In June of 2011, Google announced Google+, its next effort for social.
On the heels of the not-so-successful Wave project, Google+ is clearly intended as an amalgamation of many social services already on the market, but better.
With the company reportedly preparing to launch their official brand profiles platform by late fall, theyâ€™ve asked major brands to hold-off marketing their businesses on the outlet until formalized pages have been released.
Rumor has it this new platform will include an open API for applications and potentially good insight into data usage.
One of the challenges currently facing brands is the desire to have a Google+ presence for a number of reasons, one of which is to avoid impersonators. So, while many dove in and invested in brand pages at launch, they were disappointed to learn of the initial no brand accounts policy.
The important lesson is that, while brands are eager to rush into the latest and greatest new piece of technology (and potential competitor for Facebook), they must carefully consider their approach.
Since there is currently no formal corporate or organization offering on G+, the smartest moves for brands may be to waitâ€¦creatively.
The waiting period should consist of heavy experimentation with personal accounts to learn how to successfully navigate the uncharted Google+ waters on an individual basis so they will be prepared when a commercial option is made available.
The Google+ landscape is already loaded with consumersâ€”reportedly over 40 million usersâ€”and is growing daily, which already provides a substantial testing ground.
So, while investing in Google+ financially isnâ€™t the smartest move at the moment, marketers should invest their time in keeping up with the Internet buzz already surrounding it.
Itâ€™s a rare opportunity, because bloggers and technology advocates alike are taking their time and sharing their insights with the community, which isnâ€™t only made up of technology geeks, but everyday users and marketing communications professionals who are keen to explore new social territory.
Itâ€™s especially important to investigate since no one really knows what direction Google+ will take and how users will react to its changes over time.
However, there are a few things we can expect and should prepare for, such as the ability to drive paid search advertisements. Google currently holds approximately 65% of the U.S. search market and this key factor should be well noted by marketers when the official brand pages are launched later this year.
It would be unheard of for the search engine giant not to integrate search benefits into Google+ as it grows, which would likely include solid analytics reporting.
The only downfall we see to this feature would be the potential anti-trust and monopoly concerns.
That being said, an area where Google will have an edge over Facebook is in their ability to creatively leverage the design of their user interface to create engaging and interactive advertising opportunities.
We predict lots of skyscraper ads and rich media doors opening.
At the end of the day, the defining success factor for brands and marketers on Google+ over Facebook will be whether the search engine heavyweight learns from Facebookâ€™s successes and mistakes.
What remains to be seen is whether Google+ brand pages turn out to be much more than re-skinned versions of Facebookâ€™s. If that is the case, the battle of the brands will be over before itâ€™s begun, with Facebook clearly on top.
- What do you think of Google+ so far?
- Do you expect to incorporate brand pages into your businessâ€™ social media plan?
Originally written and published on Magnet Media, here.
Sasha H. Muradali owns the Little Pink Blog and Little Pink Book PR, LLC. Sasha holds a MA International Administration with a concentration in Intercultural Communication from the University of Miami (’08) and a BS Public Relations and Dance from the University of Florida (’07). She has been featured in Forbes, CNN and Business Week. Sasha tweets fervidly (@SashaHalima), loves Harry Potter and the colour pink. Get a copy of the Little Pink Blog delivered to your Kindle and ‘LIKE’ us on Facebook.
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