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Phillips & Company adds Google+ to social marketing strategy

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By Felicia M. Rateliff – Senior Manager of Marketing

Why a B2B public relations firm joined the emerging social media channel, and how it is changing everything.

            It has been the practice at Phillips & Company, as a leader in communications, to have a strategic social media presence on channels that allow us to convey our brand to our target audience. We deliberately chose to communicate only on Twitter and LinkedIn (originally) because these were networks for business. Our social media strategy from the beginning has been to share content that promotes and defends thought leadership, not just putting out posts and links to attract more followers. We elected not to be part of Facebook or Google+ because of their “social” nature. We didn’t feel that the audience matched our message…until now.

Months ago it was brought up that we needed to look into our search ranking. Just as research was being done to improve SEO, Google launched its Hummingbird algorithm, which changed the way search happens. Long story short, we discovered that although Google+ seemed to be only an emerging social playground, it is actually a powerful force in promotion of all things digital for brands.

After extensive research by our marketing team on the pros and cons, functions, and key benefits, we dove into Google+ last month. Admittedly, it is a new means of sharing content and engaging online for Phillips & Company. As such, we would like to share our findings, and help others to learn with us. Here is some information we have gathered:

How Google+ helps businesses

Google+ IS Google – as explained in a recent Live Hangout interview on Using Google+ for Business by Ryan Hanley and Martin Shervington (of Plus your Business): Shervington stated, “You don’t need to convince CEOs and CMOs to be onboard Google+, just produce content. It’s all coming together. The importance is becoming known because Google+ IS search.”

What Hanley and Shervington meant by that is that each and every Google+ post is its own URL, or “page” on the internet. Google references mentions, +1’s (likes), shares, and comments that are connected to other websites and pages on the internet. Websites that are mentioned by more influential Google users will rank higher in searches.

Trying to avoid Google+ will seriously hurt your search. There is now no such thing as a Google account that doesn’t have a Google+ page. If you want your business to be listed in Google Places, show up on Google Maps, or have a Youtube channel, you will need to have a Google+ page because they are all connected. Not having a G+ page is like having an unfinished website live, out there floating around the internet. Furthermore, if you have multiple Google accounts for one business, it confuses search engines, making it even harder for anyone to find your website.

Google+ is a relationship builder – Twitter and LinkedIn provide a means to build online relationships, but they allow only limited one-on-one conversation. Ryan Hanley stated that G+ most closely resembles real-life relationship building and networking. Conversation starts online when businesses or individuals comment on topics and posts. If engagement continues, the relationship can move forward into a “live” meeting through a Google Hangout. This could lead to face-to-face meetings, or vice versa. G+ is revolutionary because it can bridge the gap between online and real-life business relationships.

Google+ allows limitless content that can be edited – There are no limits to the length of content that is posted on G+. Posts can be similar to blogs, but they also permit referencing to other users with the @ function and #hashtagging. Once posted, the post can be edited anytime, and as many times as needed. Comments aren’t limited either, so a stream of conversation about a topic is built over time.

Google+ Hangouts provide communication among teams, clients, and ecosystem – Hangouts allow multiple users to communicate live, with chat, comments, and screen sharing. This is similar to GoToMeeting but taken a step further. Because Google+ profiles and pages are directly connected to Youtube channels, a presentation can be viewed in real time, and/or shared out afterward. Comments and conversation on a presentation continue after the event is over.

In a Hangout, the presenter has the option of live recording, or sharing screens, presenting a huge amount of options for participation and sharing. Events can be scheduled in advance, and attendees can share in anticipation. Once again, a URL is assigned to the event, helping the SEO of the presenter. After a presentation is recorded, the presenter can download the M4v from Youtube, edit it into smaller chunks, and repurpose it into even more useable content such as e-courses, tutorials or promotional spots.

How Google+ is changing marketing, communications, media and public relations

          Because of the multiple functions of Google+, it is being used to present information to the public faster than any other social network. Newscasters, such as Sarah Hill (first person to ever use a Google Hangout on a live news broadcast) are using Hangouts to report on events in real time. Reporters and marketing communications pros are taking Hangouts to the streets, doing interviews on the fly, uploading them to Youtube and sharing them out on other social networks. This creates a new layer in promoting an event, company or organization. (Note: Sarah Hill still does some reporting for KOMU in Columbia, Missouri, the home city of this post’s author – MIZ-ZOU!)

Advice for the new Google+ user (Phillips included)

Hanley & Shirvington gave this advice in their podcast:

  • Know that people care more about themselves than they do you. Spend more time going to online events, commenting on posts, sharing, +1-ing. Get the attention of the people and organizations that you want to engage with. Form relationships.
  • Google+ pages are like “shops.” To have a good shop, you must have nice signs, good products on display, people browsing, and then talking about your shop afterward. You also have to market your shop to get people to come to it (building relationships).
  • Create helpful, engaging content for your “shoppers” once they are coming to your page looking for it.
  • The combination of relationships and great content are the ingredients for building brand evangelists who will share your Google+ page, therefore sharing your company!
  • Once you have a following, discover your niche content, or “have a thing.” This will keep followers coming back because they will anticipate your expertise in that niche area.

Need help?

Phillips & Company, while new to the Google+ community, is well versed in the ins and outs of social media marketing. We have a proven track record with helping companies build their online presence. Contact us today for more details, and join our conversation on Google+! (google.com/+PhillipsCompanyAustin)

 

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