Have you noticed something different about Google Plus lately?
A few weeks ago, Google Plus started rolling out an update to its look, and by all accounts, this has been an amazing update to an already amazing service.
Over the past couple of weeks, there have been a lot of articles giving the nuts and bolts about the details of this Google Plus update. Honestly, it also made me think back a bit to just a few years ago when I worked so hard to understand this thing called social media. Back in the early days there weren’t nearly as many resources out there to help you make sense of every service and every update. Okay, so there weren’t quite as many social media platforms and not as many updates either, but you get the point, right? <GRIN!>
So now that there has been enough information shared about just what is new about the new Google Plus, I thought I would talk about why each of the changes has benefits for using Google Plus for marketing. Pretty updates are nice, but what really matters for your business is knowing how to benefit the most when a social media platform decides to update its look.
Google Plus Updates: What Changed?
The whole look of Google Plus changed to a 3 column layout. However, if you do not like it, they have decided not to force it on you (unlike Facebook). You can switch back to the old, single-column layout. Photos and videos are bigger. Google Plus has also made hashtags more useful. They now lead the user to more related content, while also keeping you on Google Plus longer, a “win-win” in their minds.
Just like other social media platforms, Google Plus has decided to make the most of visual content in its platform, though it has taken a slightly different approach than services such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram have.
Google Plus has integrated photo enhancement into its service automatically, though it is an option that can be turned off. If you are uploading a batch of photos at the same time, Google Plus will automatically select and show your better images. By “better” I mean showing clearer images in place of less clear images. It will also automatically scan for pictures of faces and will correct colors and touch up blemishes to give everyone the chance to put their best face forward without a whole lot of effort on your part in the process.
If that was not enough change for you, the Hangouts feature has also been updated by joining together a number of different communication features within Google Plus. Hangouts now includes Google Talk, also called Google Chat by some people, along with Google+ Hangouts, and Google+ Messenger. Google Voice is also coming to the new Hangouts, but there is no official launch date yet.
Just listing those changes for the people who have missed them is a lot, but here is the meat of what I wanted to share. Because knowing what changes happened is one thing. However, I am passionate about helping you know how to take those changes and apply them to building your brand. So, here is what you need to know from that perspective.
How Marketers Can Benefit from the Re-designed Google Plus
1. Make sure every update includes at least one great image
Whether you are sharing your own content or curating a collection of outstanding content that brings value to your audience, having at least one high-quality image will be critically important. In a multi-column layout featuring large images, content that does not include at least one image just won’t seem very compelling to explore. If your content includes an image that is of poor quality, you will suffer even more, since your low-quality image will seem even lower quality by comparison.
Double check the content you share from others to make sure it includes a high-quality image that displays properly. If the only image is a thumbnail, you may have to spend time uploading an image separately. This is definitely a better option than having a crummy looking image on an link you share with your audience, in my opinion.
2. When a platform like Google Plus changes, double check your profile and cover photos
Each of the major social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus) use a combination of profile photos and cover photos, even if they name them differently. Each time one of the services makes a substantial change, especially when it focuses on images and media, you will want to verify that your profile images, profile photo and cover photo, display properly on a variety of devices. The last thing you want is to discover that your logo is getting cut off and that you have not been aware of it for several weeks!
3. Remember – your customers take their cue from you
I know sometimes it can be overwhelming when trying to keep up with social media networks and their changes. Acknowledging social network changes and choosing to remain publicly positive about them is an important part of coming across to your audience as the professional brand that you are. If you start whining about social media changes online, well, do not be surprised if your audience chooses to take their engagement – and their dollars – somewhere else.
What has been your favorite way to use the new Google Plus changes to market more effectively? Leave a comment below!