Einstein once said, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” And in this case, putting simply, after the announcements earlier this year about G+, I was struggling to understand the future of Google+ in the overall map of Google products and services. Google+ was Google (the social layer) to many of us, so how would it all fit together if that was to change?
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve figured it out. And hopefully created a map of the Google Ecosystem that will help you too.
Google is a collection of inter-connected Apps.
And they are perfect for business.
With the prevalence of Chromebooks (I had one of the early generation ones) making their way into businesses and educational establishments, we can see that people enter the Google eco-system via Chrome. And then have access to a number of the Google Apps one click away, as you can see in the image below.
But it was not until I spent a load of time re-mapping using mobile that I understood what was going on with the new eco-system.
The eco-system is even more beautiful when viewed from the perspective of mobile.
And we could look at this from the perspective of individual Apps. But I’ve found that there are so many cross-connections between them, it is better to think in terms of ‘something else’.
After all, it is the way they interact that makes it all work so well.
Knowing that the big shift for many will be a map that is not Chrome (Chro) based. I wanted to shift your perspective – to mobile.
As such I’ve been breaking it down into understanding it as: Mobile, then Photos, Social, Local, Voice, and Storage.
When you return to desktop with a new map you will (hopefully) it all more clearly.
And when your desktop has a touchscreen, it will probably start to be more like a mobile.
In time, who knows, maybe Chromebooks will be Android devices too – leaving any division behind.
A new map (mobile):
The EcoSystem (Eco) is all split into either two actions: Consumption (Con), or Production (Pro)
Mo: PhoSoLoVoSto – Abo (I’ll explain!)
The ecosystem is build around apps to help us either consume or produce content.
You may search and consume using Chrome, YouTube and Play i.e. read/watch/listen; or you may produce content to post socially on G+ and beyond, blog, collaborate on docs in Drive etc.
With that in mind…
And this ecosystem is really built for a mobile future.
Yes, the Chrome browser is a major part of the current ecosystem, but I really want to encourage you thinking ‘mobile’, at least for a while.
Also, I’ve included mobile as the focus as I believe at some point we will find the same functionality across all devices – but right now, e.g. Inbox still has Google Hangouts integrated on desktop. i.e. we are going more mobile in the eco-system, not less.
The apps include:
Gmail and Inbox
And Search itself.
‘Search’ is a place that aggregate and surfaces the right information, including upcoming travel plans or calendar updates.
And stand alone they are cool, but let me show you how it all fits together…
A tour of the Google ecosystem:
This is not a complete picture, but I hope it gives you some ideas of how you could think about the territory i.e. classification of function, instead of only the apps themselves:
Pho (photos) – Photos, Drive, G+, other networks, and Maps
So (social) – G+ (Collections and Communities), Hangouts, Inbox, Calendar
Lo – (local) inc. Maps and Google my Business
Vo – (voice)
Sto- (storage) Drive and Keep, Gmail – and ‘Search’ for finding old Google+ messages
Underpinning it all are principles for business: Collaboration and Communication As you will see from the video, there are so many cross-connections between the apps, and within the mobile experience.
A few examples:
(similar to the video, if you’d rather skim)
Let’s look at a few ways the ‘cross app’ functionality shows up.
With Google Keep, Inbox and Drive and Photos – showing how these apps can work together:
Social (So): Google+, Search and YouTube – showing how Google+ posts can surface in Search, and how you move to YouTube’s app with a click.
Blogger fits in here too.
Maps, Photos and Google My Business – with Maps you can add Photos to a business, and if you are a business you can then manage your listing in Google My Business. You can also connect to G+ from there too.
Google wants you ‘in the world’
Putting this simply, the more Photos and Videos you take, the more Stories and Movies it makes using the Photos app.
The Google Maps app is increasingly about reviewing places and adding your photos to locations (as well as improving the mapping of the world).
As soon as you see a keyword, you have the option to use voice
(except in e.g. ‘Inbox’ right now)
Anywhere you see the ‘microphone’ you can use voice, from Search, to G+, to Drive, to Hangouts…
By backing up your photos, and well as having your content in Gmail/Inbox, and Drive, we are uploading our photos into the Cloud.
I’ve said for a long time that one way to monetize all this free stuff we get from Google is through Storage, mainly Google Drive. With literally tens or hundreds of thousands of pictures being uploaded into the cloud we can see that once the free trials end, Google will have the ability to monetize at e.g $5 a month/$60 a user per year.
About me (Abo)
In order to complete the map, we need to see where your information comes from.
As you can see from the image below. There is a consistent display across so many of the apps – profile, and cover photo.
And also, when you click on people’s images e.g. in Hangouts, Inbox, G+ etc. it brings up the About Page for that person as an overlay.
This is a key change.
It used to be Google+ ‘About me’ but it is now ‘About Me’.
Not an App quite yet (on a mobile), but serves the function of informing your other devices.
So, Google+’s influence has become much more ‘in the background’ now, apart from the Social Sharing aspect.
There is an additional element that underpins so much of what you can do within the Google Eco-system – Collaboration.
Google Drive, Google Keep, and Hangouts are perfect examples of you choosing which people or groups you want to work with. Full guide on that here.
This map of the Google Ecosystem is my personal antidote to seeing Apps in isolation.
It may well change as time goes on, and there could well be a ‘Chrome’ version emerge at some point too, but for now I hope you see change as a positive from this perspective. Think Apps, and think communicating the right information at the right time with the right people.
Want to get some more advanced training for free? Sign up for my latest ‘GoMo’ course by clicking the link below!
Do you want to show the world of your awesome work?
Well, consider sharing your reviews publicly, then taking the embed code (from the upper right menu on the post) and adding it to your website, just like the PYB members below:
And as you can see, when we are producing great work and getting super reviews, you will have have to choose from:
Back in the summer I spent weeks researching Local business, and this was a video with findings after the first 6 weeks.
It has come a lot further from there, but this should give you some idea what Local businesses want – mainly, more customers!
We have a great ‘reviews’ products available, perfect for anyone with a ‘Google My Business’ listing.
Want to know more? Get in touch here!
David’s Tea now has over 160 stores around the country, and recently had its IPO.
Super service orientated, brightly lit stores, and the grandest selection of tea you will find on the high street since Nineteenth Century England.
But it is not the product that got my attention. On my walkabout, I chatted with one manager – Randy in their Burlingame location – and he mentioned how reviews were used internally as a kind of performance measurement. Not the only one by all means, but still something that was discussed with the member os staff in relation to that review.
After this event I discussed more and more places were doing the same in this area.
Reviews is not about the experience you have, it is about how you feel about the experience you had.
Sometimes you will find the feedback says more about the person giving it than about the facts – and sometimes a manager may well have observed the exchange, and will input their view post event as well.
Negative feedback that cannot be resolved really hammers a business as their stars start to drop.
A 2 star review…
“TL;DR – It feels like a bunch of high schoolers working their first part time job.
Ok. 5 stars for my first visit and 1 star for the two times after. The first time I went, there were 2 workers there who were super friendly and knowledgable.
Second two times…. not as much.
All the girls do there is just talk to each other. The store was pretty full of customers browsing, but the girls just talked amongst themselves and ignored basically everyone; except those ringing up.”
Compared to this 5 star one…
“Super friendly and fast service. Super transparent pricing than that! Ashlee made the whole experience a delight!! Definitely try if you’re around.”
If you browse many people’s reviews you will see one common theme – it is all about customer service, combined with the product/service offering itself.
And that is the key to getting more, good reviews – improve customer service and you will get the stars.
But, of course, Yelp can attract some complainers. And that is why I think Google is going to rise in the mind’s of business owners across the world. Google owns Search, and it would seem (from my testing in the field) the mobile Search results are increasingly delivering Google data, including reviews, open hours, shop images, over and above Yelp listings.
Whichever way, people are listening, and my personal experience of David’s Tea has been 5 stars every time.
With thanks to BrightLocal.com we have an up-to-date view of the reviewscape, and with myself Nick Rink and Priya Chandra running through their latest report in the video with a few extracts I think you would like to know below too:
A few key points:
Below is a glance at how you can interrupt some of the findings.
Awesome if you are looking at building your review presence, and getting more customers through your door.
Almost 80% of people will read between 2-10 reviews before feeling they can trust a business.
When judging a Local business on their reviews, 60% of people will pay most attention to overall star rating; and 44% will focus on quantity of reviews.
Around 85% of people said reviews need to be within the past 6 months to be relevant.
Almost 85% of people said ‘3 stars’ was the minimum for they would need for choosing a business.
94% of businesses said they would choose a business with 4/5 stars, but only 57% would choose them if they have 3/4 stars.
68% of people say that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Only 11% say they don’t take notice of reviews.
After reading positive reviews, 71% of people say they either visit the website or call the business.
29% said they would recommend a business that was ‘professional and reliable’; 22% said they would when they were ‘warm and welcoming’.
(the latter is up from 7% 2 years ago!)
If you have a Local type business listed on sites such as Yelp, Tripadvisor or Google Maps then you are likely at some point to have to deal with getting a bad review.
And they may cost your business a small fortune – as this article shows – £30,000 a year.
(courtesy of Malcolm Maybury, one of our PYB Local Consultants)
Here are a few suggestions to help, based on suggestions from PYB team member and Local expert Priya Chandra:
Respond to all reviews – good and bad. People have taken the time to review you, take the time to say thank you.
You want to reply to the review professionally and to the point.
If things look like they’re heating up take the discussion offline (provide an email address for them to contact you for more detailed conversation). More from Priya here.
Promote good reviews on the Google+ Page and then embed that post into the testimonials section of your website (if you have one).
Remember that people don’t believe that a business will have 100% positive reviews as well! Negative reviews are expected and Google will actually factor that possibility into their calculations (which is how a business with 100% positive reviews can have an overall rating of <5 stars). More info on calculations here. And more info on negative reviews effect on business here.
All review sites offer ways to flag reviews that break their Terms of Service but won’t remove a review simply for being negative.
Note: Yelp won’t let you ask for reviews but you can advertise that you’re on Yelp in your business – and ask people to check-in via Yelp, and when they do that they’ll be asked to review the business.
Google allows you to ask for reviews but not to offer any incentives.
Tripadvisor seem happy for you to ask too.
My best advice is this: build up a ‘warchest of positive reviews’ so that you won’t get hit too hard when one or two bad ones hit, and they will. Think about 20 four and five stars to every one star you may receive.
And note, you cannot ask for Yelp reviews directly but with Google you can. And Google owns Search…
The top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing exposure and increasing traffic. A significant 90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Increasing traffic was the second major benefit, with 77% reporting positive results.
Most marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans (69%) and gain marketplace intelligence (68%).
It takes time to develop relationships that lead to sales. However, a large percentage of marketers who take the time find great results.
For example, more than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least 2 years report it helped them improve sales. More than half who spend 6 or more hours per week find the same results and 73% of those who spend 40+ hours per week earn new business through their efforts.
With as little as 6 hours per week, the vast majority of marketers (91%+) indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their businesses. Nearly all marketers (91%+) who’ve been employing social media marketing for one year or longer report it generates exposure for their businesses.
Grew business partnerships
More than half of marketers who’ve invested at least 2 years in social media marketing report that new partnerships were gained.
By spending as little as 6 hours per week, 66%+ of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.
Reduced marketing expenses
More than half of those who spend at least 6 hours per week on social media efforts saw a benefit of reduced marketing expenses.
Improved search rankings
Improved search engine rankings were most prevalent among those who’ve been using social media for one year or longer, with 54%+ reporting a rise.
At least 61% of those investing a minimum of 6 hours per week in social media marketing saw improvements in search engine rankings.
A significant 81%+ of participants found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.
Provided marketplace insight
Of those with at least 1 year of experience, 63% or more found social platforms provided marketplace insight. At least 71% of those spending at least 6 hours per week were more likely to gain marketplace insight.
Developed loyal fans
Of those who have been using social media for at least 1 year, 64% found it useful for building a loyal fan base.
Established thought leadership
More than half of marketers who have been using social media for 2 or more years (57%+) have been able to establish thought leadership.
Could you earn additional income of £12,000 to £15,000 (that is around) $15,000-$20,000 just by having a Google Business Page?
Here is a quick story from Paul Evans, who has roaring success in his first week.
And yes, we are being a little ‘sensationalist’ but I think you’ll see how important it could be for Local type businesses…
“I recently set up a business page for my barbershop, by the way it took over 3 weeks to get a Google code for verification. Anyway, Since verification, in the first week I gained at least 4 new customers. It might not seem a lot, but each guy on average has his haircut every 5 weeks. That’s roughly 10 visits a year per guy. Now you can do the math on possible income generated if we at the barbershop have done our job right.
I put in place a measuring device to see if any business would be generated by a G+ page and verification of that page. What I did was put my personal mobile number as the contact number on the business page. That is how I measured the 1st weeks impact of a page on Google plus. My personal number isn’t available or connected to my business in any way. Therefore every enquiry / booking via my mobile came from a Google search. Another point I should reveal is that I don’t have an actual website.
Finally, I love reading your posts and tips but would love it if some of you and your colleagues knowledge could be more applied to shop front businesses and not just the internet marketing sector.” The Barbers of Warwick
And now we have! Thanks Paul. Great story for the community.