As part of the biggest technology platform on the planet, G+ has an unbreakable foundation for businesses to build on.
It's no secret that Google Plus (G+) as a social network may be a qualified as a fail, but for businesses, the platform has merit and opportunity. In particular, SMEs and local businesses wanting to connect with potential customers via local mobile search will find lots of value here. As part of the biggest technology platform on the planet, G+ has an unbreakable foundation for businesses to build on.
Posts on G+ generate nearly as much engagement per follower as their Facebook posts and almost twice as much engagement per follower as their Twitter posts.
The trick to winning on G+ is to play the game according to its rules. G+, unlike Twitter and Facebook, has its own localised, engaged and fairly technical audience. And because of this unique audience, cutting and pasting your marketing strategy on to the G+ platform will not work, plain and simple. To get the most value from G+, you'll need to tweak your strategy and use a different voice.
Understanding that G+ works in tandem with Google Search, being on the platform really is essential for any small business. Some of the benefits that are derived from this association may include; potentially ranking higher on the SERP, increased ability to engage customers by providing your key business information (location, phone number, directions, reviews, photos) on the search pages and online synthesis with the associated Google for Business services.
Additionally, G+ allows for the promotion of posts, special deals and other unique or targeted content (to those in your G+ Circles and those searching for your business on G+).
G+'s Hovercard is basically your business card and the first impression information you present. Anyone interested in following you, will visit this page so it's very important to take the time to fill this out, in detail. This really is an opportunity to give Google, potential followers and customers useful information about your company (including keyword rich information about your brand, products and services).
G+ tagline is similar to the Twitter bio, allowing only a few characters to relay what your brand is about and encourage people and other businesses to follow you. Try and have fun with the tagline by presenting something funny, witty, smart and informative. We recommend that you regularly (seasonally or quarterly) reword or update your tagline and introduction to keep it relevant, fresh and up to date.
The links section can be a great source of information, but often gets ignored as the opportunity it is to successfuly promote your other social media profiles, website, sales channels, etc. The more information that you can provide here that is fresh and unique to your business, the better chance you'll have to boost your G+ profile and your number of connections.
Like anything else, you'll get back what you put into G+. Ensuring that you leverage from the platform's unique opportunity to connect to relevant customers and consumers, as a business you'll want to create a G+ strategy that attracts and engages. When creating your G+ strategy, consider some of these factors:
- Ask for reviews (builds brand credibility and trust)
- Follow other businesses and leaders in your field
- Leverage from Google's Service Area and Storefront pages
- Regular polls (for user engagement, result can be spun into unique content)
- Content from relevant industry publications (that aren't competitors)
- Links to your blogs, videos, press releases, infographics, etc.
- Relevant, searchable hashtags
- Pin updates to the top of your profile page
- Strategically share content (differentiate from other social platforms)
- Utilise your personal page to share in relevant communities
- Use visuals (images of your head office and employees)
- Promote the +1 button (G+ shares have positive impact
Speaking of hashtags …using them on G+ is different than on the other platforms. Sure, they will help reach more people than a post without them, but there a few other differences to consider:
- Hashtags have a stronger influence on G+ than on the other platforms. If you're wanting increased engagement on G+, hashtags are your friend.
- On G+ hashtags can provide some SEO benefits for you. When searching Google for a relevant hashtag, you could see a sidebar that shows Google+ posts related to your search.
- There's not too much research yet on hashtags used on G+, so we recommend using between one and three per post.
We've saved the best for last. Sure, we all value and appreciate the highly targeted (bottom of the funnel) traffic that Google can deliver, but as the value of those links (as ranking signals) is reduced, Google then, as a way to measure real popularity, increases the value of social signals. But wait, there's more:
- Based on data from G+, not from Facebook or Twitter, social signals will become a key component in the future ranking algorithm
- Based on the authority of a G+ profile and its activity, G+ profiles and posts can rank well in a Google search
- Anyone who reshares (+1) your content or follows you, can help to get your content ranked higher in G+ and (Google) organic
- Links from G+ profiles will help your site rank higher, so you should be building links from your G+ profile and promoting it across your other online real estate
With Google as its backbone since 2011, it should be obvious that Google is heavily invested in G+ and its successes. We think you and your business should be too.