Does the world really need yet another social media platform to eat up more hours of the day? The answer to that question is an easy NO. But the kicker to Google+ is that it isn’t JUST another social media platform.
It will also present an interesting comparison of Facebook and Google+ (infographic)
Here are the Top 5 reasons why business owners of all strips – online and off – need to give Google+ some serious attention.
1. Because Google Making It Hard To Avoid
What used to be considered a wasteland occupied with strange geeky men, Google+ has and is being transformed slowly to meet a grand Google vision.
To get a handle on how big the Google vision is, try to imagine all of the millions and millions of YouTube users.
Then add all of the people using Android.
Okay, now add everyone with a Gmail account. You have a lot of people, don’t you?
Now, add these folks to all of the business owners who have a Google Places, Local+ listing or a G+ business page.
Are you getting the picture?
One begins to get a glimmer of how Google big sees the future when they read this quote from a top Google+ executive.
“Google+ is like a ‘social spine’ or ‘identity spine’ across Google,” says Marvin Chow, Google+ global marketing director. “Having a Google+ page will be the foundation of a lot of things on Google. It’s a safe bet to say, ‘Invest now and it will pay off later.’”
And he is right. Using Google+ as the social glue of online networking and communications features and linking all of that into Google’s search algorithm and results is very smart.
Which is why if one wants to appear in a prime position in the local search, one needs a Google+ account.
If one wants to write a review of a local area business, get G+.
If you want to leave a comment on a YouTube, you need a Google+ account.
Maybe you want to use the popular and free Hangout feature of Google. You’ll need a G+ account.
All of Google’s seemingly standalone products are being leveraged and incorporated into one giant platform. As it continues this process Google is also sucking in formerly unrelated audiences into Google+, making G+ hopefully a more dynamic place to be.
2. Google+ is growing – fast
As late as May of 2013, eMarketer reported that 26 percent of Internet users worldwide used Google+ in the past month trailing Facebook at 51 percent. GlobalWebIndex also shows Google in a strong #2 position in account ownership.
Impressively Google was able to do this in less than two years versus the 9 years it too Facebook to reach its 1.11 billion users. In all fairness, Facebook was carving new territory while Google was riding on Facebook’s popularity. Nonetheless, Google seems to be effectively carving out its own unique share of the market among those 35+ in age as seen in the GlobalWebIndex chart below.
3. Social is driving Search
Search is the number one way people find your business online. Google has always been the big gorilla in this arena with over two-thirds of the search engine traffic.
To capture more than your fair share of search traffic, you need to be warm and cozy with Google+. Why?
The recent changes in Google search algorithms have left many guessing what the big guy is up to, but one thing seems certain. Google is re-aligning the historical emphasis on keywords and giving some added juicy to social interactions such as 1+, shares, online reviews, or what is commonly referred to as “earned media” of “social capital”.
This move means Google can rely less of automated web crawlers and rely more on what actual humans found to be informative, educational or entertaining. This is one of the reasons Google focuses on the +1 button and it seems to be working.
Here is just one example of the value of 1+ from Hubspot’s analysis of over 5,000 websites. Those using Google’s +1 button get 3.5x the Google+ visits.
Another example of how social interaction is being incorporated into search is the recent carousel format appearing in selected industries.
If you’re in travel, hospitality, and restaurant, sports, entertainment, and education related industries, you may have seen Google’s carousel presentation pushing the traditional 6, 7 or 10 pack search results to the bottom. It is rumored the carousel format will be rolled out to more industries soon.
This information is being pulled from Google Places and/or Google+ Local. One could see reviews on other sites (e.g. Urbanspoon, citysearch, etc.), but they didn’t receive the premier placement of reviews placed on the restaurant’s Google pages.
In fact, the number of Google+ reviews is thought to drive which companies appear in the carousel presentation. But it may be too early to confirm this.
4. New Promotional real estate in search results
The introduction of the carousel, created some prime promotional real estate that appears in a right-hand side bar in Google searches and immediately below the Google map. Here’s an example of what appears when seeking a Ford Dealership along with a map of all of the Ford Dealerships in the area. Notice the “Recent Posts” pulled directly from Google+ Business Page.
Google+ is the direct source for this information. Just as with Facebook, the more frequently updated your G+ content, the higher your chances of appearing in this right-hand side bar with the information you want your potential customers to see.
5. Google Authorship
Those working to get your business or your personal name recognized as a relevant source, namely bloggers, Google authorship is just what you’re looking for. It isn’t much, but a profile icon adds a degree of credibility not found in the other faceless search listings. This may be all it takes to attract the attention of a potential prospect.
You see Google Authorship at work when those photos show up to the left of a search result. It also requires a G+ account and a link to your website. The result is that the search listing then includes Google+ information as an indication of how connected (aka credible) you really are.
There are other reasons why you may want to join Google+ (e.g. the popular Hangout feature, Ripples, etc.), but these are my Top 5.
Have I convinced you?
Are you beginning to understand that Google is not just another pretty social media platform…but it is growing into a very powerful platform that has linkages and search clout across the web?
Bottom Line for business owners
Google+ is here to stay and it is EVERYWHERE, absolutely EVERYWHERE you want to be.
If part of your marketing strategy is to capture search engine traffic – local or global – then you need to take G+ seriously.
If you already have a G+ profile or Places / Local page, visit it and make certain it is up to snuff. Same goes if you already have a Google+ Business Page
Double check your website and make certain you have the valuable +1 button where folks can easily see it.
Consider sending an email to your subscribers and asking them if they would give you a +1 and/or a review.
Start using Google+.
If you don’t have a Places or G+ Local page, review this post from the introduction of Google Places. I think you’ll see how G+ can help you if you’re a local area business and you want to:
- Show up on Google search, Maps, Google+ and mobile
- Control your business information (e.g. hours of service, product offerings, etc.)
- Connect with customers and manage their feedback and reviews
Then you’ll want to open up a Google for Places for Business.
My next post will cover the ins and outs of the various Google+ products for business owners. They are:
- Google Places & Google+ Local
- Google+ profile (Think Facebook personal profile)
- Google+ Page (Think Facebook Page)
- Google+ Communities (Think LinkedIn Groups)
I’ll follow that up with specific marketing ideas and techniques to optimize your Google+ accounts and how to get more precious customer reviews.
What are your thoughts about G+?
What do you think about Google driving everything to G+? Good, bad, indifferent?
Share your thoughts below and let me know if you found this article helpful.