Now that Google+ is open to anyone, PR professionals have a unique opportunity to test the platform with personal profiles before brand pages roll out. In the following Q&A, Haley Hebert, social media manager for LEWIS Pulse, previews the platform and ways PR pros can get up to speed with the Google+ communication possibilities to maintain their competitive edge. Hebert will elaborate on Google+ and its unique applications for PR during PR News’ Google+: Your Next Powerful PR Tool webinar on November 2.
PR News: What unique opportunities will there be for brands when they are able to launch their own pages on Google+?
Haley Hebert: In August, Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang predicted we would see a business version of Google+ "disrupting players like Chatter and Yammer." However, no one is absolutely sure how Google plans to evolve the service for brands, so we will have to wait and see.
PR News: How does Google+ differ from what Facebook currently offers?
Hebert: Most of the power users I see on Google+ are niche audiences of journalists, hi-tech professionals, and digital/social media pros. There are pros and cons to the current state of Google+ for brands. At this point, I think the service is great for community building, establishing relationships and interacting with influencers in a particular space. However, Google+ does not (and may never) come close to what Facebook already offers for brands from a customer marketing standpoint. It will be interesting to see if Google can offer the same benefits Facebook offers for brands.
PR News: How much time do you recommend PR pros spends on Google+ versus Twitter or Facebook?
Hebert: I'd advise them to start a personal page for themselves, understand how they can use Google+ to build relationships with journalists, influencers and clients, and then stay tuned for more from Google on brand pages before they prioritize the service. For my clients, I'm advising to keep their efforts on Twitter and Facebook, since we've already built large and active communities there for their brand. When brand pages are released on Google+, we'll do some testing, see if Google+ is appropriate and adds value to their campaign before making it a part of their social media marketing mix.
PR News: What can PR professionals do now to prepare for a brand page launch?
Hebert: One thing PR professionals can do now regardless of brand pages is organize the journalists they have relationships with and/or pitch frequently into designated circles to track their postings. I see tons of journalists using Google+ to react to industry news and discuss their presence at events. Over the past few years I know many PR pros were using Twitter to get journalists' attention, and Google+ may turn out to be a better tool for this, as the threaded nature of the posts are more conducive to conversation versus Twitter. If PR pros start building up their Google+ page now, they'll already have an established presence on the service when brand pages are released, and an understanding of how the service may apply to their clients.
PR News: What’s the one key tip you’ll share during the Google+ webinar?
Hebert: I plan to share how some of my B2B clients use Google+, where they see advantages of Google's service and where improvements need to be made for brand pages.
Attend PR News’ Google+: Your Next Powerful PR Tool webinar on November 2 and learn more from social media leaders like Haley Hebert.