Expand your market with Google plus
The past year has seen Google+ step out of the shadows of Facebook and Twitter, with a number of improvements and new features with potentially excellent marketing benefits.
March 22 saw the introduction of another improvement, which, if you're a marketer, could prove to be an extremely useful addition: Google + image search. This image search works in the same way as the incredibly popular Google image search, the only difference being that all the results will be images uploaded by users of Google+. For example, typing 'lunch' in to the search bar and selecting 'photos' will result in countless pictures of what not only your friends, but people all over the world are enjoying for their lunch.
When combining a Google+ search with the location setting, marketers are presented with an innovative way to reach potential customers. A hypothetical scenario revolves around the upcoming Manchester United vs. Manchester City football match. By searching for the phrase 'watching the game' and setting the location to Manchester, a takeaway company is presented with a vast number of potential customers. With the match taking place on a Monday night, many of those watching will not have time to cook before the game gets underway, making the idea of a freshly cooked pizza or Indian takeaway delivered to their door an extremely tempting one.
A further potential situation where this Google+ search function could be useful is staying ahead of the competition in a crowded market. London is an area which is famous for the number of taxis on offer, making it difficult for these taxi firms to ensure that customers choose their service. By searching for 'going out tonight' in the London area, a whole host of revellers who may need a taxi home are presented to the control office, potentially tapping into a number of lucrative nightspots.
In the aforementioned scenario, a taxi firm could also take advantage of the chance to search for events. Which nightclubs are hosting the busiest nights this weekend? A simple Google + search could reveal the answer, and show the drivers where they need to be when the time comes for these partygoers to return home.
Of course, for any of the aforementioned ideas to become a reality, Google need to encourage more data to be shared with their service, instead of on Facebook or Twitter.
As well as this situational marketing, a long term strategy could include bookmarking relevant searches to your company. If your business is car insurance, a saved search for 'new car' provides a frequently updated database of individuals who may be looking for car insurance.
Staying aware of your customers
For creative marketing individuals, the potential of this tool is almost limitless. While people generally share more of their lives on social media using Facebook or Twitter, the information on offer from Google + can still be extremely valuable. With the right search terms, a Google + search could be a superb benefit to your business, whether you're providing the public with pizza, insurance or even legal advice. The one thing currently holding Google+ back from being an overwhelming marketing success is the lack of interaction from many users, something the company is looking to combat.
Marketers should not only use Google+ to be proactive, as social media also allows you to be reactive. Searching for your own company name allows you to share positive experiences with others by using the +1 function, and ensure that any negative experiences are dealt with. While in an ideal world there would be no negative statements about your business on social media, by being seen to deal with any issues, a positive reflection of your company is given. Not only will you hopefully save a current customer, but create additional potential customers.
The power of plus
As you can see from these hypothetical strategies, the potential power of Google + as a marketing tool is incredible. The total number of Google+ active users recently overtook those of Twitter, making it second only to Facebook. The issue for Google+ is not the number of users they have, but encouraging people to interact and post content once they have a profile.