Does your business have a page on Google+? Compared to Facebook and Twitter, Google+ might seem like the “dark horse” of social media. About 300 million people actively used Google+ in 2013, compared to 1.19 billion on Facebook in the same period. Only about 13% of small businesses surveyed use it, compared to 41% on Facebook. This presents an opportunity for your company to gain a competitive advantage, and reap the many benefits of the Google + platform that your competitors are missing out on.
Businesses – Especially Small Ones – Have Greater Visibility
If you have a local, “brick and mortar” business, odds are good not all your competitors have taken time to set up their own Google+ pages. That means when someone uses the site to look for products and services, your thoughtful, well-designed page has a much bigger opportunity to command attention. Google Plus may seem small, but 22% of online adults use it each month.
Google+ Pages Are More Likely to Influence Search Results
Over the last few years, Google has integrated many innovative factors into its search results. For example, whether or not a site is mobile compatible recently became a ranking factor. Social “buzz” has grown into a powerful driver of Web traffic, and it’s easy to imagine that Google’s own social network makes a major difference in local search rankings.
Your Google+ Audience is Just as Ready to Engage as Facebook
People may spend less time on Google Plus than on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean they’re not paying attention. Research has shown Google+ users are as likely to engage with your brand as users on Facebook, and twice as likely as users on Twitter. Engagement is vital, so spending time on a Google Plus page is a good investment.
How to Set Up Your Company’s Google+ Page
Google + might not look like a breakout social success, but it is still one of the “Big Four” social media sites all businesses should use. The benefits in prospecting, SEO, and overall ROI shouldn’t be underestimated. Luckily, setting up a Google+ page is simple. Launching your business page on Google+ is a four-step process:
Step One: Choose (or Create) the Right Email Account
Your business page is linked to the Gmail account you use to create it, so make sure you pick one that’s up to the task. Using your personal address or main business email can lead to a lot of inbox clutter. Choose an email account that will be readily accessible to everyone on your team who has a role in maintaining your page.
Step Two: Create Your Business Page
The Google+ Page Wizard guides you through some basic tasks including choosing the type of page (a “Local Business or Place” option is included) and filling in a company name and URL. Although these questions are basic, look over your answers twice – Google Plus lacks some of the flexibility you may be used to on Facebook.
Step Three: Develop a Public Profile
The basics of your profile are your company image and tagline. Most small businesses will want to use a logo or photo of their place of business for the public profile. The tagline might seem mysterious, but a motto or short “value statement” is perfect.
Step Four: Optimize and Promote
Google+ will lead you through optional steps after your basic setup. You can start posting on your business page right away, add Google+ social code to your website, or start distributing the link to your new Google Plus page across your other networks. Posting content to your page works like any other social network.
Make Google+ Part of Your Long-Term Social Strategy Today
A proactive social media strategy is the key to attracting more prospects, deepening your existing customer relationships, and generating the “word of mouth” sales that can make a small business more resilient. With a Google+ page, a small business is empowered to amplify its voice and make connections that can accelerate its growth in countless ways.
Once Google+ is active, you can curate its content and cultivate its following just as you do on Facebook or Twitter. It is likely that your Google Plus audience will be a largely new and separate group from your followings on other services, so you can extend your social reach by re-purposing your Facebook content.
Whatever you do, don’t forget about it in favor of the flashier, more established networks. Every Gmail address online is automatically connected to its own Google+ account. Up until now, many of those accounts have gone mostly unused – but there’s still powerful SEO benefits to be gained on Google Plus. And, of course … no one knows what Google might do to drive that huge volume of users onto its network in the future!