For our next installment of Back to the Basics: Social Media 101 series, we are focusing on using Google+ for business. Integrating your social media presence across all relevant platforms, including Google+, is crucial to being seen and heard amongst the clutter of today’s online marketing world.
Just the Stats
According to an article published by Business 2 Community, there were 343 million active Google+ accounts as of June 2014. It is hard to get a current number of active accounts because Google doesn’t publish this data. Google+ has a lot less active accounts than Facebook, but more than Twitter’s 270 million. With the majority of online searches (68 percent) being conducted on Google, it makes sense to be on Google+. Plus, being active on Google+ is an excellent way to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) for the articles and information you post there. No one can learn about your amazing company if they can’t find you among the millions of search results!
How Does It Work?
Google+ pages have to be connected to an email, preferably a Google email (Gmail). Google+ has many features that are reminiscent of other social media sites: circles (categorized lists), communities (groups), +1s (likes), status updates and sharing tools.
Upon entering the Google+ realm, users have access to a number of resources such as Hangouts, Communities, Gmail, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps, just to name a few. You can import contacts, or find people via Google+, and assign them to Circles, Google+’s version of lists. Circles can be anything the user wants, such as friends, family, co-workers or even their flag-football team.
What is the Difference Between a Community and a Collection?
According to Google+ Help, a Community can have more one owner and moderator and there is no limit as to how many people can join the Community. Once you have joined a Community, you can share posts to that Community and other members may see your posts in their stream (news feed).
Just one person creates a Collection, and only that person has the power to edit and post to that Collection. Google+ users can follow someone else’s Collection to see what they share with their viewers, but you cannot share your own posts to someone else’s Collection.
Your business status updates, photos and shareable content can be filtered to only appear to a certain circle, Community or to everyone (public). For example, if something you post is work related, you might only want your work or professional circles/communities to see it, as the content does not apply to your family circle.
Some businesses, such as Motorola, have used this to their advantage. In Communities that are relevant to Motorola, they will respond to issues and questions that consumers post within the Communities, even if the comment isn’t necessarily about Motorola. This creates and builds relationships between consumers and Motorola, and it makes consumers feel more engaged with them, meaning they become more likely to use or buy from them in the future.
What mRELEVANCE Likes About Google+ for Business
Google immediately indexes everything you post on Google+, meaning your posts have a higher potential to show up in search results. Optify reports that websites that appear on the first page of Google search results receive 54.8 percent of all users’ clicks, which means you definitely want to do everything possible to appear on the first page – that means diving in with Google and joining Google+.
For example, if you search a business (such as Marketing RELEVANCE), Google shows you the information that has been provided from that business’s Google+ page on a sidebar to the right of the screen, that includes photos, links to the website, address and driving directions, phone number, business hours, customer reviews and more, all in a convenient quick-read format.
In order for this information to be available, businesses have to have updated Google+ profiles. If you verify your business with Google, it will even show up on Google Maps. Verified businesses have a check mark on their Google+ page:
Google automatically cross-examines information for your business that you put on your Google+ page with other directories, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. to confirm that information is consistent across listings. Google translates this consistency as a “vote of confidence” that the information is accurate and as a result, Google is more likely to rank that business higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Social media is constantly evolving and changing to accommodate its users. At the close of 2015, Google+ conducted research to determine what their clients wanted to see in the new structure of Google+. According to the official Google+ blog, the result was a more simplified version of the interface that put Communities and Collections at the “front and center”. In addition to being more focused on interests, the new Google+ also is more mobile-friendly (yay!) and available on both Android and iOS smartphones.
A Few Tips
Social media strategies can be difficult if you aren’t particularly savvy with every platform as they are all different. With these five tips from mRELEVANCE, your business profile will be the talk of the Circles in no time:
- Verify your page – This lets users know your company is where they say they are and open for business. Customers like to know that you are always reachable in some form or another.
- Post every single day (or at least once a week) – Google automatically indexes information and posts so businesses on Google+ automatically rank higher in search engine results.
- Personalize your page – Let users see that your company actually has faces and real humans working for them beyond the classic logo.
- Go out of your way to interact with and follow other businesses and users – Google+ works similarly to Twitter with hashtags and tagging users and businesses with @. They don’t call social media “social” for nothing. Interaction allows users to feel more comfortable with a business, so feel free to +1 and share content.
- Drive traffic – Promote your business in your posts by posting links to blogs or information that links back to your company’s main page.
Google+ is an evolving and growing social media platform and mRELEVANCE is here to keep you informed about the latest features and information from Google+.
For more social media insight, check back for our remaining Back to the Basics: Social Media 101 posts focusing on Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn and online reviews and testimonials.
If your company is ready to take its social media efforts to the next level, contact Marketing RELEVANCE at 770-383-3360 or fill out our online contact form and we’ll give you a call, because all marketing should be RELEVANT. Follow the official mRELEVANCE Google+ and add us to your circles.