Practical Ecommerce

Ecommerce Marketing on Google+

As Google rolls more features and functions into Google+, marketing on the new and fast growing social media network is increasingly important.

Last week, Google announced the launch of Google+ Local, which provides users with recommendations and information about local businesses including restaurants and retailers. The service looks like a combination of Google Places and Yelp! and seems like it could potentially create new marketing opportunities for businesses.

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Google+ Local is the most recent update to the search company’s growing social network.

Google+ Local is the most recent update to the search company’s growing social network.

Google had previously integrated its profiles with Google+, included Google+ content in search results — more on this below — and more closely aligned Google+ with the popular Gmail service.

Google+ Matters

Earlier this year Google+ reached 100 million users, including about 44 million in the U.S. It had taken the new social media network seven months to reach the milestone. By comparison, Facebook took four and a half years to reach 100 million; Twitter took five years and two months to reach 100 million; and LinkedIn took eight years and ten months to acquire 100 million users.

Beyond user count, Google+ content, as mentioned above, is included in Google’s search results. So having good Google+ presence may improve how a business performs in organic search results.

Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger, wrote that “building an audience on Google+ may be the smartest thing you can do as a content marketer when it comes to improved search rankings. You still need to understand the language of your audience and reflect it back in your content, but Google will now have direct indications that you’re putting out quality stuff.”

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Google integrates Google+ content into search results pages.

Google integrates Google+ content into search results pages.

Search results expert Danny Sullivan described the integration of Google+ results, even private ones, into Google search results, as the “most radical transformation ever.”

Whether or not Google+ integration in search results is truly radical, it should be considered.

Google+ Marketing Ideas

Google+ offers a few opportunities for marketers.

Just like on Facebook or Twitter, marketers can easily publish content, offer discounts, or otherwise encourage links on Google+. There are no character limits, and integrating video, particularly video hosted on YouTube is seamless.

For example, clothing retailer H&M — one of the most popular brands on Google+ — recently published a 31-photo Autumn and Winter “lookbook,” featuring some of the company’s forthcoming products.

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H&M's Google+ page can be a good example for marketers.

H&M’s Google+ page can be a good example for marketers.

Similarly, the Amazon Google+ page, which has nearly 300,000 users following it, frequently offers discounts or specials.

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Amazon is actively publishing content, including offering discounts for interaction, on its Google+ page.

Amazon is actively publishing content, including offering discounts for interaction, on its Google+ page.

Google+ also offers “Hangouts,” which are similar to hosting an online meeting. Businesses could use Hangouts to introduce new products, put a very human and responsive face on customer service, or get immediate feedback from customers.

As a third marketing idea, Google+ is very friendly to photography, making it easy to upload images and display those images. Retailers, as an example, can post new products image or even insider photography.

Google+ Concerns

I have a couple of Google+ marketing concerns. For example, some studies indicate that Google+ users only spend about three minutes a day using the service, which is very low in the context of social media engagement.

A second concern is that Google+ does not allow posts from third-party tools. This means that there is presently no way to automate posts. Perhaps, this is intentional since some have argued that automated social media posts broadcast to every possible channel are simply a new form a spam.

Summing Up

Google+ is growing both in terms of features and users. Marketers interested in engaging customers where they are might be wise to use Google’s social network.

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Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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Comments ( 6 )

  1. Derek Bacharach June 7, 2012 Reply

    Sure Google+ is getting better but can it convert to ecommerce sales?

  2. Stefan Kahr June 7, 2012 Reply

    we tried to start marketing on google+ with http://www.quatengo.com. but there are not a lot of user on google+ so the audience is very small

  3. Mitch Rezman June 7, 2012 Reply

    We started seeing a couple of conversions in spite of ignoring G+ Now posting daily

  4. Mark Garner June 7, 2012 Reply

    The recent changes to G+ have now made it far worse than when it was first launched.

    1: The new interface is way slower than the original one, almost to the point of making it unuseable.

    2: The G Places G Local changeover has so far been a botch up. Presently there’s no way of moving your Places business listing to G+ Local and there’s no word from Google as if and when this will even be possible.

    3: The new interface also makes things harder to find and access.

    I liked the original G+, but Google keeps making changes that don’t do the service any favours.

  5. Paul Chaney August 15, 2012 Reply

    The lack of an API that would allow social media management tools to syndicate content make it almost a no go for me. Like many who read Practical Ecommerce, my time is limited and I don’t have the luxury of going to each and every site where I may want to contribute content. I do try to get to G+ daily, but don’t spend much time there.

  6. tawster August 21, 2012 Reply

    Google+ is now our primary platform for communication with our customers and members of our business community (beyond pressing the flesh).

    We post first to Google+ (much nicer experience and better interface), then use Twitter, Facebook, our website, mailing list, etc… to funnel folks to that posting. We used to use a blogging platform, but Google+ has, more or less, replaced that as well. This allows folks to consume content in one place… and respond anywhere they see fit.

    Photography management on Google+ is simply superior. Superior to even Flikr. We intend to do more video work and post that there as well.

    Communities: Google+, we have found, smokes the Facebook experience as far as networking within related communities surrounding our business. Business owners, if you are not spending time on Google+ and interacting with the communities found there, you are missing out. This is Google+’s biggest strength. It takes the best of Twitter and FB and does them better.

    Hangouts: We have not exploited this yet, but we have participated with others that have. Hangouts are *awesome*. We have participated with community-oriented hangouts with strangers that have been just… phenomenal. We’ll definitely take advantage of this in the future. We are just now building the strategy surrounding this. Plus… At the simplest level, Hangouts are just a great way to communicate with people you work with.

    Performance: Google+ is fast, except for when it is updating that counter in the upper right. I hope they are addressing that. Otherwise, G+ is much faster than Facebook usually. On the mobile app front, G+ wins hands down. Their mobile app is orders of magnitude better than Facebook’s app. Facebook really needs to address the performance (and aesthetic) gap there, and I suspect they will eventually. Google+ is just cleaner, more attractive, and more flexible.

    APIs: Yeah, there may be a legitimate gripe here. *but* I have ditched the "post to all places" tools (Note: There are tools out there that can post to G+,FB,and Twitter) The problem with these tools that they make all postings look like twitter messages. They don’t make postings look "native" enough. So, we spend the posting time on Google+ and make that perfect. Then we post a blurb and link to Twitter. Then copy that to Facebook and edit the link so that it looks "native" to FB. Otherwise, the user experience is subpar. Maybe tooling will improve in the future, but for now… I am not impressed with what is out there. We have gotten a really good response so far. If you are posting 20x a day, this can be a major PITA… but then again, if you are posting 20x a day… you are probably spamming your followers. :)

    Anyway. That is what we do. For now, we are sold on the Google+ model and are basing all that we do on it.

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