You've got to give it to Google. When it launched Google+ over a year ago, it said it was the real deal. Something the company was going to really invest in. And that's certainly been the case.
Whether or not you share my enthusiasm about the potential of Google Hangouts, the importance of Google+ for SEO or the impact of AuthorRank on thought leadership, you'll likely be intrigued by Google's latest new feature coming to a Google+ page near you soon.
I am, of course, talking about Google+ Communities, which launched late last week.
With all the recent changes to our favorite (or not so favorite) social networks with Facebook covers, Twitter header images and YouTube branded channels, businesses have had to redesign their images and rethink of how they represent themselves visually online.
This gave way to a lot of new creative campaigns on Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest but is has led to a lot of social media managers scrambling to get the images just right.
When Facebook announced that it was acquiring photo-based social network Instagram for $1bn in April, the upstart had around 30m registered users and less than 1m daily active users.
Today, Instagram boasts more than 100m registered users and more than 11m daily active users.
Not surprisingly, that has given brands seeking to expand beyond social networking stalwarts like Facebook and Twitter to give Instagram a look. And they're not just looking: according to new research published by social analytics firm Simply Measured, brand adoption of Instagram has jumped by 35% since August and more than half of the Interbrand 100 are now active on the service.
Love it or hate it, Google+ is here to stay so you may as well start trying to use it to your advantage. The overriding argument for getting on G+ is that, put simply: “It’s Google.”
Think how much of your traffic comes from search. Don’t you want to do everything you can to ensure that you maintain and improve your search rankings?
We’ve previously looked at how G+ and +1s impact SEO performance, and while there doesn’t yet appear to be a direct correlation between the two, there is evidence to suggest that sites with strong social profiles experience a strong uplift in organic traffic.
At Social Media Marketing 2012 Site Visibility’s Kelvin Newman took a closer look at the relationship between G+ and SEO.
He suggested that G+ was created as a way to help Google improve search results by giving it a better understanding of which websites are high quality and relevant by adding social proof.
Overcoming initial doubts about whether the world needed another social network, in just 15 months Google+ has grown from nothing to having more than 250m users.
On average users are on G+ 12 minutes a day, which is just shy of Facebook's average of 14 minutes a day and more than 1m brands now have G+ pages.
It has been helped in no small part by the fact that a strong presence on G+ has SEO benefits, but its continued growth is still testament to the fact that the network offers brands methods of communicating with consumers that can't be found on Facebook or Twitter.
The most obvious example is hangouts, which give brands a unique way of speaking to consumers face-to-face.
We recently trialled hangouts ourselves for the first time in a live chat about email marketing, and is certainly something we will be looking to do more of in future.
So with more brands starting to see the benefits of G+, I decided to compile a list of brands that had been quick to embrace the social network and are reaping the rewards...
Google+ Local, formerly Google Places, is a valuable resource for any retailer looking to use the web to drive offline sales.
In a nutshell, it allows businesses to create a listing (via a Google+ page) which will appear next to relevant, especially local, search results.
As more people use smartphones to search for local businesses, a well optimised Google+ Local listing is an essential.
This is something I covered in our recent How the Internet can Save the High Street report.
Here's why offline businesses should be creating a listing...
That there are significant differences between personal social networks, like Facebook, and professional social networks, like LinkedIn, seems obvious. But what are those differences exactly, and how do they manifest themselves in terms of actual usage?
To answer that question, LinkedIn turned to research firm TNS to conduct a survey of social network users and determine why they use the personal and professional social networks.
In the 15 months since the launch of Google+, over 250 million people are using it. Though many of commented on it being a ghost town, this is far from the case. On average, users are on Google + 12 minutes a day, which is just shy of Facebook's average of 14 minutes a day. With over one million brands jumping on the wagon (including over 50% of the top 100 US brands), this arena is growing rapidly. With 5 Billion plus ones per day, this has been the fastest global social share button in history.
Yes. Today I've been getting schooled on the world of Google Plus in my first session at Social Media Week Chicago. Though I was asked how many people are holding accounts to prevent brand jacking, the stats say that it's use is only growing and I'd argue, if you're just sitting on your brand page, you're missing a huge opportunity to get ahead of your competition.
At Econsultancy we often write about how you can experiment with different types of content with your marketing efforts so we thought we'd take our own advice and try our first Google Hangout: Finding Your Relevance with Email. We will be streaming this through our YouTube channel this Thursday, September 20 at noon EST.
In short, our Google Hangout will be like a conference panel, except no one needs to travel. It will feature:
- Nicole Delma, Director of Email Marketing of J. Crew
- Donald Parsons, Director of Global Email at Amazon
- Morgan Stewart, co-founder and CEO of Treadline Interactive
- And our own Stefan Tornquist, VP of Research, who will be our moderator
This session came about as we believe marketers are numb from hearing that they need to be relevant. Combat that by joining our experts to discover their secrets in creating email that is appointment viewing in the inbox.
To join or not to join. When it comes to new social sites, that is the question brands must ask themselves.
While social networks like Facebook and Twitter continue to be dominant, services like Pinterest and Instagram are attracting more and more individuals. Even Google's social network, Google+, which many were skeptical about, has managed to grow into a respectable channel with more than 100m active monthly users.