Google Plus TNG – Strategy for the Future – Yifat Cohen

Yifat Cohen Google Plus TNG


The future’s so bright you gotta wear… Glass. Google Glass that is.

Say hi to Yifat Cohen, an internationally renowned keynote speaker and Hangouts-on-Air (HOA) coach. She’s  been featured on prominent sites — like Mashable, Rise to the Top, Entrepreneur on Fire, and Datanation.

She’s excited about the future of Google and after this 30-minute chat, I can see why.

Does Google+ Freak You Out?

There is a terrible misconception that Google+ is just another social space created to compete with other major networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

It is not. Google wants to know who you are.

Google+ was created specifically to serve as a secure environment to facilitate authentic conversations in social circles. It’s purpose, as the spine of all Google products, is to learn who you are and how you interact, so it can then consolidate all your activities to help develop your digital identity.

Google was only one of several companies approached by the US government to create an “Identity Ecosystem” known as NSTIC.

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is a “U.S. government initiative announced in April 2011 to improve the privacy, security and convenience of sensitive online transactions through collaborative efforts with the private sector, advocacy groups, government agencies, and other organizations.”

The intent is to help business owners and consumers have better trust when conducting business — a perfectly legitimate concern … yes?

They do this by collecting data — by profiling us — according to the actions we take online.

In fact, Google+ is the social layer that integrates all Google assets across the web, allowing them to discover the identity of users through their actions.

Does Google want to know too much about you?

It is not unusual to walk a fine line between convenience and privacy. Do you want to apply for that quick-pass that will allow you to walk quickly through airport security, or do you want to withhold personal information and stand in line?

It is the same online: We sacrifice privacy in order to gain the convenience of universal sign-in, for instance. Truth be known, it is all but impossible to “get off the grid” entirely.

Nothing is private.

But think of it this way — what happens to a society when things become more transparent? What if relationships become more real, and it is easier to trust others? When I know exactly who you are … when there are no more lies … you no longer scare me. And instead of being afraid that there is no privacy, we may be going into a better future instead of a scary future.

Google+: Where everybody knows your name

Remember why you opened your business … why you are a baker, not a lawyer. Get back to your first love. Google+ gets you in touch with the people who are going to support you and go to bat for you.

How to do that? Find a conversation and engage. Share tips. Be helpful. When someone is looking for information on something related to your business — instead of finding an ad, the searcher will find a conversation.

When you move beyond being profit-centric to people-centric, you don’t just build sales traffic; you build a loyal audience.

Provide value, to transform followers into evangelists who spread the word for you. Then Google+ extends your reach, visibility and popularity organically.

Negative Reviews: Will they kill your business?

Don’t freak out if someone says something bad about you. That’s life. If you get a bad review, do your best to solve it. But in real life, not everything’s going to be 5-Star reviews. That’s just the way it is, and the way it should be, right?

Be yourself online. Stop striving for perfection. The more personal you are, the more you build real relationships, and the better your business will be.

Don’t be afraid to claim your business listings online, in fact I say, claim them all. Whether you have claimed your listing or not, people can still leave reviews, ratings and comments. The thing is, if you claim your listing, you can then respond to the reviewer and address the situation. It’s called reputation management,and the only way to do this is to be verified as the owner of your listing.

Be Human. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And don’t be afraid to let people know you made them. Own up to them, look for a resolve, and move on.

Don’t worry! Google has your back

Google is testing this concept: You are downtown and hungry. You walk into a kiosk and select the type of food you want. The restaurants bid on your business (AdWords style), and Google dispatches a taxi to come take you to the restaurant (no charge for the ride).

Think of this: Google knows what you want before you even ask for it. They can read your email, check your calendar, pinpoint your location (GPS), and they know your search history.

The former director of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects), now an employee of Google, is even proposing everyone get tattooed with an identity badge that will allow them to access their own phone. 

Sounds like a little too much Big Brother in the mix for you? Look at the widespread acceptance of using a contact lens to monitor diabetes, says Yifat,

Shoppable Hangouts on Air … Coming right up!

Shoppable HOAs are like sales pages with sales videos and links that allow you to sell or promote something right there in the Hangout. It’s a feature that can transform the power of Google Hangouts for the benefit of entrepreneurs.

Shoppable HOAs transform regular Hangouts into a Shopping TV Channel, creating a social shopping experience that allows users to interact with brands in real-time. Businesses can sell products the same way they sell them on e-commerce sites now.

However, instead of a static sales page, live HOAs offer an engaging experience that allows the audience to get closer to their favorite businesses.

You can ask the audience, for instance, to vote on the product they want the price reduced by 20% on … the most demanded item gets the discount.

You can also demonstrate features and benefits of products or service, while adding three clickable images and a direct link to a sales page. Modify offerings on the fly in real time, to make Shoppable HOAs a truly collaborative and customizable experience, or embed the HOA on websites and Event pages, offering discounts and special promotions to the most engaged audience members.

Links included in Shoppable HOA’s links also last long after the show is over, and cost nothing to leave posted. These innovations are the first step towards See-Commerce, enabling brands and customers to connect as a community – face to face and in person. The buyer sees the seller, hears the seller, asks the seller questions, and many buyers can all engage at once in this virtual shopping experience.

Your own sales page … right there in the Hangout … and it’s FREE!

Note: The few brands that have used Shoppable HOAs reported more brand recognition, social buzz and increased website traffic.

You can find Yifat Cohen online. Just look for the “Google+ Go-To Gal.

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Host of "Get on Track, Stay on Track" weekly interview series, helping your small business one expert at a time.And CEO of Wiser Sites, a general contractor and marketing agency - connecting your customers with your products.

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