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Google Buzz

A social integration and messaging tool by Google designed to integrate into Gmail.

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How Google Buzz could sting your PR program

  • Feb 15, 2010
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Impact of Google Buzz on PR and Marketing

Google launched a new social network last week named Buzz that is certain to impact your marketing and public relations programs. At a minimum, the new Google effort adds one more social channel for you to monitor. At the worst, the social network could dramatically impact search engine results for your brand. Before you get stung by Buzz, invest a little time keeping the swarming new community.

Buzz is a mix of Twitter and Facebook. The service accepts updates like Twitter and ties you with all of your friends like Facebook. Most new social networks aren't important when they launch because no one is using them. Google is different because it has a built-in audience of over 100 million accounts and it is clear that much of the technology cool kids raced out to Buzz within hours of its launch. The strong media coverage and Google's brand has it off to a strong start. I saw nearly all of the influencers that I follow on the service in the first two days. To help orient you, Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter Group put together a good chart that simplifies the differences between Buzz, Twitter, Facebook and Myspace. Also, Ben Parr at Mashable penned a great story that outlines why Buzz is growing quickly.

Because much of the world gets their search results from Google, I pay attention when they add services with the potential to impact search results for brands. Google has been steadily incorporating social updates into their search results. This means that you can pay search engine optimization folks lots of money to drive your brand to the top of a search, but then find that a rash of brand-bashing Tweets pop up in the top of your search results. For example, I searched for Southwest Airlines this evening and was surprised to see the face of Kevin Smith, the director, in the first few results. It appears that he had an incident with the airlines and Tweeted about it. I'm sure that hundreds of hours of SEO work done by the Southwest marketing team were wiped away in seconds by that situation. The public battle between the celebrity and the airline is also occurring on Buzz so it is critical that PR departments actively monitor this new channel for conversations about their brands.

Additionally, Google is certain to start offering paid search results around Buzz content like they do for regular search. This means that your competitors can quickly exploit your public mistakes and buy key words around the conversation about your brand. I haven't seen ads in Buzz yet, but ads are nearly always at the heart of the Google business strategy.

So what can you do about it? I put together some actions that PR and marketing departments can take immediately to help them monitor and engage with the community on Buzz.

How to keep Buzz from stinging your PR program:

Get on Buzz and monitor your brands - Go to Buzz and put together a profile. Then connect all of your social networks so your communication in other places automatically flows in to Buzz. Google allows you to verify your account for free so people know that the name in Buzz is really you. It will help you protect your personal brand and helps Google include your posts in their search results.

2. Find and follow your influencers - Just like on Twitter, there are people who are influencing the conversation more than others. Put together your list of traditional and social media influencers and then look for them on Buzz. If you have already followed them on Twitter, you can import them if they are using Buzz with this tool from Tw2buzz. Re-run Tw2buzz every couple of days so you can catch the new influencers that create Buzz accounts.

3. Engage by posting meaningful content on Buzz -
Produce meaningful content and then post it to Buzz just like you do on Twitter and Facebook. You'll quickly get feedback and learn how to fit this new channel into your customer engagement program.

4. Make your Web site, videos, photos and content shareable to Buzz - Social networks thrive on people sharing stuff with their friends. Studies show that people are more than three times more likely to share with their friends if you have easy-to-use sharing tools that push that content right into their social network of choice. Social sharing should be the heart of your search engine visibility program because it provides search engines with fresh and popular content when people are searching for your brand.

Right now Buzz seems to be filled with the technology crowd that were enthusiastic contributors on Friendfeed, but the large Google customer base is propelling the just-home-from-the-hospital social network into kindergarten. PR and marketing teams that invest now in the newborn can keep themselves from getting stung by the swarming Buzz community.

This review is also published on the Web at

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February 16, 2010
Incredibly helpful review, Travis. Great take on Buzz and really helpful guide on how to integrate it into your social communications strategy. Way to go!
February 16, 2010
great write up Travis. this will be really valuable for anyone in PR or anyone who wants to get up to speed on Buzz. thanks for sharing it!
February 15, 2010
Wow, Travis, great review!  I haven't even quite wrapped my head around Buzz yet, and here you are, already tying it into PR and marketing!  I've only taken Buzz for a short test drive, and so far, it looks like Google smushed Wave into Gmail, which I didn't really think would make that big of an impact.  You do bring up some good and interesting use cases though, so hmmmm, maybe Google is onto something...  Thanks for sharing, Travis!
February 15, 2010
Cool! Thanks for a very informative review!
More Google Buzz reviews
Quick Tip by . March 12, 2010
Quick Tip by . March 04, 2010
tons of potential, but execution still has a lot to shake out
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2010
I don't get the point of Google Buzz, it's too similar to Twitter but nobody uses it. I disabled it already, goodbye and good riddance!
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2010
Not gonna lie, but Buzz is kinda freaking me out. I would've liked full disclosure about it before testing it out.
Quick Tip by . February 10, 2010
Still test driving. Will have to get more followers to truly enjoy it!
Quick Tip by . February 10, 2010
So far I'm really digging it. Can be a big competition for FB and Twitter. Can be useful if used the right way! Great for the Droid!
Quick Tip by . February 10, 2010
Could be game changing threat to 4Square & an alt to Twitter. Can't wait to play more. Now, Can only use it w/ Google Maps 4 Mobile on WinMo
About the reviewer
Travis Murdock ()
I love to review favorite restaurants and movies. I'm also a gadget geek and enjoy learning about new music. I work for the public relations firm Edelman.
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About this topic


Google Buzz is a social integration and messaging tool by Google, designed to integrate into the company's web-based email program, Gmail.  Shared links and messages show up in the user's inbox.  Buzz focuses on integrating photos, videos, and links as part of the "conversations" aspects of Gmail like conversation threading.

Buzz allows users to choose to share publicly with the world or privately to a small group of friends each time they post. Picasa, Flickr, Google Reader, YouTube, Blogger, and Twitter are currently integrated. The creation of Buzz was seen by industry analysts as an attempt by Google to compete with social networking websites like Facebook. Buzz also copied several interface and interaction elements from websites like FriendFeed, such as the ability to Like someone's message.

Sergey Brin of Google said that by offering social communications, Buzz would help bridge the gap between work and leisure.
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