Can Google+ work for business?
Though Google+ is a relative newcomer in the social media field, it is the fastest growing social network – second only to Facebook in terms of engaged users. Google+ users tend to view this social network with a greater degree of seriousness than other social media.
Google+ provides some interesting opportunities for business marketing because Google+ circles enable B2B companies to market in a more targeted way.
Users can circle your company page – opting to receive information from you. You can then find out about the person who has circled you, circle them back, and add that person to unique circles based on marketing considerations.
This means you can segment people following you, providing each segment with highly useful and specific information instead of just a general communication blast. You could segment your followers by creating circles for students, architects, planners, existing clients and so on. In this way, B2B companies can use Google+ to interact with individual followers in personal ways.
Communicate With Your Clients
Google+ provides a powerful communication channel with strong potential for relationship building. By sharing an individual’s content and inviting them to private communities, private events, and private hangouts (a type of video conferencing), you have the potential to build and strengthen relationships.
Google+ and Search Engine Rankings
The Google+ social network is likely to take on added significance – and is becoming more important in terms of search engine ranking. Posting on Google+ correctly can help your web content to rank more highly. Google+ is tightly integrated with the Google search engine, so Google+ posts are treated much like regular webpages (unlike posts on other social networks), and will therefore rank higher in search results.
Google Authorship & Search Results
Google+ profiles are used by Google as a way of establishing authorship. If you create some content on the web and link it to your personal Google+ page, your authorship is verified – and you may be ranked more highly.
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google (2013)
This means that being active in social networks (especially Google+!) will improve search engine ranking for an author. You might also receive more traffic from search engine results pages if you have established Google+ authorship, because your Google+ profile image (and link) will display next to your page listing.
Google+ & YouTube
Google+ recently became very tightly integrated with YouTube (another Google-owned social media channel), which has made Google+ even harder to ignore. If you have a YouTube channel, you’ll now automatically have an associated Google+ page – which can be an excellent way of managing comments and interactions on your videos.
The Bottom Line
Google are the giants of search – handling approximately 90% of all search traffic. This statistic alone makes Google, and Google+, hard to ignore. The company has invested heavily in the Google+ network, and usage rates are increasing. The network can already provide benefits in terms of your ranking in search results.
Google+ is not Facebook or Twitter – it’s different – but it does offer businesses some intriguing possibilities and shouldn’t be ignored.
Though it depends on your industry, I wouldn’t recommend investing a lot of time in Google+ right now. But I would take these steps:
- Ensure that key web content creators in your organisation have verified Google authorship – achieved by connecting their content with a personal Google+ profile
- Secure a company Google+ page, and bring this into your social media strategy – which is not a lot of extra work
- Use the communication tools that are integrated with Google+ as a way of making your business more efficient – Google hangouts are an excellent way for remote workers to stay in touch
- If you use YouTube, you’ll already have a Google+ page associated with your channel – at the very least, make sure your edit the profile information for this page
- Check out how others in your industry are using Google+ by following and observing