Social networks can cop their fair share of criticism. Some call them time wasters, others complain about design or functionality. Often they are just seen as another form of amusement in our busy lives.
But social networks can be a very lucrative commodity for business owners since they can connect real customers with brands and influence purchase decisions.
Google+ is a bit different than Facebook and Twitter, in Google treats it almost like a “social layer” to the world’s dominant search engine. Google users who are logged in will see their connections’ posts on the 1st page of the search results for queries. Content that is tied to an author is likely to be favoured over anonymous content.
Companies and brands now have an incredible opportunity to rank higher in Google’s search results by simply building their authority and tying their content to their Google+ profiles.
Google+ From a Business Perspective
Many features within the Google+ platform were undoubtedly built to help your business gain
visibility and relevance in your target market. Here are a few:
Profile: Establish your presence and share information about your business – contact
information, introduction to your company, links, large high quality photos and videos.
Circles: Google+ allows you to group people into circles, an effective way to segment
your audience. Circles are private, and no one will see the name of the circle or who
else is in it. Your Google+ connections can each be part of multiple circles you create.
For example, you may want to have your industry peers in one circle, your customers
in another circle, and your employees in a third circle. You may also want to create
additional circles based on their interests. You can pick and choose which content
you would like to share with different circles, making it easy for you to send targeted
+1’s: One of the most important aspects of Google+ is the ability for users to “+1”
your content (similar to a Facebook “like”) anywhere on the web. The more +1’s your
content gathers, the more popular and relevant it is perceived to be by Google, and
the higher it will rank in search results.
Hangouts: You may also host Google+ Hangouts. Because this video conferencing
allows unlimited “watch-and-listen” guests, many businesses use Hangouts for live
product demonstrations, professional workshops, video blogs, customer/employee
Q&A sessions and new product and service announcements. Hangouts are free and
easy to use.
Communities: You can take advantage of Google+ communities by posting relevant,
interesting content on community pages from your company’s Google+ account. This
will allow users already interested in your industry to discover and engage with your
business. Find communities that are related to your industry and either post directly in
them, or “+1” meaningful, helpful content you come across on the Internet (simply “+1”
the content, then select the community you’d like it to show up in).
Events: Create business events easily on Google+. Your invitations will automatically
integrate with users’ Google Calendar where they can respond directly from their email
inbox. Attendees can post real-time event photos to the same album on your event
page via computer, tablet or smartphone. Google+ also provides easy integration
with Hangouts and event analytics to give you insight on your event.
Local: A Google+ page for your business will make your company information eligible
for display on the top right corner of the Google search results page for people who
are searching locally for products and services you offer. Users can easily find your
location and directions to your business, reviews from their friends on Google+
Pages: For lack of a better term, this is the Google+ version of a facebook page, but housed within the unique world of Google+ where people networking via all the other methods above can direct each other and follow, +1 and otherwise interact with you. By far one of the most valuable resources on Google+.
So there you have it! Google+ is becoming more and more important with time so best to go an familiarise yourself with as much of this as possible!