesses can also use Google Analytics to measure the popularity of their page.

Facebook is for people (family and friends) you already know and Google+ is for netizens who are trying to find relevant information online. Marketers need to pay a very close attention because Google+ Pages are likely to change users’ search experience and web masters’ search engine optimization forever. Instead of being an aggregator or a medium to find relevant information about your products and services, Google+ is poised to be both the platform and means of distribution for content.

While everyone in the tech space is exploring Google+ Your Business and weighing its potentials, one thing is sure, it is better to claim your own business space with Google+ Pages and have a presence on it for the backlink to Google. That will make your business more available on Google. Not only that, it is more of engagement marketing.


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