Why should I waste any time on Google+ when I’m not even sure it will stay around?
Good point. Google+ may not have legs, but right now it has over 20 million users. That statistic can’t be ignored.
The better question is: What will happen if Google+ does stay around? Do you want to have to play catch up in your competitors’ trail of dust? (Okay, that was two questions.)
If you want to be ready for Google+ once it opens up to business pages, focus on these three things now.
1. Pay closer attention to your Twitter and Facebook followers.
Listen more closely to your followers on every social network you’re on. What are they saying about Google+? Are your follows and likes decreasing or are they still increasing? Poll your Facebook and Twitter followers who are also using Google+. Get their thoughts on what they want to see from brands on Google+ business pages.
2. Get familiar with personal page functions now.
Create a personal Google+ page, and have people on your team do the same. If you’re a Marketing Director or CEO, you can start representing your company now until brand pages are released. (For an example, see what Michael Dell is doing.)
With your team, test out the features and talk about what features your audience seems to be using most. Notice that you can also use these features for business purposes:
- Circles You have time now to name your circles thoughtfully, so do that. Plan out how you want to segment people you follow and people who follow you. Now you can follow back customers and separate their stream of posts from other streams. You’ll be able to segment your messages and send out more targeted info and promotions.
- Hangouts Video chat with your team and test out potential customer service uses. Role play and practice potential scenarios so you’ll be able to experiment and prepare away from the public eye. Even better, test out Hangouts as an informal focus group tool. You’ll have a chance to get small groups together and chat with them on a regular basis. (Remember this also when naming your circles.)
- Huddle Test crisis response. Huddle allows you to text as a group, as you would talk as a group in a conference call. A perfect scenario for using this function is any sort of emergency. For example, you have a public relations nightmare brewing and it’s after hours. You need to get your team together quickly and share messaging. You can do it by text. Get comfortable using Huddle now so you don’t have to fumble around when speed of reaction is crucial.
The point is to start brainstorming now on all fronts, so you’ll be ready to implement once Google+ brand pages become open to you.
3. Start working on your Google+ page now.
Get photos ready to display and videos ready to load. Have an editorial plan ready to go. How will you migrate followers and information from other social channels? How will you integrate your marketing efforts?
Yes, you may have to make changes once the final version of Google+ business pages is released, but you will already be ahead of the game, instead of at square one.
In your overall marketing strategy, integration and coordination are crucial. Your Facebook page and Google+ page can’t be the same. They can be similar and have similar purposes, but you must have different strategies for each, based on their different audiences and the way people use them (among other things). Strategy is something you can start talking about now.
Once Google+ brand pages are open to all, it’s time to execute. Don’t be the only company still standing at square one.
As always, if you need help, you can rely on Philly Marketing Labs as your strategic marketing partner.
Post written by Coreen Tossona, Digital Communicator and Brand Strategist for Philly Marketing Labs. This post is repurposed from her original post in her In the Crowds marketing blog.