Google Makes Two Announcements
Google made a couple of announcements these past few days that you should know about. One is about moving Google+ in a new, better direction which will make your social media efforts more effective on the platform. Another concerns what customers see when they research your business (and it’s a good one).
Google+ Is Here to Stay
Google will detach Google+ from some of their products over the next few months. This means you will no longer need a Google+ account to become a user on sites like Youtube. Media outlets and blogs have announced this as the “death of Google+” but it doesn’t look that way. This will allow us to use more Google products without a public Google+ profile. It will, in effect, make Google+ “more focused, more useful, [and] more engaging”.
Google already centralizes their services under one Google account. Needing a public Google+ profile to comment on Youtube videos was cumbersome. From its implementation, it felt like a desperate grab for users. The change was to dissuade people from leaving abusive comments. With a real name and photo attached, it enforced accountability. I can tell you, from personal experience, it didn’t work.
Future of Google+
Google+ was in a confusing state. Was it a social media platform or a public front for your Google account? Instead of “killing Facebook“, it killed its own potential. Now that it stands as an independent platform again, it has another chance. This is a clear move that Google has a plan for the service.
Original image: Jason Howie on Flikr
I hope they optimize Google+ into a new kind of social networking platform for mobile use. We don’t need a “Facebook killer”. We need a new way to interact with each other, consume media, and shop online. If Google+ can impact any one of those needs, it will succeed and achieve sustainability.
So don’t worry about those reviews you worked hard to collect through the platform. Google does not plan to kill Google+ no matter what the pundits say. Continue to use Google+ to connect to customers and gather feedback. If things go well, the network will increase and so will your reach on the platform.
Google Can Now Help You Avoid Long Lines
Case in point, Google used their own Google+ profile to announce a new feature. Customers can now see your business’s busiest times of the day when they search for you. It’s currently available only for mobile browsers like Safari and Chrome–not the Google app.
Feature demonstration from Google’s official Google+ page
Now you know the best time to stop at your local grocery store or pizza parlor to avoid the crowds. AJ Ghergich proposes spying on competitors and running promotions during their slow periods. Other than cool espionage missions, this is useful information for businesses. Granted, you might already have more detailed tracking information of foot traffic. It’s still important to know what customers incorporate in their research.
Google and the Buyer’s Process
It’s important to know small updates like these to Google’s interface. 72% of customers begin their research of a business on Google so it’s important to know what they’ll see. So what else do customers do when researching a business? Next week, I will talk more about the buyer’s process. We’ll look at the “journey” a customer goes through in choosing a business for their services.