To coincide with the impending relaunch of its website, we start with a brief Q&A with Royal Bank of Scotland Group's Devang Chouhan on why G+ is a priority from a search perspective.
Why did you decide to open a G+ page?
As search has evolved, we expected search engines to give more weight to social signals while ranking search results.
When G+ launched it was expected to be deeply integrated with Google search - and this was confirmed with the arrival Search, plus your World (SPYW).
So optimising our page/site for Google search was the primary reason in creating our G+ page.
What are the benefits?
As mentioned search was our main reason, but G+ also opens up a new channel of communication with our customers and shareholders.
While its too early to comment on our specific plans, we might use certain G+ features like hangout to engage with our customers, shareholders or staff, and circles to share relevant content with right audience.
We can assume that G+’s influence will continue to grow as it gets integrated more and more into Google products like Search, YouTube, Blogger etc.
Do people engage with you via the platform?
We’ve just begun working with the platform and haven’t really publicised our page yet - but this will change as we look to integrate G+ in our new website.
What are the most important aspects to keep in mind before creating a page, and then when it's set up?
I know this sounds cliché but you should begin with a clear goal, what do you aim to achieve from the page and the platform and how would it benefit your customers? This holds true while creating any social media account.
Also once you create a page you need to have a dedicated team/resource who would look after that page – update it on a regular basis, engage with followers/customers and have the power or know the right people in the organisation to resolve customer problem or any issues they report.
Like all platforms, comments and mentions need to be monitored closely.
G+’s real-time aspect of the comment monitoring feed invites the possibility of businesses responding to all kinds of users within seconds.
What are the challenges?
I think there needs to be start-up culture within organisations to try out new networks. As in, to adopt a trial-and-error approach.
I know most of the organisations prefer adopting a more ‘wait and see’ attitude, especially with regards to social media.
By that I don’t mean an organisation needs to join every social network, but identify those that are relevant to them and their customers.
With regards to G+ I think there is a lot to be gained (and little to lose).
Do you think there's any difference in how a B2C might approach G+ than a B2B company?
No I don’t see any difference. The way I see it, even in B2B, a business is your customer but, of course, your products are different.
How do you see the future possibilities for RBS using G+?
G+ is still quiet new and the possibilities are endless so it all depends how it shapes up.
Google are yet to make the APIs available to developers, so it will be exciting to see the applications that the developer community creates.