Using Google+ For B2B Marketing
Does your brand relate to existing customers the same way it relates to new leads just dropping into your pipeline? Probably not. You know that they have different needs, different questions, and different aspirations for the relationship they share with you.
Yet, what do you get every feed-driven social media platform but one? You get to drop your content into a single continuous feed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that puts the same content in front of all your followers, regardless of where they are in their relationship with you.
There is only one social media platform that allows you to relate to your different constituents in different ways. Google+.
With Circles, Google+ allows brands to group customers and prospective customers in ways that are meaningful to the brand and to control the content that is shared with the members of each circle.
Segregating constituents into categories instead of treating all prospects and existing customers the same and then delivering content that is targeted to that particular category of customers or prospects immediately increases the value of the content and the relationship reflected by the content.
Customers and prospects will recognize the difference instantly.
The Engagement Dynamic
Customer engagement is not just push, and it’s not just pull, it is bi-directional. Without the bi-directional dynamic there is no real online relationship. The real value of the engagement dynamic is that it represents an investment in a relationship from both ends. Effort, attention, and time are not trivial resources. When these elements are invested, relationships progress, and over time, rapport, respect and loyalty are the result.
When the engagement happens publicly as it does on Google+, others see witness the investment from both sides and this ripples through the online community touching everyone who sees it. People see your brand answering questions, meeting needs, and delivering value to people who represent brands like their own, and they want some of that goodness. The social engagement dynamic allows brands to deliver and capture value.
Ultimately, brands want engagement to result in sales. This is where brands have to be creative. Every customer segment is going to be slightly different in terms of their needs and the conversations that need to take place. To lead prospects through the pipeline, brands must control the conversation through differentiation and delivering value.
Beyond Likes and +1s
While Google+ lets brands do social media better than any other social network today, Google+ can also seem as superficial as any other social media platform. There is still no way to discern the intent behind a “Like” or a “+1.”
One of the real value propositions for brands on Google+ is the degree to which Google+ is integrated with Google Search and the positive impact this can have on SEO rankings. In this regard, Google+ takes social networking beyond the social network. The impact on search rankings is two-fold, and both impacts are important for brands.
Improved search rankings on search strings that are frequently used on the internet as a whole can make the difference between whether a new prospect looks at your site before looking at a competitors–or maybe never getting to you competitor’s site because your content was just what the doctor ordered.
The other benefit, especially to small and mid-sized businesses is the local search visibility angle. By registering your business page on Google+ and pairing it with your address in Google Maps, you brand is more likely to show up in search results that have a local context. For example, your brand may be an international publishing company, but someone is looking for publishing companies in ‘YourCity,’ your brand will get preferred ranking in the search results over other publishing companies not on Google+.
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These are just a few of the ways Google+ is the place to be for B2B brands. Most people don’t seem to know that Google+ is the second largest social network out there, second only to Facebook. But, because of its integration with many of Google’s other products, it is much more than a social media platform. And, it does social better, especially for the way brands need to do social. Want to know more about Google+ now? Just Google it.