The tech community is abuzz about Google+, Google’s latest foray into the social media network currently dominated by FaceBook. And it’s no wonder. The new offering has racked up 20 million unique visitors in three weeks and caused a major ruckus when Google disabled business profiles in late July. But take note, small business owners should start exploring Google+ now because when Google releases the business version in a few months, the tool is likely to change business on the internet in a BIG way.
Besides the enhanced offerings (and in the case of features like Google+ circles) Google+ offers businesses a grown-up place to socialize and do business. This is a welcome change for millions of small business owners, like me, who wish to draw more distinct lines between their personal and business lives.
Now, I don’t drink and I’m happily married with a pretty dull life, so you’re not going to see my picture on FaceBook in some compromising position. I’m also not a big gossiper so soap opera posts and bitch-fests aren’t present on my page either. But I am a transplant with two kids, a mother and sister that live in Florida and a slew of family in New York. FaceBook helps me keep them more engaged in my life and the lives of my children. But when it comes to interacting with business associates, I don’t need all that personal noise interfering with our business. I mean, I wouldn’t invite a prospective business client to my son’s birthday party then try to listen to his needs while I’m cutting the cake.
Google+ circles offer an elegant workable solution for small business owners who want to remain multi-faceted individuals even online. It gives you the control to target specific messages to specific contacts and to interact with them in appropriate forums. I like that. It means I don’t have to explain to my mom what an “SEO Seminar” is and why I invited her to attend.
I’ll go into more detail about other new features already being offered in Google+ that can benefit small business owners, but right now, I want to talk about what else Google is looking to throw into the Google+ mix that will make it the premiere social network for businesses.
Google + and Google Apps for Business
More than 3 million businesses are already using Google productivity apps today. They include email, Google Maps, Google Apps for Business and Google Analytics. Ufuk Kayserilioglu reports that Google is currently testing Google+ interfaces with these existing services and they’ve begun to offer additional email storage upgrades for a fee. Could it be they are anticipating a growth in service usage? It seems highly possible.
The Growing Popularity of Android
Additionally, Google’s reach is no longer limited to the browser. A ClickZ.com study of 20,000 mobile device users revealed that 39% were using the Android operating system (read “the Google Android operating system”). That’s was 11% higher than those using the Apple OS and 19% higher than those using RIM Blackberry. This means that Google will be able to compete in the mobile app arena and could possibly deliver a more integrated solution with Google+ and Analytics. And who doesn’t like seamless integration?
Google+ and Google Wallet with Single Tap & Google Offers
Google Wallet is another app designed for Android and now being tested on certain phone systems that could be a HUGE game changer for not only how we do business but how we live our lives. The single tap feature (recently launched Single Tap) makes purchases as easy as tapping your phone to a reader. Google launched Single Tap with support from Citibank, but they have already said they will eventually work with all the major banks in the credit card market.
Equally as interesting, Google Offers, now offered in limited metro markets, emails individuals daily deals similar to a Groupon or LivingSocial deal. Their advantage here is two-fold: First, the deals tie-in with Google Wallet, so when you purchase, you automatically get the discount – even if you weren’t aware there was one. Second, all these tools only serve to enhance what Google knows about a person and it can put that information to use very effectively with Google Offerings. The result is they can offer businesses even higher quality target marketing. On the one hand, that should be great news for business, although it also gives Google good reason to raise their ad rates, which could have an impact on smaller budgets.
With all these factors at play, Google+ has the potential to be the most effective SMB marketing tool to date. I’m glad to invite you to the party. Just ask for an invite in the comments area. Then join the party and start developing your strategy for the business release.
Need help getting started on Google+ and other social media networks?
Contact me at Ahh! Interactive Marketing and grow your business today.
- Serious Entrepreneurs Should Be on Google+ (benzinga.com)
- Google buys local daily deals site The Dealmap (news.consumerreports.org)
- The Need For Speed (mediapost.com)