Facebook gets so much press it’s easy to forget that other social networks exist. But as we all know, there are several more, including an interesting platform by the name of Google+. The search giant rolled out its social network in the summer of 2011 and never looked back. In fact, it has grown considerably in both size and potential, particularly in terms of the value if offers to brands.
If it isn’t Facebook, it’s Twitter the gurus are suggesting we dedicate our attention to. Those sites have a lot to offer, but it’s beyond the time to focus on how email marketing can help improve email marketing results.
A Whole New World
The collective eyes of the email marketing community lit up with hope when learning that social media offered access to an even larger audience than they had at their fingertips before. Those campaigns sent to dozens of subscribers in the inbox could now reach hundreds or even thousands of potential subscribers. Google+ offers similar access and believe it or not, its reach is just as impressive as some of the familiar social giants.
According to a report by Global Web Index, Google+ has 343 million users, which accounts for 25% of the global internet population. What I find most interesting about this number is that it propels the site past Twitter as the second largest social network. Google’s social platform has more than enough eyes for the newsletters, updates, and promotions you share via email. Plus it gives you the all tools to make connections and bank on that visibility.
Google+ gives its users several interesting features to play with. At the basic level is Circles, a simple feature that can be extremely useful to email marketers. Circles lets you create multiple groups out of your list of friends. For instance, one circle could be designated to “associates”, another one to “team members”, another one to “prospects” — you get it. It’s a lot similar to how you create segments such as “customers”, “members”, and “new subscribers” from your master mailing list.
Beyond segmentation, Google+ actually allows you to target the circles you create. So when you go to share the newsletter you originally deployed through the email channel, you can share it with certain people opposed to everyone in your circles — perhaps a group you have identified as most likely to pass it along to others. This one feature gives the platform an edge, and familiarity that is appreciated by email marketers who understand the importance of targeted engagement.
A Place to Call Your Own
Businesses started looking at Google+ with an all new fire in their eyes when pages were rolled out for the platform. The fuel behind that passion is easy to grasp when realizing what an ideal match a good page makes for your email campaigns. Your page, for example, could be the destination that treats subscribers to product info, full articles, or even video content designed to move them along the cycle. Approach it like a landing page, and it can play a huge role in helping you score conversions.
There has been much discussion regarding Google+ and how much traction it really has. Sure, it has the numbers, but does it have the activity? While it isn’t as lively as Facebook, simply browsing the site reveals that it does indeed have a strong pulse. And being less active could be an advantage from a competitive standpoint. At this point, it is still possible to qualify as one of the first to get marketing on Google+ right.
More Wouldn’t Hurt
Google+ is a powerful tool as is, but could be even more valuable with a few adjustments. One of its biggest drawbacks is Google’s unwillingness to collaborate with other key players in the social space. As of now, the company offers very limited access to the platform’s API. While this has been helpful minimizing the spam that plagues Facebook, it limits its email marketing value. For example, a tightly guarded core is the reason you can’t put a G+ button in your email newsletter that lets user share it with their circles right from the inbox.
Already, Google+ is one of the most important channels in the social space. Just when it seems as if the tech world is ready to count it out, there is another addition or update that forces everyone to pay attention. If you’re an email marketer, this platform may be attractive enough to convince you to take action.
About the guest author: Francis Santos is a writer for Benchmark Events, a best practices event marketing company.
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