Because Google+ arrived late to the social media party, many brands are hesitant to join the network. After all, when it comes to social media it is best to master one or two platforms rather than try to be everywhere at once. However, there are many benefits to using Google+. Perhaps it is time to learn more about the platform to see if it would be a good fit for you.
Google+ is ideal for networking (similar to LinkedIn) and for information sharing. It is a great platform for connecting with others in your industry and for reaching members of your target market. Google+ can help you generate new business, raise brand awareness and increase engagement with consumers.
Performers were among the first to begin using Google+ effectively. The unique features of the site make it ideal for connecting artists to their fans and to other artists. Popular artists as well as symphony orchestras and presenting venues have begun using Google+ to find new audiences. Conan O’Brien, David Beckham, The Black Eyed Peas, the Dalai Lama and President Barack Obama are among the celebrities who have done Google+ Hangouts.
What Sets Google+ Apart?
The first, and perhaps the most important difference, is that Google+ is part of the Google wheelhouse, which includes Google Search, YouTube and Google Maps. Google is a top search engine and the number of +1s that a business has (similar to liking a Facebook page) is a factor in rating the brand in search results. Having a Google+ page will, without a doubt, affect your SEO strength.
Another important difference is the unique targeting features offered through “circles” and “communities.” The circles feature allows businesses to target different sectors within their target market with specific content and engagement. Unlike Facebook and Twitter where all of your followers can see all your content, Google+ circles give you the opportunity to group followers based on any criteria that you establish. Communities offer businesses and individuals the opportunity to join groups to help meet others in your industry and to gather and share valuable information.
Google+ Hangouts, mentioned above, are another feature that sets Google+ apart. Hangouts offer a high quality format for live text or video chats with multiple participants at the same time. Best of all, this chat happens within an already established social media platform so you can invite all of your follows to participate without having to re-connect with them in a separate platform such as Skype. Additionally, you can link your Hangout to your YouTube channel so that those who do not wish to participant can still watch. A video of the Hangout can be saved to your channel for future viewing.
Finally, Google+ offers users a new picture-editing feature that can be used on any image that is posted on the network.
Benefits of Google+
Here are just a few benefits of using Google+ to promote your brand. After setting up your personal profile you can create a page for your business or brand. You can then participate with all of your communities and circles by using either your personal profile or your business page.
You can join communities started by others in your industry to help grow your own connections. You can also start communities of your own, which you can then list on your Google+ business “About Page.” In return, you can share links on your community pages to help drive traffic to your business page.
Last, but not least, since Google+ integrates with all of the other Google formats including Google Docs, Google Calendars and Gmail it is easy to share established information and resources.
However, one drawback to Google+ is the moderation filter, which requires the moderator of circles, communities and pages to approve posts before other followers can see them. This can slow down and discourage engagement.
Ways To Use Google+
Google+ is a social networking site, so utilize it like a traditional networking event. Through the information that you share on Google+ you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Collaborate with others on topics that you are passionate about and commune with colleges from around the world.
Use Google+ to assist your clients, customers and potential contacts rather than to promote your business. Increase visits to your website by advertising free resources within your circles and communities. Through your connections and communities, you can find opportunities to fill a need within your target market or industry.
Hangouts can be used to share new products and ideas. You can also invite followers to Hangouts with an important person from your company or a thought leader in your industry. In addition, Hangouts are a good tool for conducting focus groups.
Save the searches that you conduct to find mentions of your brand and industry-related information. (these will appear on your sidebar for reference) You can then monitor these daily, respond to mentions of your brand, and re-share posts by others in your industry.
From the looks of it, Google+ will be sticking around. Recent studies have shown that Google+ beats out Twitter for the number two spot for social media sites used internationally. When it comes to social media strategy, the important thing is to choose the platforms that are the most effective for promoting your business and engaging your customers.