Utilizing Google+ business pages is extremely important for a number of reasons. In addition to recently merging Google+ and Google pages, we all know Google is the leading search engine, and therefore the integration of Google+ with search engine marketing is critical.
Windmill Networking’s Google+ columnist Mark Traphagen points out:
Google+ represents far more than Google’s attempt to get into the social network race to compete with sites like Facebook and Twitter. As head of Google+’s Vic Gundotra has said, “It’s really the unification of all of Google’s services, with a common social layer.”
Furthermore, in a March 2013 article on Hospitality.net, author Pamela Whitby says:
Travel marketers now comprehend that social and search are inextricably linked. The numbers tell the story well. In 2012, 50% of direct bookings were reported to have originated in social media and over 70% of Americans are driven to purchase by social media.
Maximizing the effect of this search and social platform can reap numerous benefits. In addition to SEO, hospitality brands, being in such a customer-service oriented niche, would do right to emphasize the social component here as well.
The rising presence of travel brands on Google+ suggests they do acknowledge its significance, though don’t yet fully understand how to use it, or what separates it from other social networks. Here are a few ways businesses in the hospitality industry can get the most out of the Google+:
It’s a great idea to begin cross-promoting your page amongst your other social channels. These networks are where your social-savvy audience resides, and so it’s important they know that you’re also now present in this new space. For travel brands, this would include sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, where people are reviewing restaurants and hotels consistently.
Building your circles is also a good way to stand out. When you begin circling other people and brands, the “social” aspect begins to tie together the Google+ experience.
In order for you to follow other brands to eventually interact with them, add them to your circles so you can keep up on what they’re posting. Create different circles for different types of profiles based on whatever niches are relevant to your brand. If you’re a hotel, you might want to circle other venues in your city, such as the local destination marketing organization, restaurants and attractions. Creating circles to highlight each of these specific categories makes it easy to keep everything organized.
If you’re a restaurant, you would also want to circle various local businesses, as well as other food sites, such as popular food magazines, TV shows, chefs, etc. From there, you can +1 (the G+ equivalent to “liking” something on Facebook) their posts or leave comments on them.
This is beneficial for several reasons:
- It shows support for other businesses. And if you scratch their back, when it comes time, they’ll scratch yours in return. If you come across information you find useful, acknowledge that to its provider. Everyone enjoys knowing they’ve helped out someone else.
- It spreads the word about YOUR page. I’ll use Windmill Networking (WMN) as an example. Say you go and +1 WMN’s post. Just as with Facebook, visitors to WMN’s page will now see your name on the post in which you +1ed or commented. You’ve just subtly, and inadvertently, in a way, advertised yourself, and your presence on Google+.
- If shows that you’re active; that you “get it.” There are many companies that set up pages and then simply stream autofeeds, robot posts or traditional, spammy information solely about their brand and nothing else. This is not social marketing. Actual social media marketing practices involve being social.
If you visit the Barona Resort & Casino Google+ page, you’ll notice they’ve circled over 1,500 people. The Roosevelt Hotel New York has circled various other brands as well, including many travel ones.
Another great tip is to humanize your presence. Starbucks fans enjoy a variety of content on their Google+ page. Like on their other channels, they show a lot of personality, share a lot of photos, and post timely information on a regular basis. There is very little actual selling. With over a million people having circled them, it’s clear they’re tailoring their presence to what their fans appreciate.
What other hospitality brands have you noticed are setting a high bar on Google+?