The social media space is one of the most competitive industries in today’s digital world. This became clearer than ever in 2011, a year when we saw social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn evolve, and the birth of new players like Google+. Despite having an uphill climb ahead of it, Google knows that it can make its new social network a worthy foe by not only introducing familiar features, but features that clearly distinguish it from the competition. The company has attempted to do this with its “#seasonforshipping” initiative, a holiday inspired venture that aims to deliver Google+ updates on a daily basis.
One of the most interesting new features to come out of the initiative is the ability perform searches by location. This feature should be of great interest to marketers using Google+ as it can help increase visibility and exposure to their local audience. Even better for local businesses is the fact that using the feature is extremely easy. A user simply has to conduct a search in Google+ as they usually would, and click the “from everywhere” button at the top of the page. From there, they just have to type in a city or zip code to start filtering the results. Being that location and social are proving to be an ideal match, we could see this one getting regular use from Google+ members.
Growing Importance of Location-based Tools
Location is increasingly becoming an important part of the discovery process. This is the case on both the conventional and mobile web. Whether the search involves finding details about a restaurant, night club, or what’s playing at the theater, location can play a critical role in ensuring that the user finds the right information on the topic at hand. While the features offered by technology makers like Google and Microsoft are extremely useful in helping consumers find their way, they also help venue owners and operators by getting them discovered.
Marketers will be happy to know that the new location filter in Google+ has been receiving solid reviews thus far. The early word is that it does a great job of serving up results based on the specific areas the user is searching in. However, it is important note that a few stars must be aligned for marketers to start reaping the benefits. For example, in order for users to be able to find you in the results, you must tag your update with the location you want people to see. This, combined with optimizing your posts with discovery in mind, will help you make the most of Google+’s search features.
Slowly but surely, Google+ is evolving into a credible social networking platform. In the early stages, one of the biggest complaints was that it lacked features and felt incomplete. As the new features roll in, it will continue to grow more complete and grow more in value as a marketing tool as well.
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