If you haven’t already, you certainly will be hearing about Google+, this isn’t an over-sized Google, but a new social media platform created by Google to allow people as well as businesses to connect in ever more unique ways. The question is, how will Google+ figure into a businesses’ location based marketing and social media marketing programs?
To answer this question, we need to understand the basics of Google+ and how it compares to other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and potentially location based marketing services like Foursquare.
Basically, Google+ has many of the same features of all of the main social media platforms; the ability to connect with followers and fans, the ability to share content, the ability to deliver information about your business and ultimately the ability to develop and encourage actual revenue activities.
The key differences that may give Google+ an advantage in the long run are the ways in which it allows a business to categorize it’s followers, what they call circles, which makes it easier to deliver messages or share content on a more select basis than Facebook and Twitter and the tie-in to many other Google services like Google Places, which many restaurants, retailers and service businesses use to make sure their business is found on the web. Additionally, there is the golden ticket of the tie-in to Google’s search algorithm, which for that reason alone means you must make the initial effort of creating a Google+ page for your business and populating it with the same sort of content and information that you are sharing in places like Facebook and Twitter.
So, beyond the basics of having a Google+ page for your business that tells people about your business and shares things like photos and video, what do we see as the ways in which you can use Google+ to market your business?
Well, to be honest, they are basically the same things that you can and might already be doing using Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare:
- Promoting your daily deals, specials and offers
- Promoting special events taking place at your location
- Promoting new products and services
- Promoting your loyalty programs or check-in specials
- Running contests
Since most of these promotions will have specific landing pages where the details of the promotion reside, it is a simple thing to share the link to them on Google+ as well as a basic comment, at which point you are off and running with another location based social media marketing medium to drive customers and activity to your place of business.
Eventually Google+ will expand and there may be more specific promotional activities that come along but until that happens, using Google+ similarly to how you use Facebook and Twitter to promote your business is going to be a good start.
There is no doubt that it is early days for Google+ and businesses but it is definitely heading in the right direction, so the sooner you get started the sooner you will gain the marketing experience it takes to make the most of this new platform from Google.
There is no doubt that people love daily deals but, It’s happened again, another Groupon deal runs amok for a business, highlighted in a Mashable story – Large Groupon Discount Leads to Excessive Cupcake Baking
“Group discounts can be a nice thing for both the seller and the customers, but you have to know your limits. A UK baker learned that the hard way, when she was forced to bake 102,000 cupcakes, after offering a 75% cupcake discount on Groupon.”
Given the number of times this has happened, businesses coming out on the short end of the stick in one of their deals, it’s a wonder that Groupon even allows unlimited voucher offers. The truth is given all of the bad publicity that happens every time one of their customers gets screwed you’d think it would be the first thing they would stop doing, but I guess time will tell.
So, what is the takeaway for businesses? Well, first off there is nothing wrong with offering daily deals and specials, in fact they are the lifeblood of the location based marketing and social media marketing process for many restaurants, retailers and service providers but you need to adhere to a few key rules in order to have successful discount deals.
1 – Make sure you can fulfill the deals, no matter how large they might be.
2 – Make sure the deal is capable of covering at least your costs, or your costs minus what you might otherwise spend to market the same offer conventionally.
3 – Make sure you can cut off a deal if things get out of control
4 – Make sure you have a direct contact within the deal provider so that you can reach them in case of number 3
If you can adhere to the 4 items above you will certainly keep yourself out of trouble with regards to running a daily deal.
As well, remember that as a business you can create, distribute and manage your own deals, special offers and promotions using social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
In these cases you can create an offer and distribute the offer to people that are already familiar with your business and best of all you can keep the profit and customer data.
By correctly combining the concepts of daily deals and social media you can get the best of both worlds and by keeping more control over where those offers end up you can enjoy a more profitable and fair relationship between yourself and your customers.