The whole purpose behind social media is marketing. Obviously, there’s the concept of connecting people all over the globe and allowing them to share their lives with one another. But the way social media sites make money is by sharing products and brands. Endorsements for a particular company or product are much more meaningful if they come from someone you know and trust. So with that in mind, Google+ has introduced Shared Endorsements. When you give a positive review or recommendation to a particular company or product, whether it’s a restaurant, a song or a product purchase, that recommendation, along with your name and profile picture, can then be shared with the people in your circles when they search for the same thing.
So the question is, what does this mean for you and how you market your brand on social media? Here are a few things to consider:
- Include Google+ in Your Social Media Strategy. You might wonder what the point of marketing on Google+ is. It’s not as popular or as active as Facebook or Twitter, so while you might maintain a nominal presence on it, you may not be focusing a lot of your social media marketing efforts there. But the thing to remember is this: what sets Google+ apart from other social networks is that people don’t have to be actively using it in order to be affected by it. Google+ content is embedded into their regular search results. So even though it’s not the most popular or widely used social media platform, it can still be a powerful tool. So make sure you’re using that tool.
- Sharing Is Caring. Now more than ever, you should encourage people to share your content. Make sure all of your blogs have the “+1” button on them and focus more effort on promoting your brand on Google+. Once someone shares it, anyone they’re connected with can see their recommendation when your content turns up in their search results. It’s a great way of reaching out to a targeted audience.
- It’s Who You Know. With the right connections, Shared Endorsements can increase your exposure simply and effectively. Find a few friends or colleagues who have a large number of people in their Google+ circles—a thousand or more is ideal. Get them to do you a favor by recommending or giving +1 to your site, or some of your content. Offer to do the same for them. You’ve just opened yourself up to over a thousand new potential viewers, all pre-targeted, and increased your credibility with all of them based on your colleague’s recommendation.
Through all of this, though, you should still be careful of the privacy issues. Some users aren’t as thrilled with this new tool as others. They don’t necessarily want their faces plastered on products and search results, and there’s a lot of buzz about opting out of it. Of course, this is ultimately an issue with Google’s practices, not with yours. But be careful you don’t get caught in the crossfire. Always respect your audience’s privacy and never do anything with their information without their permission.