Google Plus is usually seen as the guy that thought the party started at 11 when it really started at 9. Yes, it was late to the party, but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored. There is a lot to like about Google+, even at face value. It allows you to upload extremely high quality pictures and add awesome effects using Auto Awesome that can show up directly on Google Maps as well as Google search. It also allows you to connect with people that have similar interests as you through Communities, video chat for free with Hangouts, and searching hashtags actually works and they are widely used (unlike Facebook) just to name a few.
Google+ has been around for a few years now, but hasn’t gotten the recognition it deserves because Google+ does almost everything right. Maybe it’s because there is so much you can do on G+ that people find it overwhelming. Maybe it’s the fact that they made you sign up for it when you created a gmail account. I am not sure, but I am here to give you a number of reasons as to 10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to be on Google+ Now More Than Ever (in no particular order).
The image capabilities of Google Plus are expansive with everything from applying filters like you would in Instagram to adding really cool effects to photos using the “Auto Awesome” feature. “Auto Awesome” can combine the best lighting from multiple photos, create a short animation when you take 5+ photos in quick succession, combine multiple pictures into a panorama, and create a photobooth style grid. Here is Google+’s breakdown on how to “Add effects to your photos with Auto Awesome“.
In my opinion, the Insights that G+ has for businesses are just what the doctors ordered. The stats are broken down into “Visibility”, “Engagement”, and “Audience”, with each of those having a few sub-categories of stats. Those sub-categories are where it starts to get fun.
- Search views- Number of times people saw your business information show up on Google Maps, Search and Maps for Mobile, if there are multiple impressions.
- Photo views – Number of impressions of your Google+ photos across Google. This may include Google+, Google Search, Google Image Search, Google Maps and other properties.
- Profile views – Number of times people saw your business’s Google+ page.
- Post views – Number of times people saw your posts from your business’s Google+ page.
- Driving directions: Number of clicks for driving directions from a local search result in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile.
- Clicks to your website: Number of clicks to your business’s website from local search results in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile.
- Phone calls: Number of clicks on your business’s phone number from a local search result in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile.
– Driving Direction Requests: See areas from which users have searched for driving directions to your business location using Google Maps for the last 7, 30, or 90 days.
– Phone Calls: See the number of clicks on your business’s phone number from a local search result in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile, grouped by day of the week and time of day.
- +1 clicks: Number of times people clicked +1 on a Google+ page’s posts.
- Shares: Number of times people re-shared posts from a Google+ page.
- Comments: Number of times people commented on posts from a Google+ page.
– Followers: Track the number of new followers of the local Google+ page for your business.
– Followers By Country: See a breakdown of countries your total followers are visiting the page from as well as the gender breakdowns of followers in that country. (200 followers min. to see)
– Gender & Age: See the gender and age of your total followers. (200 followers min. to see)
The insights that Google+ provides are all necessary and helpful in seeing if your efforts are heading in the right direction or if it’s time to brainstorm a new strategy for the page. Unlike other platforms where reporting may be a little overwhelming, G+ provides an easy to understand breakdown of the most pertinent stats to your business.
3. Communities (niches)
Communities on Google+ are groups of people/businesses that share information on a given subject (like pediatrics, fitness, music, or social media). These are great ways to speak to an audience that you know will have an interest in your product. Just hop onto G+ and search for whatever industry your business is in. Once you do that, there will be a different page that populates and there will be an option for “Communities” at the top of the page. Click on that and various communities show up for that industry. Some of these are terrible, but others are very active and informative. If there is no community for your industry, I suggest creating one and following these tips from Social Media Examiner on using G+ communities to grow your business.
Search Engine Optimization. The lifeblood of getting your business ranked on Google Search. Last year, Moz noted that “…while visits sent to us from Facebook keep decreasing, traffic from Google+ has started to appear significant by comparison.” Engagement on G+ means a new set of tactics, some of which Moz has laid out beautifully here, but don’t forget the often forgotten few that are just as important:
-Optimizing your “About” section
-Having your Contact Info correct
-Use descriptive titles with keywords
-Use hashtags in all posts
Along with YouTube integration, G+ has Hangouts. This is the social network’s Instant Messaging and Video Chat software. What immediately comes to mind with Hangouts for small businesses is using it as a tool to conduct virtual meeting with, but there are so many more uses such as:
-Hosting webinars or interactive classes
-Face-to-Face customer service
-Hold a live contest
-Get feedback on a product/service
Taking advantage of a free social network like G+ helps you engage not only with your employees making for a happy and relaxed work environment, but also your customers so you grow your reputation for being a hands on, caring business. Here is a link to the best guide on using Hangouts for Small Businesses.
6. Long Form Descriptions
On many social media platforms, you don’t want to post long descriptions because people just don’t want to read a lot due to there being so much content and feeds moving so fast, but I have found it different with Google+. Long descriptions on posts are encouraged and even rewarded by communities with +1’s and shares. Give it a shot and I promise you that you will get more interactions on posts.
The sheer number of people is a good reason for any business to be on Google+. G+ reports that it has over 1.5billion users and 300million monthly active users. In less than three years, G+ has surpassed Twitter and LinkedIn and other networks to become the third largest social network in the world .
8. YouTube Integration
Google+ and YouTube integration is a huge advantage to marketers for a number of reasons. The first is glaring right at you with its 1billion+ users and hundreds of millions of hours being watched collectively ever single day. The potential audience is mind boggling. The second thing is that you can import all of your videos from YouTube to G+ automatically, providing a storage place for your videos while at the same time sharing it with your audience. Here is a guide to importing videos from YouTube to Google+.
9. Google Maps (verification)
Once you get your business location verified on Google+, Google Local search will display the business information (hours, phone number, etc.), reviews, and even a map of the business. The more ways people have to contact your business, the better off your business is.
10. The Split Up
In early March, it was announced that Google+ will be split into “Streams” and “Photos”. No one is really sure what it means for G+, but if I were a gambling man (which after my first try at craps is a no) I would bet that if G+ is nixed completely into Streams and Photos, then they would transfer your images, posts, and videos into those new platforms. This pretty much means that either way, you are ahead of the game. I, for one, and looking forward to new ventures in the social media realm.
Thanks for reading my post today! If you want to catch up on my other posts, please check out last week’s posting on Why First Person Content is so Important for Small Businesses on Facebook.
Thanks again, and happy trails!
– Jackson Salzman