Looking at Google’s Social Strategy

To know how to harness the Google web ecosystem for social media marketing, you need to first understand the core of Google’s own social strategy. Fundamentally, Google is still a search platform and the most visited website on the Internet. The vast majority of its revenues and traffic comes from Google Search. That is unlikely to change in the near term. But over the last few years, the rise of Facebook has seriously threatened Google’s online dominance. More and more people look to their friends on platforms such as Facebook when they’re seeking information, whether it be product information or restaurant recommendations — in many cases, even before doing a Google search.

Google is responding to this threat in two different ways. First, they’ve tried repeatedly to create social networks to compete with Facebook — Orkut, which took off only in Brazil and India, and then Google Buzz, which recently shut down. Now there’s Google+, as shown in Figure 12-1, which shows great potential. At the time of this writing, Google+ has 62 million users and is growing by leaps and bounds since its introduction.

Second, Google has decided to make every other part of the Google ecosystem more social. Whether it is Google Search or Google Music or even Google Apps, they are all getting more and more social by the minute. Both of these approaches present unique social media marketing opportunities for marketers.

Figure 12-1: The sign-up page for Google+.

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