Small businesses are coming to realize the value of social media marketing for creating brand recognition, generating leads, and building connections with customers. But many of them feel overwhelmed by the number of social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. Which ones are most important? Which should be given precedence when time is limited?
Google+ was a bit tardy to the social networking scene, following on the heels of Facebook and Twitter, and while it may seem that those two cover most bases, don’t discount Google+. By virtue of the fact that it is a Google product and Google rewards usage of its own products in an interesting way, you owe it to your business to do a little research on it before dismissing it as just another time drain.
To begin with, G+ is the number one driver of Google SEO. As such, creating a profile will help your business be found in Google search engine results. Search engine optimization is no longer simple keyword-dependent link building; content is king now. What you say is as important as where (or in how many places) you say it. Use of Google+ affects not only marketing and reach but will have a direct effect on website rankings and online presence.
Google also ties together content by Google Authorship which is, of course, linked to Google+ profiles. By assigning authorship and allowing it to be “graded” by users as to relevance (in terms of shares and +1s) as well as regularly monitoring traffic patterns, Google is overlaying real world accountability and interaction to what has been an often anonymous online experience. Real names, real feedback, real renown or acclaim – it’s what will give Google’s rankings true authenticity and relevance. This is, of course, their goal. In fact, Google “has confirmed that there’s a hidden benefit to having authorship status: If a user returns to the search results after reading an author-tagged search result for a certain period of time, Google will add three additional links to similar articles from the same author below the originally clicked link.”
Currently Google+ has 540 million active monthly users and garners over 300 million active monthly in-stream users, and, unlike Facebook, has a majority male audience (70%). It is experiencing explosive growth compared to other networks. It’s easy to see how this could translates into more leads, more business collaboration, and more sales. Many of the tools available on Google plus, like Google+ Circles and Hangouts – are tailor made for business communication and conferencing, unlike Facebook, which most people view as entertainment.
For these reasons, Google+ is going to be a valuable factor in a small business’s social media marketing success. If you have not yet created a Google+ profile, a local page for your business, and Google Authorship, now is the time to begin accumulating Google’s built-in authority.
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