Guest post by John Zenith
There are already hundreds of social networks in the internet space, but only a few of them can be considered household names. If Google has anything to say about it, its new introduction into the game will be one we talk about for some time to come.
Recently introduced to test users, Google+ is a brand new social network that has already adopted the name “potential Facebook Killer” by some early observers. And while this platform is similar to other social networks in that it naturally appeals to casual everyday users, it also comes boasting serious marketing value. Take a look at the elements that give Google+ real potential as a marketing tool.
Targeted By Nature
Google+ has taken some of the best attributes of the social hangouts we know and love and added a few new twists of its own. This is something that can be seen right off the bat with a key component known as Circles. With Circles, users have the ability to categorize their contacts in groups such as family, friends, and students.
These groups can be customized so for a marketer, it could be customers, prospects, team members, or other related areas. Another marketing perk of this component is the ability it provides to only share and receive content from select groups. Circles alone gives Google+ a distinct edge over Facebook and other competitors.
Video Group Chat
Another Google + component that makes it valuable to marketers is a feature known as Hangouts. This is basically a built-in chat application that lets users communicate on the platform by way of video, similar to the group video calling feature found in VoIP-based software Skype.
What gives Hangouts even more potential is its ability to support up to 10 people in a single session. The feature is designed to quickly rotate the view and keep up with the conversation. Hangouts certainly enables Google + to build on the social aspect that makes these sites such a big hit with consumers, but it also offers something for marketers who require a viable platform for video-based conferencing or collaboration.
Lastly, Google + provides an interesting way for users to discover and pass along the content they find interesting. This is made possible through a component called Sparks. A recommendation engine of sorts, Sparks serves up a smorgasbord of content in categories that may include news, videos, movies, and much more. You can also use the Google Authorship Markup to make it easier to highlight authors who write great content.
To make the discovery process more personal and relevant to the user, the feature is based on interest. The more people feed their interests into the system, the more relevant it will become for those seeking content to consume and share with others. Obviously, marketers with content that can be found through Sparks stand to benefit tremendously from this luxury.
Whether Google + is able to bump Facebook out of the top spot or not, this appears to be a platform that is definitely worth taking a spin. While it was officially announced in late June, there has been no word on it will go live to the public. For now, Google is offering users a test drive of the beta version to gauge the response. If you’ve got the time, we say put your name on the list and hope that you receive an invitation from the search giant.