There’s been a lot of articles lately calling Google+ a bust since it failed to overtake Facebook. Facebook has approximately 700 million active users worldwide while Google+ has approximately half that at around 350 million active users. Based on that comparison, Google obviously has a ways to go.
But is that a fair measurement? Twitter has approximately 290 million users, but no one considers that platform a bust. Sure, you can say that Twitter has a different format, demographic, and purpose than Facebook and that’s exactly my point with Google+.
Google+ doesn’t necessarily seek to overcome Facebook and dominate social media.
Google+ seeks to establish a strong social media platform that it can integrate into a holistic user experience on the Internet.
Please bear with this example, but think of your smartphone. On mine I can check my email, surf the internet, view my calendar, get directions, send an instant message, take a picture, and oh yeah – make a phone call.
I also run apps to keep up with all of social media pages as well. I don’t consider my smartphone an exclusive social media reader – it just plays a part of the overall experience.
Google seeks the same objective but for your online experience.
They desire to be the one-stop hub where you can:
- * Check your email (Gmail),
- * Surf the internet (Google Search),
- * Mark dates on a calendar (Google Events),
- * Get directions (Google Maps),
- * Share files (Google Docs),
- * Watch videos (YouTube),
- * Engage in an online video chat (Hangouts).
Yes, Google+ allows you to connect socially via Groups and Circles, but again, that’s part of the overall experience, not the single objective.
That’s where I think people miss the point. A lot of businesses and entrepreneurs miss out on a lot of the great advantages this platform has to offer due to a simple misconception. They don’t see the value in joining yet another social media platform when they already maintain a strong profile on the much popular Facebook. However, by creating a business page on Google+ you can benefit from some great tools to help build and grow. Here are a just a few:
Google+ not only provides a platform to engage with your target audience online, its search algorithm includes results pulled from Google+ activity. That way, when your ideal clients research content relevant to them, your posts will have a much greater likelihood of appearing in their search results.
Any time a Google+ user performs a search on Google, personalized results from their “Circles” will appear in their results. So when a user searches your business, reviews from people in their network will float to the top. This only stresses the importance of joining Circles and adding other users to your own – so when they search for information relevant to their business, your content will show up.
As a virtual company you may have clients around the world. Sometimes email just doesn’t cut it. You need to speak face-to-face. Hangouts provide an easy way for you to do just that via video conferencing.
You can also use Hangouts to host virtual networking events, to demonstrate a project, share your desktop, and a lot more without ever having to leave your home office.
Once you set up a Hangout, you will want to invite people to attend. Do so with Events.
Events allows Google+ users to send out customized invitations to their fan bases. Use Events to send out invites to Hangouts, webinars, networking events, industry functions, social gatherings, etc. This application will sync with Google Calendar and will automatically update user confirmations.
Take advantage of the SEO benefits of Google+ with Google Authorship. Utilizing this tool allows your picture to show up next to any blog posts or other published online articles in Google search results. Studies show that by doing so, your click-through rates will increase, and so will your fan base. It also helps deter plagiarism and content theft, which occurs far to often on the Internet.
For businesses with a physical location, creating a Google Plus account helps users in your area find you. When people search their area for the products and services you offer reviews and recommendations from people in their network will appear in the results. By having a company page listed on Google Local, you increase the chances of fans giving you a “+1,” growing your exposure and raising your profile in the overall search rankings.
Give your presence on social media purpose. Don’t just post promotional status updates. Take time to join groups where your target market or industry peers reside. Network with these groups and make connections. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by asking and answering inquiries from your fellow group members. The more you associate your brand with your expertise and establish these personal connections, the more likely these group members will come to you as a person they trust when they need the goods or services you offer.