Using Google Plus for Business and Organisations of all sizes.
How Google plus and the social layer will transform how organizations work for years to come.
When I first got involved with understanding Google over ten years ago, I was taught one central principle: Relevance.
Nothing has changed.
It is all about getting the right message to the right people. Back then it was about ‘relevance’ in relation to search engine results.
Now we just have new ways to achieving this goal and Google+ is at the centre of it all.
Google’s +Vic Gundotra says that they have added a “social layer” across Google’s products and services. The deeper you go into embracing the social layer, the more I suspect you will find it delivering increased flow and integration as well.
The ‘social layer’ integrates.
Google+ is at the centre of integration of the products and services.
In this way:
1. Google+ posts can be sent out to specific groups
2. People can be invited to be involved in content formation (e.g. in Google Docs via Google Drive) – you can even watch as someone else types into the document/excel sheet/powerpoint etc.
Here is a fun Google video on this: Go Google: Hall and Oates
3. Gmail now allows for people to comment on threads as if they were within Google+, again great for collaboration.
4. You can also start hangouts from a post (or Gmail message as they are becoming the same thing), being the relevant people to the ‘party’ so to speak
5. Content in the form of youtube videos can also be shared to specific circles (see below)
6. You can search from within Google+ itself for posts/comments etc. ‘your circles’ specifically. This way you can find relevant content from people close to you or relating to your organisation (especially if done from a company page)
7. Google’s search engine results will increasingly become tailored based on who is influential within your network* and on what content has been shared with you.
8. Shared calendars, organising events and more….
*this is a very interesting component, network weighting, that could well determine ‘which’ results appear, from ‘who’ as well as for ‘whom’.
What does this mean for business and organisations?
Let’s take some examples using the Commoogle page +Commoogle as a quick case study. Imagine it is an organisation with a manager in every country in the world (well, only 50 managers available at present but you get the point).
Note, this why managers on a page are so important to get right – the right manager for the task has the right people in the right circles
1. There is a job offer for Android developers willing to relocate to Mountain View.
2. The job is shared to an ‘Android developers’ circle by a manager of the page who has curated that i.e. they may include people within or outside the organisation
3. Only those people would see the post.
If, however, the post is not ‘locked’ (i.e. still can be shared on) then people could send further within the Android developers community – opening up the opportunity to a great audience.
4. The post could also appear in search results if anyone in that circle was to search for ‘android developers jobs’ and is following that page.
This principle can applied in an enormous numbers of ways and relevant for anyone who produces content they want other people to find/access.
1. Someone posts a job/work offer in Toronto, Canada
2. It is shared within the page itself but it is local job that would not have national/international appeal.
3. A manager for the page, who lives in Canada and has curated a circle of ‘Toronto business people’, then sends out to the page without anyone else having access to the information (i.e. to a limited circle) then share that post via your profile. This is ideal as generally people in the community would not be interested in this specific a job offer.
Why every business will want to be on Google+ very soon…
The applications for businesses are huge.
If you have an organisation with 5,000 people and you can build circle of 500 people relating to e.g. a particular job function/level of management/country etc, and share information specific to the relevant people.
Yes, I know you may well know this already, but with new aspects to the social layer it goes a step further.
If you have a company page(s) with department heads as managers e.g. Finance, Human Resources, Marketing etc. And each of these people have included the key people in their department within their own personal circles – once people ‘follow a page’, they ‘sign up’ and you can then organise them into appropriate circles. This is an excellent principle for building appropriate and refined lists, it does need some thinking through and planning.
In time I am sure there will be a job title ‘Organizational Circle Manager’!
These circles can then be shared to everyone within the organisation, preventing people having to build the circle themselves.
Here is the really neat bit – these results (i.e. specifically relating to the circles you are in) will most probably appear in search engine results (I am speculating here but it would tie in well to the key principle of relevance mentioned earlier).
1. You are in a circle for ‘Human Resources’
2. Your company has posted, via the HR manager on the page, an article on ‘Reduce stress in the workplace’
3. You search for “workplace stress”
4. Your search results are likely to include that post that came from your company page
So, if you have a Google+ page for a company then it can become a central hub for distributing messages in a broad context. Then each person can send each message to that specific group and with good hashtags and headings this content will most likely appear in the search results when an individual from that department searches.
In other words, companies would influence the search results of those people from within a specific department with a message.
The person will still have a choice whether to choose the “socialized link” or another one, but the results are nonetheless tailored based upon what has been posted on the company page.
It could even go a step further…
With some kind of RippleRank to measure the influence when an idea spreads (as will probably be built into the system in time), it would be possible to measure when e.g.
5. The same person finds an article posted from the company page, shares it from the post/blog using the via their personal profile (or a specific company Gmail linked to a profile, depending on company policy/approach) using the Google +1 share button and then influence other people to read it, +1, share and so on.
Note, that +Lee Smallwood and +NOD3x are at the leading edge with all this.
Who knows, this could even allow for recognition of effort to be built into remuneration systems in years to come. In turn, this change in social structure would continue the emergence of a new form of economy.
More on transforming organisations here:https://plus.google.com/u/0/115633934578783827271/posts/4y2A9ruU5Yq
I would also suggest following +Thomas Morffew +Thomas Power +Jaana Nyström +Mark Traphagen +Denis Labelle +Gideon Rosenblatt who are probably all way ahead of me in this area.
What about using videos to get messages across?
Well, now that Youtube allows you to share specific videos to circles you can get the right video to the right people as well.
Check out +Ronnie Bincer here: http://goo.gl/hv8aI for more information.
And guess what, if you use the right tags these are very likely to start show up in search engine results.
So, a video produced specifically for people – this video is likely to appear in the same way as the example above. Ideal, for instance, for company policies, education etc. as when someone searches for ‘New Product launch’ for a specific companies product, for whom they work, the video showcasing up and coming launches can be displayed in the video.
This then is only accessible to people in the relevant circle to whom it has been shared.
Ways of sharing content using Google Drive.
The same will go for any shared documents in Drive – you decide ‘who’ has access and ‘what ‘they can do with it as well.
Files can be be shared:
Privately i.e. you need to invite a Gmail contact
Anyone with the link – but this could be sent to a circle
Publically – so that anyone can find the document on the web
You can also decide the setting whether people can ‘view’ or ‘edit’ the document.
If you have a presentation you want to be built up, for instance, you could share it to a circle and they could all collaborate on it.
When shared publically people can also share it via the G+, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter buttons. This is even more integration at play.
The possibilities are only constrained by people’s imagination.
I am certain there is a lot more about organisational applications for Google+, but I guess many of us are beginning to see it all fit together.
Google has provided the systems people use, but any organisation can use the tools with respect to their organizational culture, with individuals being able to work more efficiently, with less time lags/mistakes/slips etc. Even a small thing like being able to edit emails (posts on G+) can save a lot of problems.
The thing is this, it is not just about Fortune 100 companies.
This is about every business and organization, large or small.
There will also be some amazing times ahead for those who are getting to grips with the social layer now. As +Denis Labelle once told me, the best is yet to come. For the first time I now feel enable to help organisations large or small with their Google+ strategy. Things are really coming together and it is great to be part of our Commoogle.
Image and Google for Business Blog http://googleenterprise.blogspot.co.uk/
http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/ for more information on how to use Google in an organisation.
It goes far beyond search!