Google+ has only been with us for a short time. But within its first month, most reports state that more than 25 million people joined the service. What makes that fairly impressive is that the service was still only in invitational-only mode. However, Google has recently announced that the social network is now open to everyone. Thus, the question is this – should printers care about Google +?
At Graph Expo, a lot of people said this to me: “I’m already overwhelmed with Facebook and Twitter. I just can’t deal with another social network now.” And trust me, I understand what you’re saying. Personally, I have not yet Google+ as much as I should. But fortunately, I have some employees that have been fairly regular users.
Should printers care about this social network? I think so. Here are five reasons why I think they should take action on it now:
1. It has Staying Power
While Google may have fallen short of their goals with their previous ventures into the social networking space, all indicators are pointing to the fact that Google+ is here to stay.
It has some tremendous features that users are already fawning over — whether it’s the ability to drag-and-drop people into your Circles, the easy way to share a variety of content, or the search options for finding people who you’re interested in connecting with, Google+ appears to have the necessary tools to steal some attention and web-browsing time from Facebook.
2. Marketers Are There!
As with many “new” things in the world of marketing, the first group of folks to rush there are (ta-da!) marketers. And guess what? Marketers need to buy print. Okay, maybe they don’t know they need to buy print. But they need ROI. And often, ROI comes from direct mail pieces, newsletters, business cards, flyers, and other materials that will help them drive awareness and leads to their company.
By hopping onto Google+ sooner than everyone else, printers have a great opportunity to meet and develop relationships with marketers that could potentially become customers.
Everyone cares about their search engine rankings. And while Bing may be growing, Google is still the number one search engine in the world.
If you are wondering whether Google includes public content and profiles from Google+ within their search rankings, the answer is absolutely yes. Thus, printers can find ways to increase the effectiveness of their SEO efforts by creating profile pages for staff (and soon their business) and by sharing compelling content for public consumption.
4. Walk the Walk
Many printers are now looking to grow their business by offering marketing services and solutions that go beyond producing print. This might include QR Codes, personalized URLs, email, landing pages, web design, SMS/Text, and more.
It’s one thing to talk about other marketing channels. But it’s certainly more important to be using them yourself. By getting acquainted with Google+ now, it will open up additional conversations between printers and the marketing departments that they are trying to sell to.
5. Online Community Features
From everything I’ve seen, the majority of printers out there love helping each other. Whether it’s a trade show or conference, an email Listserv, or a LinkedIn group, many printers are willing to share information to help each other.
Google+ contains a number of features that will help people to engage with others both via video and text chat. I absolutely think that those features will bring benefits to businesses that find ways to put them to use. Along with peer discussions, I think that Google+ tools such as Huddle and Hangout might be great for project collaboration and customer service.
I know that there will absolutely be some skeptics on Google+ being just “another social network”.
But from everything I’ve seen so far, I truly think that printers (and many other types of companies) will find business opportunities by utilizing Google+ sooner than later.