A recent Social Media Benchmark Report estimates that in 2014 Google Plus will surpass Twitter and Facebook to become the top B2B social media channel. Currently, Google Plus is the third most popular social media site for businesses with about 36% of businesses using it. Even though Google Plus has a substantial amount of users, its features are still a mystery for some.
What makes Google Plus so powerful is that it is owned by Google – increased SEO results anyone? The key to this is the little “+1” at the top of your businesses Google Plus page. Think of this like a Facebook “like” button. The more people view and “like” your business, the higher it will show up on a Google search. You can also link the “+1” to articles or press releases about your business or client to show your influence in the industry.
Another “plus” to having a Google Plus account is that the images you post on your page have a higher likelihood of showing up on a Google Image search. Posting pictures on social media sites has always been important in reaching out to more followers but having them show up on a Google search takes it to a whole new level.
Pictures on Google Plus are extremely important, especially the cover photo. You may have realized in the past two years cover photos have become a great way to promote your business’s brand and logo and are now on all major social networking sites. The cover photo is massive, which gives you ample space to leave a lasting impression on everyone that visits your page.
Taking a page from Twitter (and now Facebook), Google Plus has hashtags. This gives you the ability to see what is trending or create a personal hashtag for your business’s event, product or campaign.
A main selling point of Google Plus has been its circles. These circles are categorized groups of “friends.” This lets you, as Google Plus says “share the right things, with the right people.” For example, businesses can create circles for coworkers, clients or prospective clients and choose what information to share. This makes it easier to filter news and reach target audiences. It also makes it easier for businesses to filter out posts. You can also contact prospective clients through their Gmail accounts, show them what your business has planned through Google Calendar and give them Google Offers.
Apart from circles there are communities. Communities are groups of people or businesses that share a common interest. You can join pre-existing communities or create your own. Think of them like Facebook or LinkedIn groups. This helps you hone in on your target market as well as learn valuable information about your particular industry. Communities are great places to engage followers, create discussions, and show your expertise. The only problem with communities is that they aren’t as regulated on Google Plus as they are on other social networking sites. That means there is an increased possibility that your community will collect spam.
Another great feature about Google Plus is that it integrates video chats. Although Facebook does let you video chat with people through its messaging system, Google Plus provides an easier and larger platform for video chatting. These chats are called Google Hangouts. Hangouts let you connect with up to 10 people at a time. They are great ways to: pitch a story to a client, take a conference caller give a presentation remotely.
Finally, all these features are accessible through mobile integration. This is perfect for busy business executives on the go with their iPhone or android. And it has been predicted that the future of social media sites is in mobile integration.
I hope my rundown of Google Plus gives a better look at what it can do to help you grow your business.