Internet Marketing and Google Plus
Facebook is king, right? If you’re anything like me, Facebook is your go-to for social networking. No character limits (thanks a lot, Twitter). No need to be serious (we’re looking at you, LinkedIn). You don’t even need to be a middle-aged woman who likes DIY crafts (we all know who that is). And it’s no surprise; Facebook does have a lot to offer, including a comfortable interface and tons of people on it
And then there’s Google Plus: I think I’m not alone in saying that at first, my use of Google Plus was less than enthusiastic. It’s not that I had anything in particular against it. I was just apathetic. It was like inoffensive – but unimpressive – background noise.
But here’s the truth: the time has already come to take Google Plus seriously. In fact, if you work in social media marketing, it’s time to enthusiastically embrace Google Plus, which has quickly become a major player in the world of social media. According to US News and World Report, Google Plus has experienced a 58% jump in total number of users over the last few months. Involved in internet marketing? Then you can’t be caught asleep at the wheel. Here are ten reasons why you NEED to be using Google Plus for your internet marketing:
1. SEO – We all know social media is a great way to engage customers and fellow influencers in your particular industry. However, of arguably greater value is the ability for social media to boost your standing in the SERPs. Social media’s importance for SEO is on the rise. Google and other search engines appear to be moving towards algorithms that give significant weight to social media. They seem eager to look at just how active you are, and how many people are enjoying and sharing your content.
When it comes to this aspect of social media, Google Plus has emerged as the MOST INFLUENTIAL platform. Google appears to be rewarding for +1’s, and the seamless connection between Google and Google Plus means that Google Plus is the social media platform you need to focus on in order to gain maximum optimization.
2. Company Interaction – One of the most annoying features of Facebook and LinkedIn, from a business perspective, is that while you can certainly post on your company page, you cannot interact with others outside the small confines of your company page. That means you can only interact with users who have decided to visit you on your company page. If you want to enter groups and engage other users on their turf, you can only do so as an individual persona. This is limiting in terms of spreading brand awareness, and tricky, to say the least, if you hire an outside consultant to do social media on your behalf. However, in Google Plus, you are free to join communities using your company identity. You can interact with other users as a company. This means more exposure for your brand name, and more direct engagement with potential customers and fellow influencers, reaching out to them instead of waiting for them to come to you. Moreover, if you post content that gets shared by others, every new user who sees it will also see your company name attached to the shared post. That means instant brand awareness for you, all because of the quality content you produced. Try doing that in Facebook.
3. It’s Organic – Google Plus has not (yet?) rolled out any sort of paid advertising within its social platform. This means that the cream rises to the top, and users know it. Nothing here is artificially manipulated by dollar bills to rise to the top of someone’s newsfeed.
In Google Plus, if content is viral, you know it has been legitimately seen and enjoyed by other users. And G+ users know it, which means they will respect your content even more if it is popularly shared. That level of authentic quality is, in the long run, a huge advantage of Google Plus.
4. Google Authorship – Internet users prefer to see a face behind the content that they are reading. Research indicates that people are significantly more likely to click on a search result that has a profile picture associated with it. Here is where Google authorship comes into play.
By linking your Google Plus profile to the content on your site, your face will appear in the SERPs next to your content. See here to learn how to set it up. Get your face next to your content, and watch the clicks come in.
5. Engage New Users – Taking a page out of Twitter, G+ allows you to follow people whose posts you would like to read, without them actively approving it. This gives your business the freedom to reach out to potential customers and active influencers in your space, thereby building relationships and growing your network. Note: Google Plus only allows you approximately fifty new follows a day. (No worries, though. Come back the next day and network some more.) You’ll find that there are plenty of people who will reciprocate your following of them by putting you in their circles. Provide quality content, and watch your audience grow.
6. Google Circles – Though at first you might find it confusing, Google circles really are a great tool for organizing your social presence. Release posts to specific clusters of people that are particularly relevant to them. Avoid boring large sections of your audience with posts that are of no interest to them. This keeps your company page consistently relevant to each of your users- even if they have varied needs and interests.
7. Enter the Google Universe – Google has been making great efforts to streamline its social media platform with all other Google applications. Google Plus had already been integrated with Gmail (which, by the way, 1/2 the universe uses.) Now, it has been linked up to YouTube, too (which ¾ of the universe uses).
You have just been given access to millions more YouTube users who now may easily end up on your page. Whether it is through watching a video that you have uploaded, or through the comments – which now appear in G+ format – Google Plus just got a huge boost in its reach.
Google Plus is also connected to Google Places for Business and Google Maps. If you have a physical storefront, your potential customers will have all the information that they need right in front of them, including directions, reviews, and contact information.
8. Hangouts – Wouldn’t it be great to interact with customers in real time? You could answer their questions, or relay important updates about your company. With Google hangouts you can have live video conversations, which go a long way in building relationships and cultivating customer loyalty.
9. Reporting – Businesses live off of data. Without it, no assessssment can be made of what works and what doesn’t. G+ has a fantastic data tracker, which you may have missed, that shows you the trajectory that your post has taken. It’s called “Google Ripple.”
If you click on the drop down menu of a post, and then click on “View Post Activity,” you will see the option to select Google Ripple. This neat feature shows you in GIF-like motion who shared your post to whom. It’s like watching a (hopefully long) line of dominos fall down, one after the other.
10. Facebook Reach is Down – Facebook has recently been introducing fundamental changes in their impressions algorithm, which have led to dramatic reductions in number of views. Some companies have reported as big as a 75% decrease in their typical post viewing. Why is Facebook doing this? To make money. Facebook is now charging companies to increase reach for post impressions. Guess who’s not doing any of this?
Let us know if you have also found Google Plus to be a great tool for your business. Not convinced yet? Give Google Plus a try for a couple of weeks, and then come back and let us know how it’s going. Good luck!