At this point in time, it’s a well-known fact that a solid social media presence is critical in the success of today’s online marketing campaigns. This is especially the case for small businesses and independently owned companies that depend on word of mouth to boost their reputations and sales ratings.
However, actually separating the wheat from the chaff in regards to the many options out there can present something of a challenge. By now, we all know that Facebook and Twitter are here to stay but what about social media’s latest contender; Google+? Is it worth carving out a niche there for your company?
Why Every Small Business Owner Should Use Google+
Most of us realised that it was only a matter of time before Google came up with its own social media solution and Google+ is exactly what you’d expect from such a huge internet giant. Not only is it a great way to create and share original content with others, but it’s a very efficient marketing option for business owners thanks to the way it’s set up.
The Basics of Using Google Plus
To begin with, it’s fully integrated with all of the terrific free tools that Google already offers its users, including Google Calendar, Gmail, Blogger, Google Drive and Google Documents. This makes managing your company’s Google+ presence in tandem with your business’s blog or your personal itinerary a snap.
Google Plus accounts can also be created for both individuals and businesses or specific products (then called “pages”).
The interface is clean, easily customised, and simple to get on board with even for social networking newbies. Google+ users add other users to customised contact groups called “circles”. (People you circle can choose between circling/adding you back or not.)
Created circles can then be used in a number of ways, including the filtering of posted content by sharing some things with some circles, other things with different circles, and still more things with the public at large.
Posts can consist of text-based updates (either long or short), photos, videos, and much more, making Google+ every bit as useful as Facebook or Twitter, but quite a bit more flexible.
Why Every Small Business Owner Needs a Google+ Presence
Google+ isn’t just an alternative to Facebook or Twitter. It’s designed to be a powerful business tool that can help any small business grow and streamline its function in critical ways.
- Posts on both standard Google+ profiles and Google+ business pages often rank higher in Google searches than posts on Twitter, Facebook, or even most non-Google business blogs.
- The free built-in video chat interface (Google Hangouts) facilitates simple and effective video conferencing with colleagues, demonstrations for customers, and more.
- The circle function can easily be used for targeted marketing campaigns – perfect for business owners working on reaching out to one or several niche audiences.
- The +1 function (similar to the “like” function on Facebook) allows users to easily recommend content they find helpful and entertaining. However, unlike Facebook likes, Google +1s are said to help boost the Google search ranking of a given post.
- Google+ Local allows small business owners to manage and monitor their presence on the consumer feedback circuit. Creating a page on Google+ and “claiming” your business as your own can allow a business owner much better knowledge and control in this regard.
- Google personalised search now shows G+ posts from your network of circles alongside organic search results.
Already, many business owners are seeing their web presence (and their business reach) grow by leaps and bounds thanks to Google+ and this is only the beginning. Google has big plans for the future of its social network, so the sooner you get your business on board, the more you stand to gain!
Suggested People to Circle on Google+
Many people ask the question when first joining Google Plus; who do I circle (follow)? The answer is not as complex as you might think. When you circle someone on Google+ think of it more like subscribing to their news feed or newsletter. Google+ works differently from Twitter and Facebook and people do not expect you to follow them back in return.
So if someone or a brand page is posting information that you find interesting, then add them to your “Google+ circles”. You can create circles for different topics, helping you to quickly network with niche topics.
Here’s my list of influential people to circle on Google+;
- Stephan Hovnanian – Author, Google+ Pro Tips series
- John Elstone – Google+ Help and Tips
- Martin Shervington – Plus Your Business
- Rand Wilson – Adsense Help, Blogging Advice
- Mark Traphagen – Online Marketing and Google Authorship Tips
- Eric Enge – Social Media and SEO Advice
- Jesse Wojdylo – SEO and Content Marketing
Author by Malcolm Oakley