Everyone is talking about Google+. Is it going to kill Facebook? Is it going to kill Twitter? When will businesses be allowed on Google+?
As a marketer or community manager, you’ve built up followings and relationships on Facebook, Twitter and more. Maybe you’re afraid that will all come crumbling down, or you’re exhausted at the thought of having another social media channel to manage.
What should you do?
1. Don’t panic!
Luckily for businesses, Google didn’t have business pages ready to go. Yes, I said luckily. I know it was ugly when Google started evicting brands from their new Google+ pages, but this was actually a good thing. You now have time to learn before you leap.
2. Get familiar with personal page functions now.
Create a personal Google+ page, and have people on your team do the same. Test out the features and talk about what features your audience seems to be using most. Notice that you can also use these features for business purposes:
- Circles – You have time now to name your circles thoughtfully, so do that. Plan out how you want to segment people you follow and people who follow you. Now you can follow back customers and separate their stream of posts from other streams. You’ll be able to segment your messages and send out more targeted info and promotions.
- Hangouts – Video chat with your team and test out potential customer service uses. Role play and practice potential scenarios so you’ll be able to experiment and prepare away from the public eye. Even better, test out Hangouts as an informal focus group tool. You’ll have a chance to get small groups together and chat with them on a regular basis. (Remember this also when naming your circles.)
- Huddle – Test crisis response. Huddle allows you to text as a group, as you would talk as a group in a conference call. A perfect scenario for using this function is any sort of emergency. For example, you have a public relations nightmare brewing and it’s after hours. You need to get your team together quickly and share messaging. You can do it by text. Get comfortable using Huddle now so you don’t have to fumble around when speed of reaction is crucial.
Start brainstorming now on all fronts, so you’ll be ready to implement once Google+ brand pages become open to you.
3. Stay up to date on business beta pages.
Follow Ford Motor Company, who is one of the first brands to have a Google+ page. Read everything you can about Google+ business pages. And, if you can get in on the beta phase do so.
4. Pay more attention to your Twitter and Facebook followers.
What are they saying about Google+? Are your follows and likes decreasing or are they still increasing? Poll Facebook and Twitter users in your streams who are also using Google+. Get their thoughts on what they want to see from brands there.
5. Start working on your Google+ page now.
How will you migrate followers and information from other social channels? How will you integrate your marketing efforts? Get photos ready to display and videos ready to load. Have an editorial plan ready to go.
Yes, you may have to make changes once the final version of Google+ business pages is released, but you will already be ahead of the game, instead of at square one.
I just started on Google+ too, so if you want to connect with me there, follow this link. We can keep talking there about how to use this new social media channel to engage with your audience.