PUBLISHED: Feb 20, 2014 5 min read

SMWNYC Day Two: Using Google+ Sign-In and Other Platform Features to Drive Growth

On day two of #SMWNYC Google hosted two sessions, both of which initially seemed like live infomercials for their products but some good tips and inspiring case studies were shared towards optimizing your brand’s presence on Google+.

Social Media Week

Google+ Hangouts
A Google rep touted this live broadcasting product’s suite of remote tools that enable:

  1. Control (production control room, image enhancement filters, person’s name + title)
  2. Quality (HD, full screen)
  3. Audience (Showtime, RSVP notification, Q&A, archives, Hangout Effects)
Other features touted were the product’s shopping application and something called “Hangout jumping” where others can jump in on your Hangout at any given time… A video was played showing singer John Legend joining a Hangout with three of his fans, much to their surprise!

HuffPost Live’s Ahmed Shihab came onstage to talk about how they’ve used Hangouts to “democratize the media” and disrupt the passive, authoritative format of the old broadcast news model. With their Hangouts, HuffPost Live news coverage has created an “equalizing environment” while redefining what it means to be an expert by inviting ordinary citizens on the grounds of political events to tell their stories. In the past couple years since HuffPost Live’s inception, they’ve hosted 17,000 guests from over 100 countries covering world events like the Arab Spring.’s Katie Morse talked about hosting G+ Hangouts on the Grammys red carpet and using social influencers as hosts. Morse’s strategy was clear:

  • Focus on engagement (with music fans)
  • Add value for fans
  • Integrate Hangouts into additional music coverage points
  • Break new ground

Google+ Platform Integration
The next session hosted by Google’s Product Management Director Seth Sternberg (co-founder of now defunct Meebo which was acquired by Google in 2012) promised to show us how to use the new suite of Google+ platform features to drive growth and increase search visibility.

“Focus on user needs, not business needs.” – Google’s Seth Sternberg

Sternberg began by emphasizing that Google has noticed fresh content gets clicked on more (in their search results) and advised everyone to continuously post new content on their brand’s Google+ page, with the latest post appearing on the top right of organic search results for brand queries. (Note: Post will appear in search results even if your page has no followers.)

Sternberg then went into detail and presented case studies on a whole slew of other Google+ platform features, tools and plug-ins that can help your brand stay connected with its users from the moment they find you:

  • Linking to In-App Content
    Indexes the content of apps for deep linking from mobile search directly to app content (for native apps only, not mobile web). Note: your Google Play store app profile page should be well optimized for this to fully work.
  • Google+ Sign-In Authentication
    Automatically sign in users across devices. Increase your purchase conversion as you allow them to shop from any of their devices. Sternberg urged retailers that “users signed in through Google are more profitable,” but he also mentioned that publisher The Wall Street Journal is using this feature too.
  • Sharing Interactive Posts
    An interactive post is similar to a basic shared G+ post but adds a call-to-action button and supports deep linking which can drive users to your site and/or app.
    Use options like pre-filled text and recipients to generate notifications specific to them which will notify the target user by a shaking of the G+ bell (aka Mr. Jingles) in the upper right corner.
  • Connect G+ Sign-In to Google Wallet
    Increase payment conversion by getting permission to use wallet account inside an app – particularly on Android devices.  See this Fancy case study for details.
  • Grow YouTube Subscribers
    Drive monetization of your video content by allowing sign in to your website with Google, which then automatically subscribes them to your channel. Users may also get your content recommended to them based on their settings.

During this session’s Q&A, someone went back to the original topic of increased search visibility to which Sternberg simply stated that the “easiest way by far is to make sure you have an active G+ page.” He also encouraged small businesses to engage with users via email, thus reiterating the ability to add markup to newsletters which is also possible on smaller email marketing platforms like Mailchimp.

Sternberg also emphasized using schema markup on your brand’s website which should be part of your SEO strategy and ongoing website development plan. Though Sternberg didn’t mention it, I’d like to note that once you’ve added any of these G+ features for your brand, you can measure impact by accessing data from Google+ Platform Insights.

You can follow all the Google talk at #SMWNYC this week using the #smwgoogle hashtag on Twitter. To get notes in real time, check #SMWNYC and #smw14 on Twitter for live tweets. Also be sure to check out the international Social Media Week events happening simultaneously in Bangalore, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Lagos, Milan and Tokyo. Follow me on Twitter @mestrich and read my notes and highlights from day one!