Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Ning…so many Social Networks…so little time. Brands are bombarded with messaging about social media and its importance. The bottom line is that social media is a confusing issue for most brands, big and small. They are generally overwhelmed with the prospect of not only creating profiles but mainly with how to select and manage the ones most important to their business.
When we meet with clients and bring up the importance of Google Plus they universally give us that look like the kid who is being forced to eat their vegetables.
What is Google Plus?
Google+ is a multilingual social network that was launched in June of 2011. Google Plus is the result of a number of failed and successful Social Networks from Google. Wave, Circles and Orkut all contributed to the final G+ product. Unlike other traditional social networks which are accessed through a single website, Plus (as described by Google) is a “social layer” that links and interacts with many of its online properties. This is where the true power of Google Plus Business Page lies.
- As of September 2012, Plus has a total of 400 million registered users of whom 100 million are active on a monthly basis.
- 3 out of 4 brands (75%) are now on Google Plus for business
- 6X the number of Plus pages are showing up in search results (When searching for a company using brand terms, 30% of brands with G+ pages have G+ pages show up in search results)
- The top occupation designation was ‘student’ and the top relationship status was ‘single’
Why should I use Google Plus?
As an individual, Google+ is an easy-to-use social network that integrates with Gmail, Google Search plus Your World, YouTube and other Google products. For businesses the main benefits are:
- Search Engine Reputation – For me, it’s hard to fathom what the other 25% of business owners are thinking. At a minimum, reserve your trademark and brand names on Google+. You can figure out your strategy later. The risk of a competitor or upset consumer grabbing your business name and using it on Plus is a PR nightmare.
- Social engagement – Benefits of G+ include shares, plus 1’s, comments and overall interaction behaviors. This all builds social authority.
- Local Search – Google Places was integrated with the Google+ Local page to create a more cohesive interactive experience with local business locations.
- SEO – Google is looking at your overall presence in addition to your site. Utilizing G+ as a social, local and engagement platform is only going to increase your overall brand authority on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
I used to hate vegetables but as I get older (and smarter?) I have learned that vegetables can be delicious and nutritious (except for Brussels sprouts). As a brand, you need to adopt the strategy that people can see as the equivalent to sometimes forcing a kid to eat their vegetables.
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