While Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram are becoming universal players on the social media scene, bar and nightclub owners may be wondering if they should dive head first into Goolge+, Google’s social networking site.
Although it’s the second largest social networking site, surpassing Twitter in January, with 359 million active users, Google+ doesn’t seem to be on many peoples’ radars.
But there are benefits to Google+ that bars and nightclubs, both large and small, can take advantage of. If a business is on Google+, the page appears on the right-hand side of the search listings when someone searches for it, regardless if they follow the page or not. And Google is focusing on linking brands to search listings, so brands can integrate the service into the online marketing strategy, according to a blog on The Guardian.
“The challenge at the moment [with Google+] is the interaction and conversion side,” explained Duncan Alney, president of Indianapolis-based social media marketing agency Firebelly Marketing. Brands can use Google+ in the same way they use Facebook and Twitter: to build relationships and communities with clientele, he says. But consumers aren’t having those same interactions on Google+ just yet, he adds.
Currently, Alney says that the biggest benefit of using Google+ is increasing search rankings. “Search has become more understandable,” he says. “If you make great content for people to read consistently, search will reward you.”
Creating a Social Presence
Alney says that expanding to Google+ is only a good idea if your business already has an established community on Facebook and Twitter. “I wouldn’t start with it, but if you have a social presence, and you have good content, getting into Google+ is easy,” he explains.
For Google+ business pages, that means giving your audience what they want: offering them deals, highlighting drink specials or interacting with your community of loyal followers to help you with word-of-mouth marketing. “On Google+, identify who is well connected to other people—those who have 800 people in circles opposed to someone with 150. Use the power of numbers” to help with word-of-mouth.
“One thing you can do is build lists. You can put people in different circles so you can have circles of people that are huge advocates and can introduce you to everyone they know,” he says. “Google+ will give you the chance to give customers a little more access based on interest level.” Google+ is good for referrals, he adds.
Larger brands can use Google Hangouts for promotions. “I’ve been seeing more and more of the Hangouts,” Alney said. He suggests that one idea for bars is streaming live mixology classes or having nightclubs stream a DJs performance via Google Hangout. Though, he warns, “I don’t know if it raises the core value” of the bar.
Beyond the Hangout, bar owners can partner with an alcohol brand, for example, that has a strong presence on Google+ this will also help build your community.
“Social is far too big a player for [Google] to make it go away any time soon,” he says of the social network. Because Google will continue to invest in Google+ Alney says it can be a “great backup” for owners looking to expand their social media and online presence. Content made for a blog or Facebook could be revised and put on Google+ to help build a following, he explains.
A challenge for bar and nightclub owners who want to use Google+ is they can’t run contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or other promotions directly on their Google+ business page.
However, owners can display a link on their Google+ page to a separate site where the promotions can be hosted, according to Google+ policies and principles. Alney also advises independent bars and clubs to hold off on making Google+ a focal point of their online marketing strategy. But “multi-location bars of five or more, should look at Google+ for sure,” he said.
“If you’re larger, you can’t ignore it.”