3 Ways Google Buzz Could Affect Your Brand

Google recently announced the launch of Google Buzz, a service that allows users to post status updates, photos, videos and other content in the hopes of creating a hub of digital conversation.

Sound familiar?

Google Buzz is direct competition to social networks and microblogs such as Facebook and Twitter. Why is this? At launch, Google Buzz had 150 million users in its network, stemming from the fact that Google Buzz is built directly into Gmail.

For those of you not yet familiar with Google Buzz, here’s a demo video:

Here are three potential implications of Google Buzz for brands and marketers:

  • Google Buzz discussions will appear in Google Search results. Just as the search giant started to display real-time search results on its pages, Google will find a way to promote Buzz conversations, links and other content on its pages. Whether this content is displayed on the front page of its search results, or if it’ll be promoted on one of its less-trafficked search portals, remains to be seen. (Of course, Google Buzz has privacy settings that allow users to limit who sees their posts.)

    Look for more and more dynamic, real-time brand conversations to appear in your Google Search results, and not just the forums and occasional tweets you may be used to seeing now. Right now, brand conversations have the potential to be found through social media monitoring tools and the occasional search result. Since Google Buzz is built directly into Gmail, look for these conversations — both negative and positive — to be much easier to find.

  • Brands may have better access to consumer e-mail boxes, and vice versa. Facebook fan page? Check. Twitter account? Check.

    Google account? Not yet.

    If Google Buzz catches on, there may be a trend towards even more consumers linking up their social media profiles to their Google accounts. (Lifestreaming is a hot social media concept these days). Once this happens, the more their actual e-mail accounts — as opposed to a Facebook inbox or Twitter DMs — will be an integral part of their social media presence.

    No longer will customers only have access to people’s Facebook and Twitter profiles; the more consumers use Google Buzz, the more access to e-mail addresses companies will have. If a consumer expresses a product complaint through Google Buzz, their e-mail address should be easier to find.

    There’s one side effect to this: You may have a well-established Facebook page and Twitter presence, but there’s a chance brands will start building out strong Google Buzz profiles as well.

  • SEO will continue to flood real-time conversations. While the benefits of promoting content — in the hopes of driving traffic and searchability — on Google Wave was unclear, many brands continue looking for additional ways to crack real-time conversations in a way to boost their search engine rankings.

    Many of the tried-and-true methods of linkbaiting and promoting brand content on social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Reddit, Mixx and StumbleUpon [client] will continue to drive SEO, but as Google Buzz matures, look for SEOers to start funneling this content through real-time conversations there.

Daniel B. Honigman
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NOTE: This post was originally published on the Weber Shandwick Social Studies Blog.

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