The Bright Side of Google+ For Your Business
Where were you when Google + unveiled their brand pages to the world that November morning? If we had to be honest with the little voice in our heads, we knew half of our nerdy marketing-persona was feeling giddy with delight to plaster our brand name all over Google +. The other half, that rational little pessimist within us all, had to cringe at the thought of yet another social media site to manage. For we knew the dilemma facing many marketers today: social media is a time investment. And if time is money, would Google+ be a leach on your company’s dime, or a VERY worthy investment?
Wherever you might have been on the seventh of November last year, in your heart you knew what had to be done; you knew Google was no ma-and-pa start-up. Here was the behemoth of all tech gods making its own contribution to the biggest marketing development in the last hundred years- a little thing known as ‘social media’.
Your business had to be on Google+ that morning, and if isn’t already I’m sure your competitors are eager to take the edge. At 100 million users strong, and growing, believe me when I say that edge is very real.
For many of us, Google+ seemed like a cheap rip-off of Facebook(without your friends on it), but as the months have passed, and the hype has tempered down, Google has made it a point to make up for any initial indifference, by going hard where Facebook has consistently fallen weak: The Search Engine.
Time to get re-enchanted with Google, and drown out the pessimist within us all by looking at the bright side of Google+ for your business.
Google recently launched personalized search results using Google +.
What this means is that if anyone in your circle has talked about, +1’d, or posted something relevant to your search, a small icon will appear showing the person’s/brand’s icon.
For example, after searching “Business Review Canada” a few personal results came up that are relevant to my own preferences-take a look:
As you can see Business Review Canada’s and Editor Kristin Craik’s icon (who are both in my personal circles) appear alongside the search results. This is actually pretty brilliant, and will be incredibly useful once the user base expands on Google+. It means that a person is more likely to click on your own links if they’ve been mentioned or interacted by a trusted source in your circle.
That also gives “the little guys” an unfair advantage. If your business is having a hard time ranking to the first page of Google, these personalized results could filter through noise and have your page seen by active users on the platform.
The takeaway here is to promote your branded page among worthy influencers and professionals in your respective industries. If a major authority in your industry has given your page the needed ‘social proof’ of a +1 or circle add, your company is more likely to be trusted by new users visiting your site.
+TIP:Make a list of all the big names, companies, professionals on Google+ related to your brand. Make it a point to create a weekly activity on their pages by giving them a quick +1 or dropping a thoughtful comment on their pages. That way your brand name will be more visible in your industry conversations, you’ll grow your +1’s and circle count, while massively improving corporate SEO results!
If Google+ were a college party, the site would rightfully be deemed a “Sausage Fest”. That’s because 80 per cent of the users are all male! But don’t let that scare you off ladies (and gentlemen).
The good news is that Google+ is currently full of professionals. Many of these professionals are using Google+ as the alternative to LinkedIn to display more of their work history on their profile, and have the convenience of external interactions to these updates like a +1 or comment. It keeps their work history public and interactive without the personal conflict of Facebook. If your brand Facebook page is weak on engagement, Google+ may prove useful in attracting these individuals!
+Tip to take away:Use your Google+ account to showcase your personal business knowledge with lengthier updates allowed on the platform and links to useful articles. Keep your “About” section in professional terms for SEO and keep your Facebook private for the mimosa guzzling punk rock side of your life.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”