The Importance of Google to your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Written by Robin WildingMarch 14, 2011

Google is no longer a search engine; Google’s zeitgeist has permeated very aspect of online life, including social media. To speak to the breadth of Google’s online influence, it is foreseeable that in the very-near future we might all be using Google’s cloud-based Chrome operating system to load our Google Chrome browser to do a Google search or to check our Gmail email, all the while social networking on Google Buzz. Needless to say, Google is an important part of our Internet-based lives.

Google’s social strategy is growing quickly; they acquired 5 social media companies in 2010 alone, adding to their overall social networking participation. Google search is also changing how we view the Internet by indexing social networking cues. And with social networking searches in the rise (Twitter alone has 600 million searches every month) Google will undoubtedly begin to challenge social media marketing in a big way. This change from Google being a search engine company to a social media company has already begun…

Google’s Social Search

Google made a huge contribution to social media marketing when they launched Google Social Search. Their search engine now indexes social networking content using Social Graph, a technology similar to Facebook’s OpenGraph.

Ah Facebook…Google’s current arch nemesis de jour. Great tension exists between Facebook and Google which is why the one social networking site not prominently indexed by Google’s Social Search is Facebook (although it still lists Facebook accounts in its ordinary search).

What this means for businesses is that while having a strong Facebook presence is important, maintaining equally strong profiles and dialogues on other social networking sites is critical if you want to have presence on Google—and you do want to have a strong presence on Google. 

Without Facebook though, Google’s Social Search remains limited, which means they will surely have to put aside their silly spat soon. When Google does include Facebook in their Social Search the importance of Google will be ten-fold.

Google Buzz

Buzz is Google’s foray into social networking—finally. Buzz is a social networking tool that integrates directly into Google Gmail accounts. While Buzz is still not as popular as Facebook, Twitter or other social networking, Gmail still has over 200 million users.

Google Buzz is a force to be reckoned with given that it interacts with Google Docs, Picasa, Flickr, Google Latitude, Google Reader, Google Sidewiki, YouTube, Blogger, FriendFeed, identi.ca and Twitter.  Essentially Gmail users can do all their business and personal activities like emailing, sharing photos, blogging, have conversations, share contacts, and more—all without leaving their email.

Given that Google Buzz is integrating itself so deeply into the lives of its users, it is a product that will be around a while and that should be catered to in any social media marketing campaign.

Social Acquisitions

Google has been busy. After a number of unsuccessful product launches, Google has seemingly shifted their social media focus from product development to acquisitions. In 2010 Google bought SocialDeck (mobile social gaming), Angstro (a social networking app), Like.com (social fashion), Jambool (social gaming with virtual currency), and Slide (social gaming).

Previously Google acquired several other social companies, including: YouTube (social video), Blogger (social blogging platform), Knol (Wiki-like), Orkut (social networking), Picasa (image sharing), and Aarvark (social search).

While Google-watching analysts have been unable to piece together the puzzle of what Google is building out of these acquisitions, they believe it to be big. Google seems to be creating small social products and buying up other small social products in hopes of creating a transformer-like social network from Google.

Building up a strong social media profile with Google now will be a critical part of any social marketing success in the near future.

Google Analytics

Google’s Analytics have become a vital tool for online marketers in determining the success of their Search Engine Optimization campaigns.  Traditionally Google Analytics have been used to track website traffic and SEO success, but more recently the tool has been used for social media tracking too. Most popular social analytic tools integrate Google Analytics as their backbone including über popular analytics company HootSuite.

Many other analytical tools build on Google Analytics, including social media tools like Argyle Social, Snip-n-Tag, Unilyzer, PostRank Analytics, and Social Commerce Insights.

These tools add yet another piece to the puzzle that Google is putting together, and provide a solid reason of why social media marketers should pay attention to Google.

Conclusion

While Google may not be the first company that comes to mind when you think of social media marketing, Google is still an important element. The sum of Google’s small apps makes them a force to be acknowledged. Their piecemeal strategy of creating small products, services and apps is signifying a big change coming from Google—a change that should be watched, and prepared for by social media marketers.

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