Google+ may be a relatively new kid on the block given that it was only launched three years ago, but it has rapidly become one of the most important tools for business online. There is the obvious connection with search giant Google themselves but with this comes a wealth of benefits that can add value to your business online. In fact, Google has described it as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, and that it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author”.
For many webmasters and business owners, Google+ still appears to be a none essential tool, waste of time or a mysterious add-on product not required. There are also other businesses particularly in the SME sector that have already invested time in the set up of Facebook and Twitter accounts and question the addition of Google+ to their marketing armoury. But are they right to ignore the social media baby from the world’s number one search engine?
So if you find yourself sitting on the fence with Google+ then here are a few reasons why your company may want to consider taking advantage of what the big G has to offer.
“Engage with your fans followers and customers”
1) It’s much more than a social network
While Google+ is undoubtedly a social network, it is one with a difference. Rather than broadcasting all your content to everyone, you can use features like circles to share with those you believe would be interested in making your information more targeted. You can also connect your individual accounts as an author against your website content which helps to build authority both in Google’s eyes and in that of your circle connection. Your chosen and trusted connections help you and your business to build authority.
2) We are seeing rapid growth
In just a year and a half, Google+ grew hugely, soon establishing itself as the third biggest social network in the world. So, while it’s still growing, it makes sense to make sure you’re part of the evolving experience. There may be fewer users than giants like Facebook, but this also means less competition. The content posted is generally more professional and there is less clutter posted. Google+ was not created to compete against other social networks, its part of a bigger long-term plan evolving our global online communications experience.
3) You can find like-minded customers
You’ll probably find Google+ users are, by being early adopters, innovative and ready to try new experiences and products. That can benefit your business if you’re at the cutting edge of your industry. Connect and share information in a more professional way than over at Facebook and Twitter. There are fewer users and less competition, your message can be more easily heard amongst the usual social media noise.
4) Virtually meet colleagues and contacts
Google+ offers Google hangouts, a free live video conferencing service which can include up to 10 people. The possibilities for small business are endless. You can save money by talking to customers and contacts for free. And you can also take part in hangouts which have been sparked by others, talking to people in your niche who could become mentors, partners or customers.
5) Help improve your website visibility
Google is still the biggest player in the search engine world so it’s important to consider the search integrated tools it provides. Profiles that do well on Google+ tend to get indexed quicker on Google and Google+ business pages can seriously improve local search visibility and ranking in particular for small to mid-size businesses. So the network has both social and SEO benefits. .
6) Positive reviews could influence potential customers
Because Google+ reviews appear in local search results, potential customers could be influenced by them. So by actively encouraging customers to review your services or products on Google+ you could influence others to choose your business. The quality and quantity of the reviews are recognised by Google as one of the most important signals determining local ranking.
7) Help new customers discover you
If you make sure your Google+ business page is connected to your authorised maps listing you can make sure customers find you via Google+, maps or organic search. Using Google My Business adds value across desktop and mobile providing helpful items such as directions, phone number and opening times.
8) Review how your content is being received
Google+ is feature-rich and one of the most useful features is Ripples. There is a graph that shows you at-a-glance how your content is being shared. So, you can immediately see which content has proved popular with your users, and emulate it in the future. You can improve brand exposure look to find where it has been shared.
9) Trust and integration
With a growing number of users, it’s highly likely that your potential customers are already on Google+ and if not they may already be using Google products and future Google+ users. If you’re on there too, they can see you have something in common with them straight away. We all get bored with Twitter spammers and LinkedIn can appear formal for small business owners so maybe Google+ serves a purpose in this unfilled hole. The more products that Google release that can integrate with Google+ the more chance there is that you may increase business connections as users become adopters.
10) You can be part of a helpful community
As well as “hanging out,” you can become part of a huge choice of communities whether you join a community where you might find potential customers or one where there are thought-leaders from your industry or even one on topics you are interested in. By choosing the right communities for you, you could grow your business, just as Google is growing Google+.
I’m a big Google+ fan for a number of reasons, some of those mentioned above. Just like any social network it won’t be for everyone but is it worth missing a potentially great marketing opportunity?