Google’s new ‘+1’ service is akin to Facebook’s ‘like’ system, but, unlike, well, likes, it’s applicable to the whole of the web – think of it as ‘do-it-yourself SEO’, and useful to any inbound marketing agency. Admittedly, Facebook’s influence is rapidly growing, with many sites now offering to ‘connect using Facebook’, but +1 is developed with the whole web in mind, rather than an added functionality. It’s a simple, lightweight idea, that could be completely overlooked, but at the same time, could be a massively useful tool if integrated into your digital marketing strategy.
+1 is essentially a public bookmarking feature, similar to Delicio.us or Pinboard, but embedded into a service that thousands will use, and thus brilliant for lead generation. The glorious thing is that it’s tied to searches, so if someone were to find a site you’ve +1’d, chances are the site will be extremely relevant to their search, and clicking on it should be a simple choice.
How to use it
The only thing you need to begin using Google +1 is a Google account, and, as Google provide many of the tools that are heavily used by businesses the world over, (Analytics for SEO, mail for lead nurturing, etc) chances are, not only have you already got it set up and ready to go, but your clients and potential leads will do too. After setting it up, forget about it. Just go about your business like you normally would – except when searching for resources, if you find a particularly useful one, +1 it, (by clicking on the box next to the result). Now, when potential leads or business partners that you have in your Google contacts do a search, they’ll see it promoted.
Of course, there is also your profile page – while not as intuitive as finding your recommendations in the results, people who view your profile will see all the links that you’ve given your +1 of approval – and if you already share your Facebook, twitter, or blog via a link on your landing page, why not include good ol’ Google? At the end of the day, it’s another social site, another string to your social media marketing bow – and the subtlety of it could breathe fresh air into your inbound marketing campaign.
+1 vs. likes
So, of course, the main competitor to this service is Facebook’s ‘like’ feature – and, chances are that if you utilise digital marketing business strategy, you’ll already have a business Facebook page set up. So what are the incentives for setting it up and using it? Well, there are some great benefits that could elevate you above your competition.
Unfortunately, the fact that it is similar to likes means that it is a new system, and, although easy to set up, will undoubtedly take that one extra step, compared to Facebook to get it up and running. This problem, along with how new it is, means that it is not widely utilised yet, but the benefits make it very appealing to any digital marketing company out there.
See, this same downside could be a brilliant promotional tool if used correctly. Innovation is an amazing way to propel your business above the competition, and innovation within social media marketing is even better – especially for any marketing agency looking to speed past the competition in lead generation figures.
The way that your contribution will show up automatically within search results means that it is pretty self-sustaining, and the process of clicking ‘+1’ should, over time, become second nature – combine this with an easily visible, well promoted page on your site to show off useful links, and you’ve got a quick to add (and current) list of great sites that you feel could be useful to any visitors. Remember to run analytics on this page as you would for any of your articles or pages – lead management is just as important here.
Perhaps the most valuable benefit of the system over likes is that it is far more professional, and thus suited to a digital marketing agency, as opposed to a personal page. When a business’ Facebook page is updated to say that they liked something, it will appear briefly in their news feed, and then be pushed into the mass of links populating the ‘liked pages’ section. Once this happens, finding any particular page will take time, as to find it, searching through these links would be necessary. Looking through a friend’s list of likes is one thing, but looking through another business’ list to find useful information takes time that could be put to better use. With +1, the system is clearer, the process easier, and when a visitor wants to see what you’ve recommended; it’s ready and available to view – and , after all, being a source of information is the key to lead generation.
So is +1 worth utilising?
In a word, yes. Why not? It’s free, it’s easy, and whether it is widely accepted or not, will benefit for different reasons. If it is, great! Your business was there from the beginning, and you led the way. If it isn’t? Well, you’re offering a service that doesn’t take much time or money, and will stand out as a company that embraces social media marketing to the fullest, and uses that one extra digital marketing service ahead of your competitors – hardly a negative point in anyone’s book.