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Google offers lots of plusses

Retailers can use Google+ to build brand awareness while interacting with an expanding customer base.

Launched last year, Google’s new social networking arm, Google+, is gaining traction in the online arena, with a number of retailers already setting up pages on the site.

The basic premise of Google+ is that it is a social site which is a mix between Facebook and Twitter, with added elements such as Google Hangouts.

Individuals who sign up to Google+ are encouraged to add friends, acquaintances and business pages to their ‘circles’. Circles allow users to sort contacts into groups; for example, one circle for friends and one circle for work contacts. When a user interacts with an individual, either by sending them a message or commenting on a post, notification is sent to that individual which can be viewed from a drop-down menu in the top Google bar.

For retailers, Google+ is a social site on which a page can be created in order to interact with customers and build brand awareness.

A Google+ button can be added to any page on a website which users can click on to recommend that site to their circles. Individuals who see the recommendation can then comment on it. Individuals can see when a ‘friend’ has clicked on the Google+ button on a website, which will make them more likely to trust the site through such recommendations.

Google+ allows individuals or companies with pages on the site to stage ‘Google Hangouts’. These are one-click video conversations which retailers can use to interact with customers. 

Nishma Robb, business development and marketing director at I Spy Marketing, believes there are a number of ways retailers can use Google+, such as reviewing collections or promoting celebrity endorsements.

Retailers including Burberry, Asos and Debenhams are already on Google+, and with more than 90 million global users it should be on the list of retailers’ online ones to watch for 2012. 

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