With rumors about its imminent demise floating around the Web, it looks fair for regular folks to ask why marketers feel so fond of Google Plus. Once wrongfully and almost maliciously labeled a “Facebook killer”, the social network from the Mountain View guys never seemed to catch on with the mainstream audience but was fiercely adopted by anyone remotely related to social media marketing. What is the rest of the world missing out here?
The answer is pretty simple, actually. Being in Google Plus is amazingly beneficial for the online marketing strategies of small businesses. Why? Well, remember that kid in your neighborhood that owned a football and only allowed you and your friends to play if and only if you followed his rules? That’s precisely what’s going on here. Basically, Google will provide you with certain advantages SEO-wise – as long as you play according to its whims.
To be clear: Google Plus is an essential aspect of any social media strategy since it somewhat affects the algorithm that governs the way Google searches through the Web. Thus, businesses (especially small ones) with complete profiles and frequent activity on G+ will likely be indexed faster and appear higher in search results than businesses that overlook it. Of course, this isn’t that easy.
There are no guarantees for success here but there certainly is strong evidence that having some things in mind will surely help you when designing your online marketing strategy around Google Plus. That’s why we’ve compiled a brief list on how Google Plus can help with your marketing and what you can do to take advantage from it.
What can Google Plus give to your business?
Though Google has never disclosed how its search algorithms really work, many marketers and experts have analyzed some serious amount of data to come to a certain conclusions about their performance. Thus, they say Google Plus has some impact on the following:
- Blended results: given that Google has the vast majority of the market share when it comes to web searches, positioning your business among the top results (the ones that truly matter) is crucial for your visibility. Google Plus can certainly help here, since each of your posts there has a unique URL than can rank in search results as any normal page would.
- Local results: Google has spent the last years trying to refine its algorithms to achieve one major goal – to provide you with the results that fit you the best. Among the many changes introduced by the company, the importance of Google Plus for local search results has increased a lot. Thus, people looking for nearby businesses will have more accurate results which, in turn, are determined by the amount of the business +1’s in the social network and the quantity and quality of the user reviews on G +.
- Knowledge graph: people are drawn to graphics and highlighted content among the dull blue links of a search results, because of course they do. Google knows this and that’s why it’s introduced the Knowledge Graph, a small square full of data located in an unbeatable spot. When it shows, such graph is the first thing the users will see. That’s why having Google Plus is so important, since all of the information that’s shown there is pulled from your Local page. In that way, implementing Google + Publisher correctly can lure new visitors with your branding, your other social networks and even your recent Google Plus posts.
- Integration with other platforms: having a Google + account was almost unavoidable up until recently. The fact that it isn’t mandatory to have one, however, doesn’t make it any less appealing. On the contrary, having your Google + and YouTube accounts linked together can mean more exposure for your brand in the social network while Gmail’s automatic integration turn any recipient of your mails into a potential new follower that can keep in touch with you and your business in the easiest way possible.
What can you do to make the most out of Google Plus?
Now that we’ve gone over some of the ways in which Google Plus can serve your business, it’s time to take a look to what you can actually do with it to reap those benefits. Of course, having a profile and using it comes as the obvious first, but there are another things you should always remember, such as:
- Define a sharing strategy: don’t limit your sharing activities to just posting your articles, images and whatever in your business profile. Go beyond that and post them in communities with according interests and even use your personal profile to increase such reach. Why end there? Ask your employees and the people you work with to share them with their profiles to maximize the post’s potential.
- Format your posts: make sure to use hashtags, bold, italics and indentation whenever you can. If you do so without exceeding yourself, people going through pages and pages of posts will be attracted to something that looks different. Naturally, you can maximize the effect by using attention-grabbing images with the proper branding.
- Establish new relationships: although it didn’t work as such for many people, Google Plus still is a social network and you should treat it as such. What does this mean for your business? That you should take some time to create a community around a specific topic and to follow other businesses in your field. Creating a community will make you meet new people with your same interest with which you can share some thoughts, discuss and even work together. Following other businesses, on the other hand, can lead to future collaborations both online and offline.
- Know your audience and nurture it: this obviously applies to anyone in the marketing world, but it’s good to remember that it works as well in Google Plus as in any other place. By knowing your audience you’ll be able to market your product or service in the most suitable manner. Once you know it, show that you care: post relevant information, discuss with it, answer its questions and make it feel it has someone it can rely on. Besides, doing so will attract new followers and increase your influence, so there’s that as well.
- Invite people to interact with your Page: you can do so by doing two very important things. The first one is to invite people to leave a review in your page, so they can share their experience with your service with the rest of the users. Thus, they’ll feel heard and valued while you’ll have the possibility to learn what can you do to improve your service – and improve your ranking along the way. The second one is to put a +1 button in your site. This won’t only open the possibility for people to show that they like what you do and what you share – it’ll also have some impact on how your pages rank in Google searches.
Naturally, these are but general suggestions for a good Google Plus use. Given the huge changes the social network underwent in the last years, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some of them are changed in the near future. But that shouldn’t change your opinion on Google Plus.
Though the way it works and its future perspectives can mutate into something completely different, you should be convinced by now of its importance. Google Plus is at the core of many Google services and the company has turned it into a major player in its scheme, perhaps the most powerful reason you have to play by its rules: if you don’t do so, Google may go home and take the ball with it.