Google+ is about Getting Social

Bob Dumouchel

We advise clients to compete on both the paid and organic traffic and now we are adding social media to that recommendation. Social Media needs to be part of the marketing plan strategy, even if the plan is to do nothing other than listen and learn right now. With an audience of well over 700 million no business can completely ignore this. Social Media is rapidly evolving and it is fundamentally different than advertising or PR because it is a two-way conversation and it’s time to get social.

Google and FaceBook are at war with each other and it is tons of fun to watch from the sidelines as the titans clash on the worldwide playground. The latest shot over the bow of social media is Google’s +1 and Google+, which are intended to compete with FaceBook and their Like button. The twist with Google is that they are integrating this with both organic and paid search results.  So what should advertisers do now?

First let’s get the ridiculous out of way. We do not think anyone, other than someone trying to game the system, is going to vote for an ad so input at that point is dumb although output there does make sense. The input point of this is going to be the web page and there a vote is both likely and reasonably placed.  This process is likely to be important to both your ad and your organic rank.

One only needs to look at the train wreck that is Buzz to see that not every Google experiment works well. Based on this we need to be careful with how much we invest in this in the very early stages. The +1 process is typical Google magic with several components but no details when you get to the implementation.   One of the first things that you realize with +1 is that it is URL based so you may want to rethink your landing page, redirects, and page canonicalization.

We try to follow everything Google so we did get an early invite to the beta for Google+ and our observations are that it is functionally similar to FaceBook. The system does not have the critical mass of users that it needs to face off with FaceBook but Google is not without resources so I would not immediately disregard them. In the first few weeks the network grew to 10 million but this is still a long way from FaceBook numbers of 700 million plus. The challenge in social media is the network size not the software so Google has a huge uphill battle, but the integration with gmail is a big advantage.

At this early stage it is probably a good idea to get involved in Google+ and to implement the +1 button on your site but we think it is too early to invest your internet goodwill in the development of your contacts and circles on Google+.