Last week I had the opportunity to attend the eMarketing summit in Portland and Google+ was mentioned quite a bit during the panel sessions. Have you created a Google+ page for your business? It had an early adoption rate of 10 million users within 2 weeks of its launch and is currently reported to have over 100 million active users. While it is still not as popular as Facebook or Twitter, it has become a very hot topic in online marketing. Mashable published a great list of 40 resources to start with Google+.
So what are the major benefits of using Google+ for your business?
1. It is great for SEO.
By now your website should have integrated the +1 button. When a Google+ user +1’s content, and if any of his or her connections searches for a related topic, then that users +1’d content will appear in the search results. Google has provided more information about Search Plus Your World here. Social media has taught us that users are more likely to interact with content that is recommended by friends and acquaintances, and Google+ makes that easier.
Even if users are not signed in to their Google account, if someone searches for a phrase, the results may display the number of +1’s a link has received. This provides a form of validation that it’s relevant and reliable content. Once a link has been proven to gain higher click through rates, then there is greater potential of it being shared on other social channels as well. An experiment from SEOmoz found there is a positive relationship between the number of retweets/shares and its search ranking.
2. It supports targeted messaging.
For online marketers, Google Circles provides a great opportunity to target messages that are geared towards specific customer groups. This allows you to enhance your influence to only folks who you know are interested in your content. Facebook doesn’t make it easy to customize your messages to certain audiences, so this gives Google+ a competitive advantage. For example, if your company offers multiple products, you can send an announcement to a group of users who have shown interest in that particular product.
3. It is mobile friendly.
Google+ is already on the Google Play network and the iPhone App store. This allows you to engage with your audience outside the desktop experience, and as we know many people are networking on the go. Slashgear provided an extensive review of the mobile app last year, covering what is available and what is to come.
4. It is excellent for interacting with your customers.
The Google Hangouts functionality is a good tool to get in touch with potential or current users of your products. Not only could you collect feedback on existing services but you can also directly hear back from your audience. The key element is capturing the body language and cues that come with a face to face conversation. It has the opportunity to foster a focus group like session. I love checking out Google+’s feed every once in awhile. Most recently they posted a link that Deepak Chopra was hosting a Google Hangout and gave users the opportunity to ask questions. He is one example of someone creating a direct connection with fans using this tool – imagine the possibilities!
5. It is easily integratable with web and search analytics.
There are numerous tools available to teach you how to measure your Google+ efforts. Christopher S. Penn has written a great article about how to measure Google+. There are various tools that show reports on +1 engagement metrics so any business should be able to measure content attractiveness.
There are many more updates coming to Google+ including: multiple admins for business pages, “On Air” hangouts, free voice calls, integration with Google Music, face-recognition capabilities and heftier integration with Gmail and contacts. Google has even announced check-in deals.
You can’t ignore Google+ anymore. The platform provides some great online marketing opportunities for companies looking to expand their social media marketing. What are your thoughts? Have you created a Google+ page?