When someone asks you when the first MRI Scanner was invented or what actor portrayed the 7th Doctor in Dr. Who, what’s the first thing you do? The answer should be simple. You instantaneously ‘Google it’ of course. Founded in 1998, the powerhouse search engine known as Google is arguably the go to source for finding quick information online. But besides being a well-recognized search engine, Google quickly expanded over the years by releasing an array of services, products, and applications such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, and their very own social networking platform in Google Plus. The development of these products would serve to be monumental as they’re widely used worldwide for both personal use and business use.
But let’s turn our attention to Google’s social networking platform: Google Plus. Most people might be skeptical of jumping into Google Plus at first because of the sheer dominance of both Facebook and Twitter in this David vs. Goliath comparison. But you’ll be surprised what Google Plus has to offer and what components make it stand out from other social media platforms. Take a gander at some of the reasons why you should consider adding ‘G Plus’ to your social media and business repertoire.
SEO made simple
If you’re a small business, then you know how important Search Engine Optimization is. Having a Google+ page can only help you as it’s used through one of the best search engines in Google Search. Your Google+ page has a better chance in showing up higher in Google’s search results making it more visible to your target audience. The influence of Google shows that individuals who +1 (likes) any content that you create will be indexed much faster within Google Search. And by chance you have a Google Adwords campaign, you could also connect and direct that to your Google+ page as well.
Another great feature in linking Google+ to your content is by using Google Authorship. Writers and bloggers will benefit from this because it allows the author to claim all of their work and validates the content through Google. The most noticeable difference when using Google Authorship is the author’s Google+ headshot that’s displayed when it shows up in a search results page. The corresponding headshot will usually draw an individual’s eye straight to your content. Visually speaking, a headshot will also build trust with your target since they can now associate their search results with a face.
Once again, Google+ allows you to link your page to other great Google features. Google Local authenticates and indexes your business if you have a physical location. This is ideal for all local businesses as Google Local displays the hours, phone number, and location based off Google Maps from an individual’s search results. Google Local also only allows Google+ users to write reviews making that customer’s insights much more authentic instead from an anonymous user. Potential customers will find this very accessible and useful as it consolidates all the reviews and general contact information into one spot.
We love talking to new people who share a common interests with us because it makes the conversation that much more engaging and interesting. Google+ Communities is exactly that…a large group or forum built for rich discussion and content sharing. There are a variety of specific topics, hobbies, and areas that Google+ Communities cover such as hockey, technology, and healthy living. Within any Community, you’ll find potential to connect with tons of new people that likely to be more engaged and more receptive. You could also find great prospective clientele in a Community to leverage one of your products or services. I find Google+ Communities to be much more legit than a Facebook Like Page simply because you’ll get more valuable feedback from authentic people in an authentic environment. Think of Facebook as an overcrowded and loud dive bar whereas Google+ is a fancy cocktail lounge. There’s more room for meaningful exchanges which demonstrates that Google+ prefers quality over quantity.
Sure you could use Skype video conferencing, but Google Hangouts is a much more efficient solution if you want to extend the conversation with someone from of one of your Google+ Communities. It’s a real quick and easy process when starting up a Hangout as you can select up to 10 participants that have a Google+ account. You could even join a Hangout video conference call from your smart phone! Google Hangouts is a great free service from Google+ that is both useful in external and internal collaboration.
A new feature extended from Google Hangouts is Hangouts on Air which gives you the opportunity to broadcast a Live Hangout to the entire Google+ spectrum. This is perfect for small businesses as Hangouts on Air can act as your very own webinar. Once you’re done with the live recording, the Hangout will save and can be uploaded to your Google+ page, website, or even YouTube page. Google Hangouts can certainly jump-start a small business, if not establish your online presence.