Google+ Social Potential for Brands

If you were an advertiser, brand manager, marketer, or anyone with a product to sell which would you choose, Google+ or Facebook? Facebook continues to deal with privacy concerns, and Google, whose track record isn’t exactly what I would call squeaky clean knows more about your online habits than just about anyone.

If I had a product to sell, I would probably start banking on Google+. With so much potential consumer data moving through the Googlesphere it seems to make sense; and even thought Google is up against an 800 pound gorilla, Google + holds enough consumer data that brands will love to get in bed with them.

Know doubt all of this will hinge on Google+’s ability to manage its own privacy issues, and whether or not Google + will fail like Google Wave did. Google is desperate to become more social, and Facebook is going to have a hard time overcoming some of Google’s advantages.

Within hours after the Google+’s launch, you started to see a few, mainly tech-related blogs, creating brand profiles in the Google+ space. The thing is though, Google+ profiles aren’t really set up for brands, products or companies. Google+ profiles ask a bunch of questions that are far more applicable to actual humans. Things like are you male or female. This created some initial confusion in the social networking world, which was quickly addressed by Google VP of Products, Bradley Horowitz:

”Let me be clear – and I’m sorry if this wasn’t obvious – we are not currently supporting brands, organizations, and non-human entities in the Google+ field trial.

Supporting these non-human entities is an obviously great feature – we have no allergy to it at all! It’s just not part of the system we are currently testing.”

But if we look back at the short life Facebook has had, neither did thy when they first launched. I can’t believe that Google hasn’t already determined the potential of this network, and isn’t already developing ways to extend advertising reach within this space. Google is a smart company that truly understands the clout their advertising arm wields.

Here are some things to think about with Google+. Things that could be huge benefits to companies and organizations wanting to push their brand position.

Google Maps: Since many brands have physical locations, it makes sense to offer some type of Google Maps inclusion in Google+, especially when Google+ is optimized for mobile phones and tied to your online data.

Google Offers: When Google Offers rolls out everywhere, this will become one of the hottest points for companies and brands promoting their goods and services. Brands may want to call out active offers and cross populate them to other sections and pages based on your shopping history, and browsing history.

Google+ Sparks: This is a powerful feature that I hope Google continues to develop. In the right space, companies. organizations, or brands could feature Sparks related to their line of products or services.

Remember when your Grandpa used to cut articles out of the paper and send them to you? That was nice. That’s kind of what Sparks does: looks for videos and articles it thinks you’ll like, so when you’re free, there’s always something to watch, read, and share. Grandpa would approve.

The Google +1 Button: Brands have official websites, and those websites can benefit from receiving +1’s right on their profile page.