Launched about 3 short weeks ago and only accepting a handful of invited guest users, Google Plus (often written as Google+) is already creating quite a buzz. Akin to the voiceover you hear at the beginning of the old superman shows we hear people asking “Is it a blog?”, “Is it a social media site?” No, it’s Google Plus!” but we still really don’t know what that means. And maybe we don’t really care what it is, unless of course, our businesses need to know. And so is the life of online marketing.
Coined as “real life sharing, rethought for the web” and with the ideal of letting us all share the right stuff with the right people, Google Plus makes an effort to roll it all into one thing, yet gives us more control. Let’s face it, we all know managing multiple social media networking sites takes work and lots of time. You may have a Twitter account for your family, a FB account for your customers and business announcements and yet a LinkedIn account for your business colleagues. And if you are only using of one site or two you always run the risk of overlapping messages to say your customers and your mother, which is usually not a good thing. Among a few other bells and whistles, Google Plus aims to solve this for you.
But we can delve into all the nuances of its features later. After all, right now it has only been rolled out to a select few, and the business sites are yet to come. In fact, one of the Google bigwigs recently announced that all businesses should wait and use the business-friendly accounts when they are launched, and not try to rework one of the standard accounts.
There are plenty of things we can learn from Google now, even though we can’t yet use Google Plus. The company basically put its all into this new development and companies like Google don’t put their company on the line without doing some serious homework. Here five lessons that they have already learned, and what we all should know too.
1) Relationships count. Yes, yes, we all know this, but Google ventures to bet its company on this concept. “The internet is nothing but software fabric that connects the interactions of human beings,” Gundotra, the main driver in the Google Plus project told Wired Magazine.
2) Breakdown your target markets. It’s likely that your business already knows its target market, but do you know how your target market breaks down? Take a close look at your customer base. Whether you are looking at them in terms of reoccurring customers vs move-in customers or looking at them in terms of income bracket, they fall into groupings. Google says this is true you in terms of all the people you connect with, and it encourages us to connect with them using a different style based on who they are.
3) Embrace your team in a vision. This isn’t marketing at all, it’s good ‘ol employee management. When the Team Leader of Google Plus set out on this huge project, the code name of the project was “Emerald Sea.” Instead of just telling his employees about how the project related, he put it in front of their faces. A huge mural of the an 1878 painting entitled “Emerald Sea” was painting in the reception area of Google, so that as they walked into the office each morning, the Google Plus team was reminded, visually, of why they were there. How are you reminding your team of their purpose at work?
4) Mobile is important. This is a topic we will cover in more depth in future newsletters. The searching and shopping habits of people using mobile devices is changing rapidly. Being aware of and responsive to these trends should be a marketing priority to all small businesses, and especially small services business.
5) Learn from customer feedback. It has been said time and time again but it warrants repeating, Google hasn’t fully launched its latest, customer-focused product in full swing yet because it wants to get as much information as possible from those who are trying it out. And when it gets it, it will make changes as its product grows and develops. Even on a smaller scale, your business can do the same: collect feedback, listen, and adjust as you grow.
So take comfort in knowing that the lessons that even mammoth Google are learning are lessons you can implement too. For more tips and answers on how to integrate these important techniques into your business, stay tuned for an all-in-one marketing product I am launching that pulls together the latest marketing trends across the board and gives them to you in easy-to-understand, bite-sized pieces that you can absorb and use immediately!