SMX live blog: ‘Getting Ahead With Google+’
It’s been over a year since Google CEO Larry Page stated Google+ is the “new DNA” for all aspects of Google. Not yet convinced Google+ is worth the effort? This session is for you. We’ll examine the flexibility to connect with followers, features unique to Google+ that marketers should know about, and the overall impact the platform has on social search.
Adam Audette, President, RKG (@audette)
Bob Stanke, Director, Interactive Services, Minnesota Timberwolves (@bobstanke)
Mark Traphagen, Director of Social Media Marketing, Virante Inc. (@marktraphagen)
Moderator: Monica Wright, Social Media Editor, Search Engine Land and Marketing Land (@monicawright)
Q&A Moderator: Alan K’necht, President/Founder, K’nechtology Inc.
What they said:
First up is Adam Audette of RKG, who tells the story of a “hoodied wizard” named Mark Zuckerberg who upset the happy land of search.
Google’s solution to this assault was, of course, Google Plus.
Now, even though adoption of the social network might be lackluster, Google still gets what they want.
“Regardless of the success and growth of Google Plus, they have relationships and context.” They have Google Authorship and rel=publisher. They understand the relationships they set out to understand.
Although Google is still figuring out what it’s doing with this social network, it’s still become a must for brands.
Adam uses the case study of the fashion brand Express, which Google Plus deemed a suggested brand to follow and saw their number of fans skyrocket because of it.
Adam says the Google Plus shift is an opportunity for brands but also means brands need to get better at becoming publishers.
“It’s early days and it’s Wild West,” but there’s still an early adopter advantage to Google Plus. And it’s also a valuable piece of real estate in search engine results pages.
Next up is Mark Traphagen of Virante, who says momentum has been building about Google Plus lately.
“People are just coming around to understanding what Google plus might be about.”
Links can be gamed, and Google knew it had to diversify its signals. The result was Google Plus.
And while most people perceive Google Plus to be a ghost town, “it’s already here to stay. Google is heavily, heavily invested in it” – and it’s influencing more and more of Google’s search results.
“I see a tremendous opportunity where Google has pulled open a curtain and said, ‘Come on in. Here’s how you can affect search results for marketing purposes.'”
When you look at Google Analytics and see (not provided), that’s telling you the number of visitors to your site who are logged into Google. That shows you the opportunity there. Virante sees numbers as high as 71% (not provided).
And if they’re logged in, you have the ability to claim much more real estate on the front page of Google through Google Plus.
Google Plus also offers Google Authorship, which gives you enhanced search results and protection of the content you produce.
“I used to get outranked for my own content all the time, ” Mark said, but since instituting authorship he hasn’t seen one instance of that anymore.
So what should you be doing right now for the Google Plus advantage?
- Optimize your page and profile: Add great images and careful branding. Keep your tagline short and keyword-rich. Take advantage of rich formatting to add links and make it look nice. Link to your social profiles across the web.
- Connect your content: Use rel=publisher and rel=author
- Post, engage and repeat. “Google Plus is Google.” The more you use it, the more of these advantages you’ll see. Even if you think your audience isn’t there, “go and create community. Be an early adopter.”
Finally, it’s Bob Stanke, who’s here to tell us how the Minnesota Timberwolves use Google + to share content and build community.
In sports, Bob says, access is a key driver. It used to be nearly impossible to get behind-the-scenes access, and traditional media got all the love.
“That’s all changing now. Things like Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook are giving us a chance to give fans an inside look at our teams.”
The Timberwolves used many different social media platforms but felt they lacked a way to get fans into the “inner circle.”
Google Plus provided them a way to display tons of photos, have Hangouts on Air for a direct channel that fans could own, and grow a small, focused community – Plus being a “ghost town” was actually an advantage for the Timberwolves.
Today they provide exclusive content like photos and videos for specific circles and became the first NBA team to do a Google Plus Hangout.
When people add the TImberwolves to their circles, the management team goes into the CRM and pulls up data on what level of member they are to determine what level of access they’ll have in Circles.
“This is the kind of stuff that fans love.”