February 22nd, 2010 | by John Trenaman |
Will Google Buzz Help Increase Online Brand Awareness and Can it be used as an SEO Tool for Businesses?
Recently we have seen developments from Microsoft to integrate social networking platforms and email applications to support corporate branding and customer sales campaigns. Is “Buzz” a first competitive response step from Google? And how relevant will Google Buzz be for the enterprise sector?
This article gives a view on:
- An Insight into Google Buzz and where it’s going
- Where Microsoft seems to be heading with Social Media
- Google and Microsoft’s initiatives to integrate social networking sites and applications
- How Google Buzz may become important for local search.
If you plan to learn internet marketing – read more to find if Google Buzz has any relevance for your business?
What is “Google Buzz”?
Buzz is a distributed social networking service integrated with Gmail that lets users post publicly via their Google profiles or privately via their Gmail contacts.
Buzz includes updates on what you and your followers do on related Google sites, such as the photo-sharing site Picasa or on Google Reader. It also can include updates from Yahoo’s Flickr photo service and from Twitter, if a user decides to turn on those services.
Buzz makes sharing photos, videos and links very simple, with no need for URL shorteners.
Users automatically begin by following the people they have e-mailed in the past. And in an attempt to cut through the noise, Buzz only puts Buzz posts into one’s inbox if the algorithms find them interesting.
Will Google Buzz Have Relevance In The Business World?
While Google hopes its new Buzz social networking tool can be applied in the corporate world, I have mixed views over whether it can offer features that enterprise users need. Will Buzz help Business’s develop and learn new Internet Marketing strategies?
Google will attempt to inject Buzz into the heart of the enterprise networking world over the next year or two. Their very well thought out strategy of penetrating the corporate environment started to become apparent with the launch of Google apps going after the MS Office suite, Gmail going after Outlook (and all other still-breathing email apps), Chrome browser going after IE and Chrome OS going after Windows
It has been announced that Google will shortly be launching the business side of Google Buzz in the coming months, I for one, cannot wait to see how it will compete against the likes of Microsoft Outlook Social Connector and other Social Networking sites that have business functionality about them.
What About Microsoft Social Connector for managing Internet Marketing Strategies?
Last November, Microsoft announced the beta of the Outlook Social Connector (OSC), a tool that blends social networking updates into the business functionality of the software.
Recently Microsoft has announced an updated beta of the OSC along with the immediate availability of the public beta of LinkedIn for Outlook. They have also announced partnerships with both Facebook and MySpace. Buzz doesn’t yet integrate with any of these three social networking Giants. It integrates only with Twitter, Flikr, Picasa and Google reader.
If you want to Create Brand Awareness and increase traffic to your website it is vital now to setup a social networking presence for your organization. To ignore this would be catastrophic for any business. However it is vital to be able to harness and control all the interest and traffic that results from your presence on these social networking sites.
Logging in to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social networks one by one and trying to stay up to date with all of them is both inefficient and time consuming for businesses.
If you can harness all these networks into one organisational hub it will be far easier to manage Brand awareness campaigns across different Social Media Sites. From what I can see, Microsoft’s Outlook Connector seems to provide this service!
With Outlook’s Social Connectors managing your Social Networking Campaigns is made easier. The People Pane at the bottom of the Outlook Reading Pane provides users with an intelligent and effective way to access all relevant social media information about a given contact, including e-mail, calendar events, file attachments, as well as RSS feeds and social network status updates.
See Outlook Social Connector in Action with LinkedIn!
Why Does Social Connector Look More Promising for Business?
Several analysts noted that Gmail isn’t the primary e-mail service used by most businesses, and that likely means that corporate IT departments won’t be widely installing Google Buzz. I use Outlook as my e-mail platform, so in order to use Buzz I have to open yet another window alongside Facebook and Twitter.
Gmail is used in business, but my feel is that it is typically a second or third e-mail account for most business people in midsize and large corporations. I don’t believe that Gmail’s penetration into the corporate world is large enough to give them a decent sized market to create a Buzz Enterprise.
From what I can see, Buzz turns your e-mail platform into a new social networking tool, while Outlook 2010 social connectors provide a means of efficiently managing your existing social networks. Which would you use for business?
The Google approach with Buzz can be overwhelming-inundating your inbox with a steady stream of comments and status updates. If you are not careful about managing the privacy of your comments and threads, you also risk exposing information to parties that you weren’t even aware of.
Google Buzz is limited, at least for now, to tying Google contacts and a single Twitter account into the Buzz network. Outlook 2010 Social Connectors promises to be a more open platform. Microsoft has created a software development kit enabling programmers to create add-ins for Outlook to tie in any other network. Not just ones on the Goolge Network.
The contact-centric approach taken by Microsoft enables you to quickly and easily view all content associated with a given user–including their recent Twitter tweets, Facebook status updates, or other social networking interactions–without overwhelming the Outlook inbox or dumping an avalanche of irrelevant communications on you.
We’re still a few months away from the official launch of Office 2010, and LinkedIn is the only Social Connector available at this time. However in my opinion, Microsoft’s approach seems much more efficient and more promising for business professionals, especially for business users that already rely on Microsoft Outlook for e-mail, or who are interested in integrating social networks beyond Twitter.
Facebook – A Key Traffic Driver for Online Business.
Facebook is now the top source of traffic for major news-entertainment portals such as Yahoo and MSN, according to traffic analysis firm Compete, and is “among the leaders” for other sites as well.
Compete’s director of online media and search told the San Francisco Chronicle that a snapshot of web traffic from December 2009 showed 13 percent of the traffic to major web portals like Yahoo, MSN and AOL came from Facebook. Traffic from Google generated just 7 percent.
Facebook has a substantial business presence on it. More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook . By incorporating the use of Facebook Ads and useful tools like Facebook Connect business owners have been able to drive more traffic to their sites. More than 60 million Facebook users engage with Facebook Connect on external websites every month.
Business’s can target Niches accurately with Facebook Ad campaigns. If Facebook is now driving more traffic on the web then why should business not be focusing more on Facebook Ad campaigns which are exposed to its target audience in less volume when compared to a flood of sponsored Ad listings in search results pages.
Due to the high Authority of Facebook in search rankings, Business pages and Profiles are indexed for optimal search engine positioning, Allowing for an increased presence in Organic search listings without the use of AdWords.
LinkedIn for Outlook brings together the most popular professional network with the world’s leading professional Inbox. Linked In has over 55 million users now and It will take a lot for the Business version of Buzz to draw away a significant proportion of these users. It would prove very difficult to over shadow the reputable and professional image of this professional social networking site and match its business networking functionality.
From a Local SEO Perspective Buzz is Way Ahead of the Game.
It’s important for business’s to learn the benefits of local SEO and to understand how Google Buzz in the very near future will provide far more Local SEO benefits than Facebook or Twitter will.
When you search for businesses in Google Maps and you go to their mobile place page there is now a button that says “Buzz about this place”. You can Buzz about a business you like, you don’t like, etc.
This is an area where Google is leagues a head of Facebook or Twitter as people who are using Google Maps to search for local businesses will be able to see what other people are saying about this business, much like a review. Far more effective then becoming a “fan” of a business page I would think. The more Buzz’s, the more visibility for your Business!
While Google Buzz’s development is still very young, and its Business platform has still to be released it is evident that it has much to compete with! However it will be exciting to see how it will compete in the corporate world against Outlook’s Social Connector and with other social/ business networking Giants such as Facebook and LinkedIn.