Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Series: The Handmade Community and Google +

What is Google +?  This post is general in nature and serves as an education to future posts.  I will go into detail in future posts about a variety of Google + topics.  My goal in this post is to help connect some dots as to why you should consider joining the Google + bandwagon for marketing your business.

In a nutshell Google + (G+) is Google's way of going social - again (Google Profiles and Google Buzz were first attempts).  Yes, it's one more thing to add to your list to keep on top of. But it's different, I promise!   It is brand new.  It launched by invitation only in June 2011.  I was lucky enough to get an invitation and started playing around with it and still haven't played with all the features it can do.  Due to overwhelming demand, the entire social network was opened up in September.  G+ has much more privacy control than any other social media. You control what is seen by who.  There's no adding you to some group, no tagging you in photos you don't want to be seen in, all those annoying things that Facebook does.  You see what you choose to see.  If you tag someone on G+, only that person sees your post.  How cool is that?  You're in control. 

I bore you with these details to preface anything G+ you see or read about is all new and we're all learning together.  Even us marketers are learning as we go.  From what some of us can tell, this could ultimately aid in SEO.  I say this because having a Google + account whether personal or a page and +1 button all over the Internet, it would be hard pressed not to show a connection.  The more +1 something gets, the more it tells the Google Gods, Wow, this must be important, we better rank this higher. But again, it's still new and theories are just beginning.   But it is Google, and from what I've learned, it's best to see what they're doing whether it becomes a dud or success. 

I need to start out by defining some of the main features that Google + has to offer so as I explain some processes, and it will make sense.

#1 Profile -You'll need a Google Account if you haven't already.  It is the easiest thing to set up. It's very intuitive.  If you use gmail, you already have an account.  You will see in your Google toolbar in the upper left corner "+ You"  click that and it will get you started on your G+ profile.  Click here if you need to set up a Google Account.

#2 Page - Very similar to your G+ profile, but is about your business. Now you can add a Business page under your profile.  You will find a Create Page green button on your Profile Home page. After you create your page, you will see a carrot that drops down your page, click and you're on your business page.  You can have multiple pages as well.  I won't go into this too much as this time unless there is demand.   There are some functions that don't happen on a page that I hope will change as the program develops.  Pages has only been released a matter of weeks.  

A FEW DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PROFILES AND PAGES
  • Pages can’t add people to circles until the page is added first or mentioned.  Profiles add people to circles.
  • Pages can be made for a variety of different entities (more than one G+ page) whereas profiles can only be made for people.
  • Pages default privacy setting is public.  Profiles choose get to choose privacy settings.
  • Pages have the +1 button.  Be sure once you have a Profile and Page set up to +1 others.  Here's a post of mine to tell you how to add the + 1 button to your blog
  • Pages can’t +1 other pages, nor can they +1 stuff on the Web.  Profiles do!  + 1 a way
  • Pages can’t hangout on a mobile device.  I hope this will change in the future.  It's vital to mobile marketing.  I'm sure it's the mobile technology and not Google.

#3 Circles - this is critical and what differentiates itself from other social networking sites. You can create a variety of circles or groups of people (network).  I have many circles all segmented by Jewelry Makers, Knitters, Marketing Tips, Food, etc... So as someone adds me to their circle of choice, I'm notified (how I set my settings), I can then choose to ignore or add them to one of my circles - they won't know!  It's done in one click.  Easy peasy.  This is a marketers dream for market segmentation.  You do not want to blanket your audience with the same message.  

Every market is different and should be messaged differently. Two instances:  
  1. Take Twitter...as business owners, you should not mix business and personal.  But in order to do that on Twitter you have to have 2 different accounts to maintain that.  What a pain.  Google +, because of the Circles, allows you to send a post out that only your family and friends can read for example, and no one else can because they're in a different circle.  Facebook doesn't like for you to have multiple personalities either. So this is hard to do as well without multiple accounts which again, is a pain to maintain. 
  2. Two, if you sell male and female segmented products, you don't necessarily want to send a general message out to males for long dangly feather earrings.  You'll want to send that to your customers you've added to your circles you know who will be interested, or other pertinent markets or Circles. It's all in the messaging.  I'll get into this much more in a future post. *Which by the way, the majority of G+ users at this time are male!  If you have a male dominated product, you need on G+ NOW!
I hope this is helps answer some questions about what Google + is and what it can do for your handmade business.  Next post I'll plan on explaining the use of Circles from a marketing standpoint especially.

Please let me know if you want to see something specific or have any questions. Such as detailed how to set up a profile, page, or whatever.  I'll answer them! 

10 comments:

  1. Awesome Article... Well written! Thank you!

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  2. I've been waiting for more on this subject from you. Clearly written. I've got the G profile and G+ page. I haven't done much interaction on the page yet. I'll be keeping up as you go along. Cheers, Marian

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  3. Awesome info, thank you! Doing the google thing is on my list of things to do for 2012, so I'm glad to know I can come here to get the low-down.

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  4. Thank you Marian. I hope to post once a week. But with the holidays, we'll see. And I'm moving too. I like to punish myself.

    Primal - You're welcome! Hope it's helpful.

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  5. Thank you for the great information on the G+. I have a G Profile, but didn't really know anything about the G+. I am going to look into getting me a G+ account soon.
    Thank you,

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  6. You're welcome Mixed Kreations! Good luck. I'll have more info to come soon.

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  7. Thanks for this detailed explanation...I was clueless and will re-read tomorrow and check it all out.
    Merry and happy everything!

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  8. I've heard great things about G+ from other photographers and it is very intriguing. I use my iPad a lot and it seems like G+ is not compatible.....yet. Thanks for th info. Definitely increases my interest.

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  9. Thanks Rachel for reading.
    I'll be posting more soon about it once I get more settled. I'm just keeping up right now after moving.

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