Thursday, March 21, 2013


By Dhawal Shah

Google Plus - The Future Of Social Search

Photo courtesy of Dhawal Shah

Google threw its hat into the social network arena with Google Plus (Google+) in late 2011, which many felt was too little too late, especially with Facebook growing at an amazing rate. Since its release though, Google+ has grown quickly, and increasingly, being on this platform is a must for the fashion industry. There are plenty of reasons but we’ll discuss the 5 major ones here.

1) Modest User Base

At the end of 2012, Google+ had 158 Fashion Bloggers and 168 Fashion Brands and Designers on its platform as well as 135 million active users. With such modest numbers, one should wonder why any fashion label or blogger would be interested in jumping on the platform.

These figures indicate the room for growth on Google+ and the smaller user base means brands or bloggers have a great opportunity to establish themselves without getting lost in the noise, which brings us nicely to the next point.

With only a small number of influencers currently online, the chances of reaching out and connecting to them are much higher than on a noisy platform like Facebook.

2) Communities

Google+ has created a great community feature that allows users as well as business pages to create and join existing communities of like-minded people. This allows a brand like Hucklebury to reach out quickly to others that are interested specifically in what we have to offer as a fashion label by creating a community around our brand and inviting users.

Photo courtesy of Dhawal Shah

3) Circles

The defining feature of Google+ is Circles, which can be confusing to get at first but is amazing once it becomes clear how to use circles. You can now segment the people you wish to reach out to. A fashion blogger could separate his readers from influencers and fellow bloggers to target each group specifically when he has pertinent information for each group. As a fashion label, you could segment your Circles based on buyer groups, influencers, suppliers, bloggers etc. The possibilities are endless and left to you to devise to fit your needs.

Photo courtesy of Dhawal Shah

4) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google is the biggest search engine in the world, and one of the reasons for creating its own social network was that it realized the importance of social recommendations for its search algorithm. Google+ is going to be the cornerstone for its social SEO efforts. Already, if you are logged in to Google while surfing, you start seeing the effects of social recommendations. So as a fashion label whose reach and sales online are dependent on their search ranking, adding that +1 Button on your site and having a Business Page linked to your website is important.

As a fashion blogger, Google recently introduced Google Plus Authorship, which is a way of ranking authors online. When someone searches for you, your profile photo shows up beside your article, increasing your likelihood of a click. If you have a fashion blog with many authors, you should set this up straight away and link each contributor through their Google+ profiles to drastically increase your rankings.

Photo courtesy of Dhawal Shah

5) Localized Business Pages

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, having a Google+ Business Page is even more important. You can give Google your exact location and your type of business (‘retail’ for example). Google sends you a postcard with a PIN to enter online. Once done, your search rankings will improve based on localization targeting, and Google will show a map beside your search result letting people near you who searched exactly where to find you.

Photo courtesy of Dhawal Shah

Being barely more than a year old means that currently, it seems that Google+ will not be able to match Facebook in social media. However, the fact that most of the world’s monetizable traffic goes through the Google Search Engine means that Google+ is set to take a dominant role in search, and ignoring it would be foolish. Get started right now!

About The Author:

Dhawal Shah is the co-founder of Hucklebury, a vertically-integrated online fashion label selling better fitting men's shirts, and co-founder of 2Stallions, a digital agency specializing in web development and social media management.

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