With Beyonce’s latest single “Run the World” topping the charts across the world and even being a part of the Atlantis trip to outerspace, it is only fitting to talk about who really runs this world. Yes, I love Beyonce and she is always relevant in my world, but this particular song title also rings true to the latest social network takeover. For those of you that have been living under a rock, Google has created quite the internet buzz over the last couple of weeks with the launch of its social network, Google+. Though still in field trial mode, Google+ has been getting reviews from around the web, and is expected to hit 20 million members by the end of the weekend. This is not just in the U.S. either. Google is also testing its newest product in India. Why would Google test its product in India? Well, of course, this is another strategy for them to take over the world. 1 + 1 = 2 and Google knows that people + social media = massive exposure. Let me explain.
1. India has the second most populous country in the world with over one billion people! If that’s not mind blowing enough, every year India adds more people than any other nation in the world. As Vice President Joe Biden would say, that’s a big effing deal (#BFD). The statistic that is most compelling for companies interested in Google+ is that 65% of India’s population is below the age of 35 with 42 million people being internet users. This is the perfect market for Google to test its new product and given the amount of people they can reach via Google+ an ideal market for companies in India to incorporate Google+ into their social media outreach.
2. We know that Google+ is here to stay. It is just in the beginner stages of perfection. One tool they have already incorporated into their product is the ability to update via text message and get updates on cell phones. To have this tool implemented so early into the cycle is a crucial advantage for the company. According to one article, offering SMS capabilities is an added plus because many users still rely on SMS to converse since the smartphone penetration is still pretty low. A Blackberry in India would cost someone around $600 which is unrealistic for many residents in India. However, because of SMS capabilities, people can still be connected with the rest of the country through a basic prepaid phone.
This component is beneficial for users and companies because convenience is a must in this day. For the user, being able to check and update social media outlets via a cell phone make things so much easier. Although there is no app to download or way to log in and check Google+ via cell just yet, the text component is still an added bonus especially this early in the trial period stage. For companies, the benefits are just as compelling although having the text message option will be a little more challenging. Instead of having your information pop up in someone’s news feed, the company will have to promote the product in a way that encourages users to set up text message notifications about that particular company. This gives companies more control over their message outreach and allows them to get more creative with their tactics. Instead of basic, boring status updates, food companies like McDonalds can create a contest via text for consumers. Example: Dine in and show the Google+ text from McDonalds and you receive a discounted price. Or they could even incorporate a LivingSocial aspect and encourage people to share “text deals” with 3 or more friends and receive a free deal.
3. Getting an early start on Google+ gives those who missed the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn trains an opportunity to become social media saavy. Users and companies in India can jump start their outreach by creating a profile now, during the trial period. This will be the perfect opportunity for companies to brand themselves as relevant whether they have other social media outlets or not. As one of my colleagues for Google pointed out, Google+ will be incorporating advertising in the near future, and it will be cleaner and more direct than current advertising on other social media outlets. Companies will now be able to market to people based on what circles they are in making this more of direct marketing. If Dove wants to target African American females between the ages of 25-32, they can do that with the Google+ circles which narrows the scope tremendously. This is a major advantage for the new product, and as my blogger buddy B.L. pointed out in her latest post, unlike Facebook, Google+ will become the dominant social media tool for businesses. The beauty of already having the trial period in India is that while there will be problems and glitches in the program, Google is already listening, changing and adapting to the needs and wants of the people. “They’re thinking way beyond today, into a future where all online content will be integrated, and the semantic web will be in full effect”, B.L. said. I couldn’t agree more.
Google has shown the world once again why it remains to be a top competitor in many markets. To add to Google, Gmail, Gchat, Google Docs, Google Maps, iGoogle, Google Reader, Google TV and the Google phone, Google Wallet and many more, we can now add Google+ to that list. If this isn’t running the world then what is?