Long forgotten are the days when you could simply take out a print ad in a national publication and call it a day. Now our marketing efforts need to be integrated, with a blend of online and offline tactics, to fully capture our customer’s attention.
We need to be where they are, interacting as they interact. We need to be personable and relatable, giving them just the right amount of information, leaving them eager to learn more. But how do we connect with our customers on this more personal level? How do we engage them in conversation?
Enter social media.
Now more than ever, is the time to embrace this new avenue of marketing and build your company’s online presence in this space. Your customers are using social channels on a daily basis. If you’re not there with them, you’re missing out on an opportunity to promote your business and keep it top of mind.
Many companies balk at the idea of leveraging social media as a marketing tool. But if you delve deeper into this arena, you’ll see all the big hitters are all there, actively engaging and participating in conversation with their customers. It has become an integral part of their marketing efforts.
We all know the three social media giants: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Each network, with hundreds of millions of users, is the perfect playground for marketers and companies alike. Each serves their own purpose for the consumer, and each also has their own limitations.
But now there’s a new player in the game. Google has entered the social media space in a big way, introducing their own platform, Google+.
The introduction of Google+ has opened the consumer’s eyes to what has been missing in social media. It has brought new features that enable users to interact in a more personal way than ever before. But it has also opened the horizons for what is possible for businesses leveraging social media. Google+ provides a platform that is perfect for your business, both to use internally, but to also build more brand recognition online.
Similar to Facebook, Google+ provides companies with the opportunity to create a page for their business. With a business page, you can share information with your customers about your products, services, promotions or any other information they will find relevant. You can connect on a level like never before, engaging in real conversations and making their experience with your brand that much better.
Do you often turn to your family and friends for recommendations? Your customers likely do as well, so wouldn’t it be great if we could take this experience online? Well now we can with Google’s +1 button.
Google has released the +1 feature which acts as an online, personal recommendation tool. Customers can recommend your business with +1 buttons, spreading the word about your brand and enabling you to engage with a wider audience. Google has integrated the +1 button across many of their products, including search and display ads, Google search results, and now on your Google+ business page.
As a bonus, you can now add a +1 button to your website which gives users the opportunity to share content directly to Google+. So now, with just one click, your content can be shared with millions of people on Google+.
Organize your audiences with Google+ circles. You now have a place where you can segment your audiences, delivering relevant information to the most appropriate parties. And isn’t that one of our main marketing goals? We want to provide information to those who will find it valuable. Relevant messaging is key.
With Google+ circles, you can keep your customers separate from your team members, from your competitors, and from industry professionals, sharing information that each of the different groups would find interesting. Google+ enables you to share information in a variety of ways, giving you the opportunity to choose how public or private your posts are. You can either post publicly – for the whole world to see - or send direct messages to people, pages or your circles. Circles are a dynamic feature that is unique to Google+ and add tremendous value to your external and internal communications.
Google has completely revolutionized the way people can interact online. Unlike other social media platforms, with Google+ you can now host a video conference with your customers and team members, or you can host a live video broadcast!
Google Hangouts gives you the opportunity to interact face-to-face with your customers, speaking with up to 9 people at one time. You can organize planned sessions or could host a hangout just on a whim, letting anyone join and expanding your reach even further. And now, with Hangouts On Air, you can live stream your video conference, literally reaching thousands of people.
Many businesses have found Hangouts On Air particularly useful, as you can now host global webinars and other information sharing sessions for free. Not only does the video broadcast live on your Google+ page, but you can also embed the video on your website, blog and your YouTube channel. To top it all off, the video is also recorded to your YouTube channel for later use, where you could share it with your customers in a monthly newsletter or other communication.
Check out these great videos on Hangouts:
Sign Me Up!
Are you convinced yet? Signing up is super easy and Google+ is an amazingly dynamic platform that can easily integrate into your pre-existing social media plan. Not only is this platform a great way to grow your brand presence online and provide more interaction with your customers, but the fact that Google has integrated so many of its products into Google+ makes it an incredibly valuable tool for internal use as well.
Check out the resources throughout this post to learn more about Google+ and its capabilities. And don’t forget, add +New Breed Marketing to your circles and let us know how it’s going.