Amazing! Spectacular! Unprecedented! Phenomenal! All words used to describe the meteoric rise in the number of registered users of Google+, the new social media service from your friends at the Internet’s #1 search engine.
In fact, in a little over two weeks Google+ reached 10 million registered users – a feat that took Twitter and Facebook over two years to achieve. And in just 24 days Google+ was up to 20 million users – a mark made even more interesting by the fact that Google launched the service quietly by invitation only. Now linked to GMail Google+ should continue attracting more users.
The chart below shows how long it took Google+, Twitter and Facebook to reach 20 million users. It should give hoteliers reason to pay attention to the newest social media site. Chart provide by self described technowizard Leon Håland.
But as of right now Google+ isn’t ready for hotels. In fact it isn’t ready for any branded pages and is only available for personal use. Much to the chagrin of numerous firms that have attempted to create company sites, Google has taken down their pages.
There are a few exceptions however…like the Ford Motor Company which anticipated the launch of Google+ and quickly built an extensive following. Google+ may be letting Ford continue to measure progress and refine the product before opening up the social network to other branded pages.
Hoteliers should take a page from Ford’s playbook and be prepared to claim their real estate on Google+ as soon as branded sites become available.
If you are responsible for hotel marketing here are a few things you should be doing now.
- Become Familiar – If you haven’t done so already – start using Google+. You’ll need a GMail account and an invitation. I’m happy to give you an invite – just send an email to me at madigan.pratt(at)gmail.com and include your company information and your GMail address.
- Develop a Marketing Plan– You should have a clear set of objectives and strategies for each of your social media programs. How can you measure success or determine whether the time spent is paying out without a clear plan? Take a look at your Facebook strategy. How can it be adapted to capitalize on the unique characteristics offered through Google+?
- Use Google+ Circles – Find out how you can segment people based on interests and then control content you deliver. Consider a Staff circle so you can post messages and updates for their eyes only.
- Hangout – Hangouts, with the ability to video conference is a great ways to interact with others. Can you imagine having a video conference with ten past or potential guests, answering their questions about your property and encouraging them to visit?
- Buzz – check out Buzz, a Twitter-style micro blogging page good for link building.
There is quite a bit of chatter online suggesting that Google+ will play a massive part of the search engine’s algorithm going forward, but nothing confirmed as yet. Most bets are on the fact that it will – sooner rather than later – so be prepared.
Now no one is claiming Google+ will unseat Facebook as the world’s #1 social media service, but many believe Google is poised to give it a run for its money. And what you see now is just the first cut at Google+. Expect regular updates and improvements to be announced moving forward.
There’s a lot to like about Google+, particularly its approach to privacy – an issue that has dogged Facebook since its inception and continues to be a sore point with many users.
Here’s a quick overview of Google+ provided by our friends at CNET. Watch it and see if you shouldn’t start planning for when branded pages are announced.
Leave a comment and let everyone know what you think.
And be sure to let me know if you need an invite to Google+.