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Monday, 18 July 2011

Google +1: what it is and how it affects giffgaff

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Google +1: what it is and how it affects giffgaff
by amaruv on 18-07-2011 14:23 - last edited on 18-07-2011 14:29

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that the Google +1 button is now on our homepage (bottom left in case you still haven't found it). Some of you will be asking what it is and what it’s for.

Just like a Facebook “like”, it shows you which of your friends has recommended or “given thumbs up” to a page or a brand. One important difference is that +1s affect your Google searches by showing you this information next to your search results, such as which of your contacts has +1’d something. Over time this will improve your search results as the pages that lots of your friends ‘+1’ (by the way, who ever thought you could use ‘plus one’ as a verb?) will carry more weight and will hopefully lead you to better results. Think of it as a recommendation engine with a social touch – it prompts you to check out what your connections have rated as interesting or worth reading. After all, you trust your friends more than you trust computers… right? Ok, maybe not all your friends.

All you need to do is to be logged in to your Google account (e.g. Gmail) – so whenever you +1 a page it links it to your Google Plus profile. If you haven’t yet heard of Google Plus, you definitely will soon; all you need to know for now is that it connects to +1 and involves circles. Also worth pointing out is that the folks over at Google seem to be taking privacy concerns onboard and allow you to specify which ‘circles’ you share stuff with.

What does +1 look like? When you’re logged into Google you will start seeing this kind of search results.

This was a Google search result from typing in “giffgaff” – you can see to the right of each headline there is a +1 button which you can click on. Underneath you can see at a glance which of your Google contacts also likes the page. In this case it shows me that Claire Kav and Hazel K (who incidentally are two other giffstaffers) have also +1’d giffgaff.

How does it affect giffgaff? With more people +1’ing our page, over time it will improve our search rankings – helping more people know about giffgaff, and adding a personal touch to everyone’s search results. You’d be surprised how much weight your stamp of approval carries with the people who know you. After all, your recommendation of giffgaff is worth a lot more to the world than giffgaff’s recommendation of itself. Finally, at the time of writing, there aren’t all that many sites that have added a +1 button to their site (have you seen any other mobile companies doing so?) – By being quick off the mark we’re hoping we can get ahead of the game a little too and give our online presence a good old boost.

This is also a reminder of the value of people 'liking' giffgaff on Facebook and 'following' us on twitter. What people don’t always realise is that, aside from the social signal it sends out to their friends and followers (much like wearing that proverbial badge on your sleeve), it also affects the way people outside your contacts find out about giffgaff. With almost 50,000 combined fans, followers, recommenders (or whatever you want to call them) engaging with giffgaff through social media, we’re sending out a clear message to the online world that we’re truly people powered. It's no coincidence that in March we were named one of the top 5 social media brands in the UK, shoulder to shoulder with (ehm) slightly bigger brands such as Nike, Starbucks and Dell.

As ever, only time will tell how widely Google +1 will be adopted, and what its full impact will be. Whatever happens, I will be interested to see whether it changes the way people find and engage with giffgaff online. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts

More information about it from google

A short video you can watch

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