Public Displays of Affection Once Again Important for Brands?

The recent explosion of Google+ onto the social scene has once again raised the question of public brand affiliation as demonstrated through “Likes”, Google+1, Diggs, etc. Throughout the past year, debates have raged on the real (if any) value of Facebook “Likes” towards the bottom line of a business given that the majority of Facebook users engage content in the news stream vs Fan Pages.

ComScore recently released a WhitePaper on the Power of Like in which it stated that “the ‘value of a fan’ can be assessed in three primary ways:

·         increasing the depth of engagement and loyalty among Fans

·         generating incremental purchase behavior

·         leveraging the ability to influence Friends of Fans

In reality, the value of any form of advertising – traditional or social – is the amount of exposure to brand impressions that the tactic drives. Social Media marketers will argue that to mean the amount of “engagement” that someone has with your brand but at the end of the day aren’t engagements  brand impressions.  It’s always been about impressions: the number, frequency and reach of impressions that can be generated over a defined period of time.

The Google Effect on Public Displays of Brand Affection

I submit that the introduction of Google+ has opened an entirely new consideration in the debate over the value of “public brand love”; specifically, the impact on search engine optimization. We’ve already experienced this within Facebook as the number of “Likes” a brand receives impacts the number of “friends of friends” that will see and potentially engage with your brand.

Impressions. But this was limited to the Facebook Universe.

The amazingly rapid adoption of the Google+ platform has re-invigorated this debate due to its integration of all things digital into one platform, including the largest and most popular search engine in the world.

Think about your ability to click the Google “+1” to indicate your affiliation with not just a brand but with any page within the brand’s Web site or any document uploaded to the web site – and not just from the brand’s site but from within Google’s search listings. Or clicking “+1″ on videos posted to Googles’ YouTube Network. Or the eventual Google+ Brand pages and soon the “+1″ icon on every brand’s blog or social content.  And now consider the future impact of those G+s on your brand (not just their sites) SEO ranking. See where this is going?

The convergence of content and networks into one “Skynet”-like super brain has social media marketers once again buzzing over the importance of Likes. Only this time, it’s G+s.  

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts below.

[thanks to all those who joined us for the Aug 3rd #bizforum Twitter debate on this topic with fellow Social Media Masters presenter: Matthew Hicks, former PR & Social Media Manager at Facebook.]   

By Sam Fiorella
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego
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