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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Google+ Social CRM For the Enterprise Web?

If Google dominates the information web and Facebook the social web, is Google+ going for the enterprise web? Several leading commentators think so.

It certainly makes the commonly expressed doubts about people being unwilling to switch social networks from Facebook look pretty irrelevant. After two forays into collaborative working and social media, Google must have learned a lot. Digging further into the SME market looks more congruent with their information and ad sales offerings.

LinkedIn is the obvious player in the enterprise web space, connecting people together for career or commercial advantages. But despite some bells and whistles, it is primarily a messaging and CV display system, whereas Google+ has:

Circles - which let people organise contacts according to different relationships: friends, family, work colleagues etc, and exert different levels of privacy for different Circles. Privacy is a well documented bugbear with many Facebook users. By providing a lot of privacy controls, Google+ has played a very powerful trust card that should be particularly appealing to commercial users.
Google Huddle - for group conversations - looks good for organising events. Not to be confused with the UK-based leading enterprise cloud collaboration and content management company called Huddle.
Hangouts - spontaneous video chats when you can “hang out” with friends on web cams
Sparks - interesting material you might like, a bit like links posted by contacts on Twitter
Instant Upload - does what it says on the tin: upload a photo in an instant.

Google+ and Marketing

Tristan Rogers, CEO of Concrete, points out, "To video chat, aggregate content, share content and build groups of people that you can define rules against is a fundamental requirement within any established organisation. These are fundamental building blocks for organised communication across a disparate workforce."

Although commercial pages aren't available yet on Google+, Jeff Huber, Google VP of local and commerce, has said: "We will have (SMB) business profile pages on Google+... I can't announce a date yet, but we want to make them great, and we're coding as fast as we can."

Sarah Evans, owner of Sevans Strategy, and a contributor to the Eloqua & JESS3 The Social Media ProBook says "Brands could leverage people who have Circles in their target demographic as opposed to trying to awkwardly fit in."

Niklas de Besche, executive director at Meltwater Buzz says, "Essentially this is social CRM – the next big leap for social media: finding relevant consumers and topics, identifying influencers, 360 degree profiling of them, and then building online communities."

Google+ & Search

PracticeWEB's search marketing manager, Frankie Wallington, puts Google+ into the search perspective: " the Distilled Link building seminar a few months ago, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz spoke about social media playing a much bigger part in search results, essentially the more people like something or the more they tweet about a product or a site the better it will perform in the search results.

"As well as this, we had Google’s Panda update which started to use machine learning algorithms. What this update allowed Google to do was take sites that people said they did or didn’t like using a set of quality raters such as “would I trust this site enough to give my credit card details?” and scale that to every other site on the web. You’ve ended up with search results that aren’t just based on content that is optimised for search terms that get linked to a lot, which can create search results full of sites that you don’t really want to see but have been manipulated, you have search results that should throw up great websites with interesting content, great design, positive user experiences and less spammy ads.
"Couple this with what the Google+ project will allow you to do with sharing user experience and opinions. Essentially you’ll be able to “like” certain sites or AdWords ads and put a comment next to why you like them. So, if I do a search for a product or service and I see that one of my friends has +1’d one of the search results I’m far more likely to go on their recommendation."

The combination of search results, ratings, privacy, collaboration, recommendations and control looks like a potent combination over the longer term, although other sites may well adapt to the challenge. One thing is for certain: social media sites rarely end up exactly as they started. Google has deep pockets and is likely to have a few more tricks up its sleeve. Worth watching.

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: TV Channel on YouTube: Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter
posted by Penny Haywood Calder at


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