In case you haven’t been anywhere near the internet lately, Google launched their own social network last year called Google+. The launch was hugely successful – membership was initially limited and you needed an invite to join the network, the site grew extremely quickly and was hailed as a huge threat to Facebook – Google+ grew to 60+ million users within 6 months, a number Facebook didn’t surpass until 4 years after they launched. And, the social network also introduced some genuinely great features that businesses can use to their advantage (hangouts, anyone?).
Unfortunately, the hype soon died and it was reported that users were only spending, on average, a few minutes each month on the site – compared to Facebook’s mind-blowing statistic of users spending, on average, 400 minutes each month on their website. Lately though, things have been picking back up for Google+; they’ve redesigned the site, their membership is growing steadily – predicted to reach 400 million by the end of 2012 and, as a business, you definitely cannot afford to ignore Google+. Keep reading to see why:
Google Search Rankings
This is huge. You’re kidding yourself if you think that Google is completely nonpartisan when it comes to their search results. Obviously they are going to emphasis their own products, services, and Google+ in search results wherever possible. If you don’t have a Google+ business page, with proper SEO, you’re missing out on potential high rankings in search results – which could be the difference between a potential customer finding your business, and not knowing you exist.
Search Plus Your World
This new feature, launched in January, has a huge impact on Google search results. When users are logged into their Google Accounts and searching the internet they see Search Plus Your World results (and, let’s be honest, most of us are logged into our Gmail accounts pretty often during the day). Search Plus Your World shows friend’s +1’s and recommendations, posts, images, and other results that are relevant to your search, including local businesses. Even your company’s individual Google+ postings can rank highly in Google search results for targeted keywords.
Connecting With Others in Your Industry
Google+ is full of businesses and industry leaders in social media, internet marketing, SEO, as well as engineers and those in technical fields. If you’re in one of these industries you can use Google+ to network and connect with your peers and industry leaders. It’s also a great place to find the latest information happening in your area of expertise. There’s huge networking opportunity on Google+.
Connect With Males
If your target audience is male, you should be on Google+. Google+ is mostly male dominated – at the beginning of 2012, the network was 67% male. This is rare for social networks as they tend to skew towards females. Instead of spending all your time trying to connect with males on Facebook or Twitter, you should go to where they’re already hanging out and save yourself some time and energy.
Features Not Available on Other Social Networks
Google+ has a myriad of useful features for businesses, including the innovative Hangouts feature. Think of the potential for your business – live weekly customer service sessions, focus groups, brainstorming sessions, group meetings with remote employees, etc. Google+ also allows you to bold and italicize text in your posts. This feature is great because the only way to emphasize certain words when posting on other social networks IS TO YELL THEM. You can also optimize the titles of your posts to give your content an extra SEO boost and increase your ranking in search. Click here to learn more about Google+’s features and see the potential for businesses.
Google+ Isn’t Going Anywhere
Google is making sure their social network is here to stay. New Google users have to sign up for an account and, as a result, Google+ is gaining 625,000 new members each day and is predicted to reach 400 million members by the end of 2012. A testament to Google’s overall popularity is the fact that ‘to Google’ is a commonly accepted verb – you wouldn’t say ‘I yahooed’ something or I ‘binged’ something, would you? Google+ is integrated into Google’s black bar when you’re logged into your Google account (look for the ‘+You’ tab on the black bar at the top of the page), it’s visually appealing and easy to navigate, and it’s essential for any business that takes its SEO seriously – which should be all of you.
Did we miss any key reasons why businesses need to be on Google+? Let us know in the comments. And, if you’ve seen the light regarding Google+, contact us and we can help you get started.