Brand Journal #4: Social Media, The Google Way

This post is part of an assignment for my Global Branding course at WU.

What started simply as an online search engine, evolved and expanded into an innovative technology company with a diverse portfolio of products that span a variety of markets. Google targets everyone with its plethora of consumer and business products and services, even those lacking Internet connectivity with philanthropic endeavors like Project Loon. “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” and one of its values is “You can be serious without a suit.”

Both statements are evident in Google’s social media presence from the variety of Google Doodles, quick videos, candid photos, graphics, animations, and captions that scream playfulness. Instagram and Twitter are the best indications of this branding, where Google has 2.7 million and 16.2 million followers respectively.

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Google Instagram feed

The Instagram feed is bursting with colors, different subject matters, and fun by hosting a mix of Google Doodles or #MySuperG designs, candid snapshots from Google’s offices, promotional photos for its products and events, and celebratory posts for holidays from around the world. Product photos, Google Doodles, and G designs get the most engagement at about 50,000 likes per post with average being 30,000 likes per photo and 100,000 views per video. Most comments are spam coming from accounts wanting more followers or complaints about Google’s products. Google’s newest addition, Pixel, is receiving a few claims of iPhone copying among the hundreds of excited and supportive feedbacks. Google posts about once every other day.

Twitter is much more active and connected, at least from Google’s end. They tweet sometimes five or six times in one day, including retweets, or sometimes not at all, but each post pertains to almost completely different things that all fall under the Google brand image. Promotional photos, graphics, or videos for Google products highlight the benefits of its offerings either overtly with staged product photography and corresponding copy or through socially conscious projects like #MadeWithCode and media collaborations like its partnerships with Warner Bros. for a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them VR experience and Netflix for Stranger Things stickers for Google Allo, its new messaging app. The tone and aesthetic are fun, bubbly, bright, and exciting. Numerous hashtags like #madebygoogle and #knownearby and retweeting of its partner channels like Google Chrome and YouTube keeps followers aware of all the products and services Google provides. Engagement varies from 150 to 1,000 likes per tweet with Pixel posts getting the most feedback.

Google has 20.9 million likes on Facebook, posts about every other day on the platform, and receives about 300 to 1,000 likes and 100 shares per post. Much of the content is similar or identical to Twitter but the tone is more straightforward, less playful. Follower feedback is usually highest for posts about new products or ones with emotional and ethical appeals. However, many top comments are complaints about Google’s customer service and functionality of its products, which is common for technology brands.

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Due to its presence in numerous consumer and business markets, Google has a wide range of competitors, two of them being Apple and Bing. Apple competes in the mobile phone, laptop, and music streaming industries to name a few and takes a bold approach to social media. Nothing is posted at all. They have Facebook and Twitter accounts with updated cover photos and an active Instagram profile for Apple Music but no content for its official accounts. Nevertheless, the Facebook page has 4 million likes and Twitter has 656,000 followers.

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Bing competes in the search engine industry and consistently posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter about the functionality, features, and benefits of its product. All three feature beautiful landscape photography overlaid with the Bing logo and random information a user could search. Each account has 3.8 million likes, 96,000 followers, and 697,000 followers respectively.

Since its competitors are so diverse and have vastly different social media strategies, it is difficult to compare the effectiveness of Google’s approach. However, compared to Apple and Bing, Google needs to be more engaged and communicative with its consumers through online platforms because its product range is so wide and constantly evolving. The fun and creativity of Google’s culture translates well to its social media presence and the few improvements it could make are to keep consistent tone in its copy across all platforms, increase activity on its own platform Google+ and Snapchat, and respond to more comments on Facebook. Though the company has social media profiles for most of its core products like Maps, Chrome, and YouTube and its projects like Made With Code, none are as popular or engaged as Google itself. More resources should be dedicated to growing these other profiles to educate consumers on the variety of products Google offers.

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