Google+ for your business - the perks and pitfalls
Google+, Google’s answer to Facebook, represents an important social media platform that online marketers ignore at their own peril. Though Google+ has a reputation as the little brother of the social platforms, there are good reasons to include it in your social media strategy.
Using Google+ for businessIn many ways, Google+ works similarly to Facebook. It allows you to set up a business page for your company in much the same way as on Facebook, and a Google+ business page includes a prominent link to your website.
Users can ‘follow’ your page, just as they would ‘like’ it on Facebook. And like other social networks, Google+ has a button, known as the ‘Google +1’ button, which can be embedded in a range of web content so that readers can follow your business quickly and easily from outside of the network itself.Google+ also uses hashtags in the same way as Twitter and Facebook to aggregate content around specific themes or topics.
Advantages of Google+Google+ offers many of the same business marketing benefits as other social media networks, allowing you to reach potential customers through the platforms they themselves use for their interactions with friends and family.
On top of this, Google+ also offers one very specific advantage that other social networks can’t match. The key to Google+’s importance compared with other platforms is in the name. Remember that Google+ is part of the Google suite of products. This means that the Google search algorithm takes Google+ content and activity into account when returning search results. Having a Google+ profile is therefore an important SEO tool.Even if users aren’t finding you through your Google+ page directly, adding this platform to your web presence, alongside your website and other SEO strategies, can help give you that extra boost in search results.
Part of Google+’s integration with Google search is Google Authorship. Using Google+ allows you to claim a Google Authorship profile, which is the functionality that displays headshots beside blog posts in search results. This gives your blog entries greater visibility through search.
Downsides of Google+
Google+ does not have many specific pitfalls, but given that it is a smaller network than some of its competitors, deciding how to balance the time and resources you put into it compared with other networks is an important strategic consideration. With that said, it’s worth noting that Google+ is hardly the tumbleweed-strewn digital wasteland that it is sometimes said to be.Recent figures put its number of active users at over 300 million. Certainly, this is a long way behind market leader Facebook, with its staggering 1.23 billion users, but the internet is far more than just Facebook, and 300 million users represents an important and substantial market.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that Facebook has built its market dominance over a period of a decade, whereas Google+ has been around for only a little more than two and a half years. There is every indication that Google+ will continue to grow and become an ever-more important marketing platform in its own right in the near future. Especially with who owns it!