November 14, 2012
/ by ckettmann
In September, Google announced that its social network, Google+, reached more than 400 million members. The platform reached its impressive growth within 12 months, with more than 25 million users joining in the first month it was opened.
Some say that Google+ is a passing fad, a new trend that was quickly abandoned. Many complained of “Circle fatigue,” overwhelmed by organizing their contacts into groups to share. Others point to the low percentage of users on the platform. However, Google+ has more than 100 million active users, with each active user averaging 12 minutes per day on the platform. Considering that active Facebook users (excluding mobile) spend an average of 12.6 minutes on Facebook daily, Google+ is not to be taken lightly.
Google+ isn’t just for individual users, either. Panorama said more than one billion people use Google’s search engine every single month, and more than 70% of people start business searches on Google.
If you’re still on the fence about using Google+ for your business, check out these five reasons why you shouldn’t ignore it any longer:
1. Google+ pages give greater traction and SEO opportunities.
Google+ was built not only to be integrated with the full range of Google products, but also to impact search results. A company’s Google+ page offers rich keyword placement and will show up as a valid entry when that company is searched.
The number of +1’s a comment, link, or page gets will indirectly increase its SEO potential as well as its click-through rate. Mashable explained how the +1 button affects search results and encouraged businesses to add the Google+ button to their websites.
Also, if your business has a physical location, the information on Google+ will enhance your company’s profile on Google Places.
2. Google+ allows improved impact and engagement with audiences.
Google+ allows businesses to engage with targeted groups of people through Google+ Circles. Each Circle that is created by a profile or page can contain any number of Google+ profiles. Many businesses will find it helpful to search for and create circles of targeted consumers, such “bacon lovers” or those in a certain demographic.
Google+ Hangouts also offers a great way to engage with your audience by allowing up to 10 people to video chat in one session. The Green Bay Packers have used this tool effectively by offering fans a chance to be a part of Hangout sessions with Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers, and Clay Matthews. Not only does this offer an incentive to fans, but videos and posts of each Hangout were shared by many on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
3. Google+ offers unique ways to establish expertise.
As with any social media platform, the more you put in, the more you get out of it. Companies can establish themselves as experts in their fields by posting relevant content on a regular basis. Google+ allows users to send post to specific users or Circles as well, meaning that your content can be shared with those who will value it most. And like Twitter, you can search Google+ for keywords to find people and posts.
Another way to establish yourself is to create Circles of strong influencers and share it with others. Shared Circles not only expands the reach of those you enjoy connecting with, but also shows your network.
4. Google+ gives businesses strong branding opportunities.
Not only will sharing content and engaging with people increase your brand reputation, but creating a Google+ page offers yet another place for you to brand your products, services, and company.
InspirationFeed collected some of the best branding examples from Google+ pages earlier this year, including a montage of David Beckham modeling bodywear for H&M. Other pages include the Muppets, Virgin, BMW, Pepsi, Angry Birds, Time, and NASA. Businesses can showcase their brand with their profile picture and banner, as well as through the various pictures, links, and videos that can post directly to their feeds. Each company’s page has the number of +1’s it has received under its picture.
Google+ also announced in August that it will be rolling out vanity URLs to business pages as well, making it easier for audiences to find them.
5. Google+ is a powerful internal collaboration tool.
Jason Smith, digital marketing specialist for Zumba, told Mashable he and his co-workers use the entire Google suite internally. They work on projects through Google Drive, send emails and attachments with Gmail, and communicate in real-time through Google+.
Not only does using Google+ cut down on platform hopping, especially if you’re already using Google products, but employees can create individual posts that are shared only with their co-workers. Each post allows you to share with any individual, Circle, or the public, making it simple to keep conversations between employees. Many small companies also use Hangouts as a way to collaborate and share presentations with each other.
Getting started with a Google+ business page is pretty straightforward, and the benefits can start adding up immediately. What other benefits have you noticed?
Beki Winchel is a social media PR consultant, freelance writer, and a communications/business student at BYU. She loves technology, social media, dogs, and the Green Bay Packers. You can learn more about her — and check out her Pinterest page — at http://about.me/bekiwinchel.
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