Rolling out "Pilot Programs" Can Get Companies Ahead in Local Google+ Marketing
Ryan Buddenhagen, March 2, 2012
We have touched on Google+, its worth, applicability, and where it will likely go in the future a good amount lately, and most recently in a blog post by JWersits. Google+ is firmly carving out its own dimension within social media and will not likely look like the archetypal social media platform that we've come accustomed to seeing (not that one true standard exists, but a site that allows users to share and engage with each other in the basic ways that Facebook and others offer). With that said, it will most-likely continue to grow and increase its relevance for personal users and businesses alike, especially given its relevance for Google Search Plus Your World results.
Now, it is becoming increasingly clear businesses that get in early with Google+ can achieve substantial immediate gains, but more importantly, test out their marketing strategy on the platform and have it in place and humming when (more likely than if) the platform really takes hold. This approach takes the form of a pilot program. As such, Google+ has SEO worth in and of itself, but potential gains greatly increase when considering that Google+ does not usually stand alone but is worked into a larger, more comprehensive marketing strategy that includes SEO and ppc management. Large brands have already seen a great rise in the number of followers they have, but optimizing Google+ content focusing efforts on local may prove the most beneficial. A great piece from Search Engine Watch discusses how brands can strategize their pilot programs to get the most of their early actions on Google+.
Two of the most important factors are optimizing with locally relevant content and supplying fresh content (that followers actually want). First, we're talking about localized action so content on the Google + page needs to be optimized with proper geographic terms and product/service/industry keywords according to SEO principles used for Title Tags, Description Tags, and other Meta Tags.
Secondly, it's not enough to have a presence on Google+; the account needs to be active, and consistently active at that. Sections where posts occur and engagement is achieved cannot lay dormant. One way to learn what company followers want in terms of content is to simply engage them and…ask. Often overlooked, this kind of transparent dialogue is welcomed. Engage followers through promotional surveys and interactive polls that give the company a better idea of the content its customers would enjoy and share with their connections. Additionally, it is essential to localize the post and make them relevant to customers in that specific area. They are more likely to pass the information on when that relevance and value is achieved.
JWesists touches on the issue of having realistic timelines in his post (referenced above) and the value in Google+ if companies just give it time. Businesses can put themselves in a highly advantageous position if they do take a long-term perspective on Google+. They can put in the time and effort now on the front-end and grow with the platform, consistently adapting their SEO and marketing strategies. Companies that operate internationally have even greater potential gains to strive for. Employing international SEO within Google+ to gain exposure in new markets around the world allows customers to test out marketing messages and approaches based on cultural considerations. This can then inform how they engage their customer-base in these places off-line as well. Employing such a pilot approach will ultimately enable businesses to achieve positive gains in the short-term but also give them tools and know-how (specific to their company, customer-base, industry, and market) that will prove invaluable when Google+ likely becomes a necessity and others are rushing to gain a presence at that point and learn how to leverage it.