Google+ has been receiving mixed reviews since it launched less than a year ago. Introduced as a Social Media tool, it felt nothing like one. As the months passed, changes were implemented almost weekly that steered Google+ more towards a familiar social media format, yet the inconsistency “message” of what it was all about kept many users at bay. Circles and the +1 confused more than a few and businesses were unsure about how to use brand pages as an effective tool to promote their product/service. So the question is – should your business be active on Google+?
Yes. Starting right now.
On May 31, Google Places was removed and replaced with Google+ Local Pages – a major leap for Google+ serving as another indicator that Google is making moves to further solidify its position as not only the dominant search engine, but as a priority for a business’ online social presence.
Below, I’ve created a 10 item list to explain why your business should place Google+ at the head of its social media marketing mix:
1. It’s Bigger than You Think
Sure Facebook has 900+ million users, but after only about 12 months Google+ has over 400 million worldwide. Google+ Brand Pages are growing at a faster rate than on Twitter. Do the math on both and the implications for the future are clear.
2. Easy Set Up
Compared to Facebook, Google+ set up for personal and brand pages are now much easier, as are those pesky Privacy settings.
3. Integration of Platforms
The genius behind Google+ is its complete integration with the other Google platforms that your business probably uses. Gmail, Google Docs, Picasa and Chrome (as your browser) may already be in your daily rotation and thus adding Google+ as your lead social media tool will streamline your daily efforts. If you are using none of the above, then you should – your competitors are.
4. The Search Implications of Circles
Google+ Circles are far more than just a fun way to group your interests, friendships, and associations. When your Circles are properly created and you are engaging potential customers within your Circles, their future Google searches are then influenced by their association with you as a business. If they are logged into their Google account, they have a better chance of finding your business in a search query for your category – if you have one another in the same Google+ Circle.
5. The Search Implications of +1
+1 is NOT like a Facebook “like.” If someone clicks the +1 icon either from your home page or, when the icon is displayed next to your Google search result listing, it will then impact their searches for categories relevant to your business in the future. Engaging users on Google+ then increases the chance that your business will receive the +1, thus increasing the chance that you will be found on searches performed by those users in the future, even if they “forgot” about you. You may have been on Google Page 5 on general search, but now, if a user has +1?d you in the past, your position may jump to Page One for them and even for those in THEIR Circles.
6. Superior Mobile App
Both in design and usability, the Google+ iPhone and Android App is far superior to that of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the rest.
7. Automatic Photo Upload to the Cloud
Photos uploaded to Google+ go directly to the cloud for safe keeping. Better yet, if you use an Android, you can activate a setting to automatically upload any photos taken from your mobile directly to the cloud (under a private account).
Google+ Hangouts are ultimate chatrooms and make for great business conferencing tools – even as a way to engage customers from a Circle in a face to face Q & A or webinar.
9. Ease of Targeted Posts
When creating a post for your personal account or brand page, Google+ automatically provides you with highly visible, easy to use, options for you to target specific users. Tailor messages for a specific audience with ease.
As stated at the beginning of this article, Google Places has been replaced by Google+ Local Pages. If you own a physical business whose success depends upon customers searching for and finding your location in a city, then you NEED to set up your Google+ page.
Brilliant features aside, one glaring piece of evidence that Google+ should take precedence in your business’ Social Media campaign is this – it’s Google. Google isn’t going anywhere and every move they have made over the last few months indicates that they are slowly but surely rolling out the one social network that is here to stay. The search result implications alone demand that your business starts developing a strong Google+ presence, yesterday.
About the author: Contact me at Marcus@StandardMarketing.ca to build your brand’s Social Media campaign. StandardMarketing.ca