2 words: Social Search
Google recently launched Search Plus Your World, which Mashable describes as the ability for Google+ members
“to search against both the broader web and [end-user's] own Google+ social graph. That’s right; Google+ circles, photos, posts and more will be integrated into search in ways other social platforms can only dream about… Google+ members will be able to ‘search across information that is private and only shared to you, not just the public web’.”
I can’t say how many times I’ve wanted to search for something on Facebook about my friends: “what was that new band my brother mentioned months ago?” ”I wish I could find that video that Andrew shared!”. I instinctively attempt to go to the top of the page and enter a few keywords in the search bar and hit enter. The results are never what I’m looking for (it’s almost always a page or a profile). Sure, I could hit the magnifying glass symbol and then scroll down the menu of 10+ options to find “Posts by Friends” or “Public Posts”. But take a look at what results are returned (click to enlarge):
This is pretty poor, for a few reasons:
- I know that my friends posted about this, but the Facebook search engine simply is not able to render the results relevant to me.
- The experience is not integrated – to find both “public” and “private” posts, plus all the other stuff (like the Adobe page for example) I have to click into each individual menu option
- The public results aren’t organized in any meaningful or relevant way to me (i.e. not in the same way my newsfeed is organized – where are my favorite brands, my friends, and my pages?!)
So from an end-user experience standpoint, G+ wins, in my opinion. Even if Facebook was able to improve their search engine capabilities they still fall short in areas that are important in the B2B world: all the other information out there on the web (blogs, forums, websites, review sites, other social sites, news sites, rich media like YouTube, Flickr, destination sites, etc.) aren’t within the realm of Facebook. This is where Enterprises and B2B companies should start to pay attention.
With the “Search Plus Your World” release come 3 new features:
- “Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;
- Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,
- People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.”
For B2B and enterprise companies, a typical web-based use case is when an interested party (e.g. a client/prospect, a potential new hire, an analyst, a partner) does a search to find out more information about a product, industry trends, case studies, reviews or how well a company provides xyz service.
When that person searches for information, where does he or she go? About 7/10 times, it will be Google.com. Assuming your company has a page on G+ and you’re producing quality content and engaging with people (read: a new breed of SEO/SEM), your Page will be a prominent search result.
Getting your business onto G+ provides other benefits too outside of just “SEO-juice”. The circles concept allows you to interact with employees, potential recruits, partners, clients and others in a much more natural and meaningful way than you could on Facebook. There are also plenty of other Social Enterprise-supporting features that Google offers as part of Google Apps for businesses. The “Google Social Suite” appears to focus more on information exchange and other initiatives important to the enterprise, as opposed to support just a catchy digital marketing campaign.
Google’s new move builds a compelling case hard to ignore for Enterprise-level companies looking to dive deeper into social media. My word of advice would be, if you’re a B2C brand then Facebook is probably the place for you to spend a majority of your social media dollars (for a variety of reasons); but if you’re a B2B company, consider investing your resources in G+ instead of, or in addition to Facebook – you’ll likely get more return.
If you’re an enterprise-level company and you want to get involved with social, you should seriously consider creating a Google+ page. And if you’re looking for a few ways to use G+ to market your business, here are 6 of them.