Should you set up a Google+ page for your brand?



The much-heralded Google+ Pages are here for brands, organisations and others. After the launch yesterday, everybody can now set up pages and brands have been rushing to grab their name. It’s certainly easy to do, and easy to start to add and curate content. But should it be part of your brand’s social media mix and if so how.

These five questions should help you decide if you need a Google+ page for your brand, and how to make the most of one if you do.

1. Should you claim your name to build social credibility?

Vanity URLs (such as ones ending /freshnetworks) aren’t yet available for Google+, and multiple pages can be set up with the same name. This does mean that there is minimal benefit currently to claiming your name as part of a land-grab. However it does make it more important than ever that brands who are serious about using Google+ do it and do it quickly. You need to build social credibility. There is, currently, nothing to stop multiple pages being set up and others using the name you want to use. So the quicker you establish your presence on Google+ and establish the credibility of your brand and how you are using it, the better.

2. Have you got a clear reason for using Google+?

However, the danger with Google+ (and with many of the pages that have already been set up) is that they have been created with no obvious though of how they are to be used and what they do for the business. There is definitely a benefit to using Google+ as part of your social media mix but only if it is contributing towards your brands overall aims with social media.

  • Are you looking to acquire customers? In which case could you be using Google+ to specifically reach new audience with content that they are interested in.
  • Are you looking to generate online sales? In which case you could be using the rich media capabilities of Google+ to showcase products and link to ecommerce items.
  • Are you looking to reward advocates? In which case you could use Circles to gather together your different advocates and share content exclusively with them.

Without a clear reason for using Google+, a business aim, you risk being one of the many many pages that are set up, share some photos and some content but never really start to perform for the brand.

3. Is your audience using Google+?

Google is yet to share much demographic data about who is using Google+, but services such as Social Statistics are sampling profiles to give some data about the types of people that are using the service. We can learn that the users in their sample are almost 70% male as well as finding the top users, posts and fastest growing pages. This kind of data is useful but we should be more intelligent in assessing if our audience is using Google+. One simple thing to do would be to search for your key brand, competitor and market terms and see who is saying what about them on Google+. Are the kind of conversations you want to be part of or lead there already? And who is talking? We should also bear in mind that the audience for Google+ is continuing to grow and change and probably become much more mainstream - bringing in more and more people over time. So if your audience isn’t currently using Google+ the chances are some of them will be in the near future.

4. Are you using the capabilities Google+ offers?

Any brand that uses Google+ in the same way they use Twitter or Facebook is failing to either make full use of its capabilities or to use it sensibly as part of your social media mix. As with any social media tool, you need to understand what role it plays in the mix of tools you use and the strengths and weaknesses of different tools. Google+ is currently very strong in rich media content (videos and images as well as the use of animated GIFS as you can see in the creative Burberry page). It is great for organising people into Circles and then treating these segments in different ways. It is also good for longer-form discussion and debate. In these three ways it offers brands more flexibility than Facebook. In other ways (organising events, integration with apps, short-form updates), Facebook and Twitter are probably stronger.

5. Can you maintain the page when you set it up?

The final consideration is very much an internal, governance question. If you set up a Google+ page for your brand will you have the content, time and resource to maintain it? The worst pages are those with some content that is posted for the first few days or weeks, and then silence. There is a real danger with many of the pages that brands are setting up right now that they just do not have the resources to maintain it.If there is real benefit to you and you have a clear audience to engage there, then you should be able to resource it by shifting your emphasis from other channels, or by sensible use of content and ideas across your social media marketing mix. If you don’t have time to maintain the page, or you can’t provide enough content for it, then you probably shouldn’t have set it up in the first place.


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