Google+ is on the rise. No doubt about that. When Google+ launched they positioned it against facebook. Which was absolutely the wrong thing to do. People said Google+ will be a failure. It’s the re-incarnation of Google Buzz. It will never beat facebook. Just in time Google repositioned Google+ as the new Google. The social layer over everything Google does. And within that context, you cannot afford to ignore Google+ for much longer. And more and more people are buying into this. Google+ has now close to 1 billion registered users and the +1 button is used 5 millions times a day (click for more details). Of these users, 300 million are active monthly and they spend on average 6 minutes and 47 seconds per month on Google+ (click for more details).
If you still have doubts about the power of Google+, here’s a great video that explains Google+ and why you have to be on it:
So here are my personal top 5 reasons why you can no longer ignore Google+:
1. Integration with other Google tools
For Google, Google+ is fundamental in its product strategy. They recently announced that you have to be on Google+ to be able to place comments in Youtube. Gmail is fully integrated with Google+. When you receive an email from somebody for the first time you can add him/her to your circles within Gmail. Expect all other Google tools to be integrated with Google+ sooner rather then later.
2. Google+ impacts search results
First of all, by being on Google+ you can personalise your search results. If someone is following you on Google+, the chances that they will see your posts in Google’s search results go way up. Second, your Google+ posts may come up in the Google search results. See below for a Google+ post I did recently and how it showed up on the first page of Google Search when you search for my name:
3. Google+ Local
Local Google+ pages have features that allow customers to easily connect with that business’s physical location. For example, local pages include a map of the business’s location and feature its address, phone number, and hours of operation. They also give you the standard Google+ features like creating and managing circles, starting and joining hangouts, and sharing content like posts and photos.
Google+ local allows people to:
- Get place recommendations based on your circles, your past reviews, and your location
- Publish reviews and photos of your favourite places
- Read Zagat summaries of user reviews for a place
- View the local Google+ page for a business to see reviews, photos, posts, and other useful information
- Find reviews from people you know and trust highlighted in your search results
4. Google Hangouts
To me, Google Hangouts is where Google+ makes the biggest difference compared to any other social network. Hangouts brings one-on-one and group conversations to life with photos, emoji, and video calls for free. Connect with friends across computers, Android and Apple devices. Google Hangouts are video broadcasts or conferences between 1 to 9 people max. It is like Skype on steroids. But not only that, you can stream the hangout live on Youtube so everybody in the world can follow the broadcast. The White House regularly does Google Hangouts where they invite 8 journalists to attend. They can ask the questions. But its streamed live on Youtube for the world to follow. Or they can watch it at a later stage. Here’s a great video that explains Google Hangouts in more detail:
5. Google Circles
And finally, Google Circles. In Facebook everybody is your friend. Your posts will go to all your friends. In Google+ this works different. You can put your friends in Circles and then share your posts to the relevant circles. You can have a circle for family and only they will receive your family related posts. Or you can have a circle with business contacts. A great way to segment your connections in Google+. It works like Twitter. When you put people in one of your circles you will receive their Google+ posts. They will only receive your Google+ updates when they put you in one of their circles.
It is very important as a business to have the right circles. Here are some example circles for you: Brand Advocates, Team members, Influencers, Customers, Networking, Industry news. Check this article for more information about this.
6. Google+ Pages
Finally, your company page in Google+. Like in facebook or Linkedin, you can create a company page to promote your business. People can +1 your page, +1 button to endorse your page and content, and re-share your posts across the web. But what you really want is to get people to follow your page. So they will automatically receive your company updates on Google+ and you can target them specifically by putting your followers in the relevant circles. Two great tools to analyse your followers are Circloscope, a Chrome extension for Google+ circle management and CircleCount, a free analytics and statistics tool focused on Google+’s circles feature.
Have you got any other tips on how to use Google+ for your business, share them with us in the comment section.