Whenever I mention Google Plus to a group of small business owners I get a collective groan. “Not ANOTHER social media site!”
However, I want to tell you that Google Plus is not just another social networking site. It has rapidly grown from a site for nerds to a social media powerhouse that is now number two in the United States, ahead of Twitter and LinkedIn.
Here are five reasons why you absolutely MUST add Google Plus to your marketing plan:
1. Search Engine Optimization
According to stats, 67% of people use Google when searching for information. In fact, at a recent event I polled the audience about what search engine they used and the number was closer to 90 percent. After all, there’s a reason “Google” has become a verb.
Google wants to stay that way and it gives preference to Google products. One of the reasons is that Google loves Google. Therefore things posted to Google Plus are much more likely to show up in a search than items you post to Twitter, LinkedIn or other sites.
Additionally, Google treats each post on Google Plus like an individual web page. Not only that, it indexes posts them immediately where it may only index your website or blog once a day, week or month.
In fact I’ve noticed that when I “Google” some of my main keywords, items that show up on page one of Google are much more likely to be items I’ve posted on Google Plus rather than blog posts I’ve made or even my website, even though I may have dozens of blog posts for each keyword.
I’ve also noticed that when I’m searching for information I often find Google Plus posts by other people showing up in the search results.
2. Authority and credibility
This is established when you claim your “Google Authorship”. Authorship is particularly important if you have a blog or post on other people’s blogs. If you claim your authorship, when your post shows up in a Google search, your photo and byline from your Google+ Profile may show up next to the listing.
I say “may” because just recently Google has been decreasing the number of times your authorship shows up next to your listing. The buzz on this seems to be that it depends on the authority of the site.
3. Local Search
When someone does a search for a local business, it often means they’re ready to buy NOW, particularly when the search is done from a smart phone. 75% of mobile local searches result in an action – visiting your website, phoning your store or visiting your store. And half of those conversions happen WITHIN AN HOUR.
So local search is important and Google Plus Local helps with that. Set up your profile, upload photos, include your location and hours.
4. New way to connect with customers
One amazing tool found in Google Plus is their video calls – Hangouts and Hangouts on Air. With Hangouts you can have video chats with up to ten people. Hangouts on Air are live webinar broadcasts that allow you to host a webinar with as many people as you like in the audience. It can be posted to your website or Facebook and it simultaneously broadcasts to YouTube and is automatically recorded.
Just like in Facebook, you can create an event – whether it’s for a virtual event like a Hangout or a live event like an open house. The bonus of a Google + event is there’s more opportunity for interaction and anyone invited who uses Google Calendar can automatically add the event to their calendar.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but it should give you an idea why I’m so big on Google Plus.
To be clear, if you’re going to make one change to your marketing in 2014, I think it should be to include Google Plus.
You can connect with my personal profile https://plus.google.com/+AndreaStenberg/ or my business page https://plus.google.com/+Thebabyboomerentrepreneur/
Are you using Google Plus? Leave a comment and tell us how that’s going or what’s stopping you.