The growth of Google Plus social users has been slow and this is disappointing because the importance of Google Plus for business is going to be huge over the long term when it comes to being found online. A lot of businesses don’t realise the impact of ignoring this sleeping giant, thinking it is a ‘social alternative’ to Facebook or LinkedIn. Given it has been created by the most used search engine browser in the world it is no surprise Google+ holds a hidden agenda early adopters will benefit from. So here are 2 very core cost effective benefits in using Google Plus for business right now.
1. Increasing your business presence in Google Search with two Google+ tools:
Google’s search algorithm uses people’s interaction with the articles or other website content that is shared in social sites as a method to decide what is relevant to people’s keyword searches – the term given to these results is ‘social signals’. We all realise how good social sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter is to get traffic back to our websites but did it occur to you Google is also tracking how relevant you are based on how many +1′s, shares and comments your website content is getting? Are you taking advantage of that by creating a Google+ Profile and Page in order to find relevant people in your niche to network with?
The other tool is Google+ Pages for your business. At first these were just like having a profile but later on Pages replaced what used to be called Google Places and termed ‘Google Local’. When you search for a business in Google Maps you are given a number of ‘pins’ relevant to your location search. If you hover over any of these pins basic information about the business appears. Click on it for more and you are taken to their Google+ Page. Previously, Google Places was a great way to get your business on the first page of Google by providing Google information about your business and encouraging customers to leave reviews on directory sites that Google would then pull in and display if anyone clicked on your ‘pin’ in the map.
Now Google Maps is an entire search tool of it’s own and what determines the top 10 pins on display in the map is based around the content and activity in your Google+ Page. So, it is not only important to have a Google+ Page for your business, but vital that you keep continually adding fresh content that will encourage people to interact with it. Three simple suggestions in order to achieve this are:
- fill out as much information about your business as you can and keep it updated
- share regular information on the social platform to keep your page active
- build a network with other local businesses around you in Google+ so your information is spread.
- add the link to all your marketing material so you capture reviews, testimonials and any tagging from customers.
Of course there is a lot of businesses groaning right now thinking Facebook and LinkedIn were going to be enough, but let me remind you which search engine is still the biggest that people use when searching – yeah Google, and it is not likely to change anytime soon. There are also ways to make good use of your time effectively and optimise your presence beyond just adding content to stand out and ensure your found in social networks. In order to learn more on that I encourage you to contact me to have a discussion in regards to what strategy would work best for your business’ needs.
If you’re still not convinced you don’t need Google+ for SEO and credibility branding then keep reading. I want to now remind of when Google collated all their services policies into one? There was a REALLY BIG reason for that.
2. Integrating with business for ease of Communicating
The reason for simplifying the policies was so Google+ could integrate with ALL the other Google Products, such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs (now called Google Drive – something else that has improved the pace of sharing information). Building and having access to your list of Google+ network across all your communication areas of business is an extremely powerful time saving and management strategy to use. Unlike many virtual management systems you have to import your address list, keep it up to date AND pay a monthly service to use it. Not with Google.
I can’t finish either until I touch on another quiet but powerful tool being under-utilised in Google+… Hangouts. Many businesses understand the power of webinars or online meetings and use services as simple as Skype for conference calls perhaps. But many are paying for online meeting software systems to run and record live conversations, educational group seminars or meetings when they could be using Hangouts – for FREE! This would not only save them money, but save time on the process and take advantage of video marketing from the recordings as well because of it’s integration with YouTube and it’s editing capabilities.
How much easier is it to spread the word about an up and coming online event than through an established network like Google+, and send notifications via the contacts integrated with Gmail? You could even record your own weekly education program through Hangouts On Air at a regular time slot and then not only share it on YouTube – but Facebook, LinkedIn and yes even Pinterest if you wanted to… Or use Hangouts and keep it private to a certain ‘circle’ of business colleagues.
So if you are still not convinced it’s worth even spending a little time investigating the search ranking and communication opportunities Google+ can provide, then I’m afraid for your business in years to come. Google is always going to be investing in ways to stay on top and competitive as an online tool for businesses – it has never been interested in being the ‘trendy social world’ – it’s leaving that up to Facebook who is under scrutiny to keep a balance between users who are there for social purposes while still providing a promotional service for businesses.
Google+ users (and LinkedIn for that matter) are a different breed of users – predominantly business people, decision makers and more open to understanding how important it is to blend their social profile and activities in order to increase their business relationships and therefore exposure of their business’ brand and credibility.
These type of businesses also understand seeking time effective resources to integrate within their current process of business that makes it easy to run any part of their business from anywhere. So if your business had an opportunity to merge both time leveraging & marketing together wouldn’t it be in your best interests to understand it further?
Don’t forget this is FREE to investigate and trial, so paying for a little consulting on how to best use it if you’re a little bamboozled as to where to start is a no brainer.
Just don’t underestimate what Google+ is and what it’s intention is anymore. Being social is only a small part of it and should be seen as purposeful to a business’ database. AND I am sure there is more to be seen yet!