This is the third post in a series about the new social network Google+ and what the site means for marketers and businesses. In this series we will explore Google’s past social networks, what Google+ has to offer users, and the future of Google+ for marketers and business.

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Google+ is Google’s new social network that is incredibly similar to Facebook in both its functionality and its layout. There are, however, a few key important features that make Google+ ahead of Facebook in terms of privacy and what it has to offer marketers and businesses. In this post we will be discussing how Google will be able to attract brands with the following Google+ features: circles, hangouts, +1, and Google product integration.

  • Circles: While circles offers individual users a better solution to internet privacy they offer brands a better way to target and profile their customers. It is speculated that when customers become a fan of a brand page they will have to self evaluate themselves and choose which circles of a page to belong to based on what they are looking to gain from the brand. For example, a mother of two might fan a cleaning products company and join two circles from that brand’s page. One circle would notify her about coupons and the second circle would notify her about new products. The circles feature is incredibly important to brands because it is a system by which brands can deliver targeted content to different customer groups.
  • Hangouts: Hangouts are group video chats between Google+ users. This could also be used by brands to speak directly to their customers, face to face. Having that sort of a connection and experience facilitated through Google+ would be extremely valuable to brands. Hangouts come at a pivotal moment after Facebook has announced its partnership with Skype. Facebook users now have the ability to make video calls through Facebook Chat. This feature is not extended to Facebook pages. Skype is in the process of being bought by Microsoft who also owns its own search engine called Bing. This has become the battle of the social networks and the search engines.
  • +1: For individuals users +1 is essentially “liking” something on Google+. Outside of Google+, the +1 button also appears in the Google search results next to the title of each search result listing. When a person who has a Google+ profile uses the +1 button on the Google search results this activity is shown on their profile under their “+1s” section. Going back to the example of the mom with two kids, if she were to search the cleaning products company and +1 their homepage this action would appear in her profile. Think of it as the user endorsing the page. This could be valuable to brands to get customer backing as the more +1s a brand racks up the better.
  • Google product integration: Having a brand page on Google+ opens companies up to all the potential of Google’s full product line. Brands could incorporate a variety of Google products into their pages (such as Google Maps, Google search, etc.) to make the user experience more enriching and informational.

That completes our brief overview of how it is believed that Google+ will attract brands and businesses to join. The ball has already begun to roll with bug players such as Ford, MTV, and Mashable taking a huge interest in the social networking site.

As of right now Google is in the process of closing down any non-individual profiles in preparation of launching Google+ brand pages. Google had set up an application page where brands and businesses could ask to be a part of the new launch. The application period is now closed after Google received thousands of entries.

AdAge interviewed the lead product manager for social advertising at Google, Christian Oestlien, about Google+ and more specifically how brand pages will be incorporated. When AdAge asked about which businesses will be included in the initial brand pages launch Oestlien had the following to say:

We want to include everything from small businesses to individual contractors all the way up to the largest brand names in the world. What we’re really looking for is companies that on the one hand have a real rich history of being active in the social sphere, brands that have strong, loyal audiences and are proactive and engaging and who want to spread it out a little more.”

We here at Web Strategic Marketing look forward to seeing the new Google brand pages and their features. Expect an updated entry and guide to using these brand pages after their launch.

Check out the first part of this blog series, What Google+ Means for Marketers and Businesses: Part I.

Check out the second part of this blog series, What Google+ Means for Marketers and Businesses: Part II.