Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist of Google Social for Brands, joined SEMPO Boston last night to present his case for Google Social. Of all the presentations we’ve had since I became Chair of the Working Group a few years ago, his was the most visonary.
He framed his presentation by discussing how Larry Page, Google’s CEO, communicated a vision that requires every Google product to have a social layer.
Gopi suggested that advertisers think similarly about social. He lectured on the connection between social and mobile by illustrating how phones have become our 79th organ, and suggested that advertisers leverage social by incorporating it deeply into their business strategy. In other words – he believes it is much more than just another advertising channel.
He offered a few examples of how brands can engage their customers using social media, and Google+ in particular. Here are two things that stood out for me.
1) Engage Key Influencers
He thinks companies should be doing hangouts, like the one Michael Dell did (screen shot below), to get direct feedback from customers in an informal environment.
Late in the presentation he showed a graphic visualiztion of a company’s entire social following on Google+, that highlighted a small number of followers who were most likely to share a company’s posts with their network, and whose networks were the most engaged with those shares.
Google+ features like Hangsouts, accordingly, can be used for a very specific purpose. Not just as a way to engage your entire following, but also as a way to nurture the small percentage of your followers who are your best evangelists.
2) Get More Control Of The Search Results Page
Gopi did a Google search for the brand “H&M” which produced a search result page that included a feed from H&M’s Google+ page right on the search results page. This gives H&M more control over the messages people see when people search for their brand on Google, and to perhaps lure people who are not yet loyal to the H&M brand into a social experience that may enhance that brand loyalty.
Perhaps it’s this direct feed of Google+ activity into the search results page that, over time, will lead to more people following brands on Google+ than on Facebook. Yes, this could absolutely affect a company’s organic and paid search results as well.
Companies like Google, and Facebook too, are staking the futures of their company on social and mobile. Up until now, businesses have focussed their advertising primarily on search, because search advertising has produced such a compelling ROI. Social is fast becoming another critical, and profitable, channel for advertisers.