The number of social media outlets continues to expand. Because of its quantity of users, Facebook is a must for most businesses, especially if they are consumer focused (B2C). Beyond that, the debate opens up. LinkedIn is extremely important to building professional relationships and for business to business (B2B), Twitter is the most dynamic, and YouTube has a sizable portion of the video market. But the social network with the most significant expansion is Google+ (or Google Plus).
Here are the top reasons your small business should use Google+.
The primary reason your business can’t afford to ignore Google+ is its impact on search rankings (SEO). As the number one search engine, Google has incorporated Google+ into its algorithms. Here’s why this matters: Suppose your organization is on Google+ and posts content through its account. When one of your connections on the network does a search, your content is more likely to have a higher ranking in the results. Countless studies have been done on the value of page placement. Bottom line – the higher you appear, the better.
Google+ is growing. The latest data indicates, with hundreds of millions of users, it’s the second largest social network behind Facebook, with just over 50% of internet users with a Google+ account. A business would be hard-pressed to ignore that many potential customers.
Google’s integration is far reaching. Google Places and Maps, for example, impact local search results. When a potential customer does a search for a service – say, content marketing – a local firm with an active Google+ profile is more likely to appear near the top of the results. And let’s not forget Gmail – how long will it be before there is a closer connection between Google’s email users and Google Plus?
One of the most valuable, new aspects of Google+ is its integration of Authorship. By linking a small business employee’s Google+ account image with, for example, a company blog post, early studies have shown an increase in conversion of as much as 150 percent.
- Everyone’s a critic and Google realizes that. Google+ Reviews are now showing up in search activity, which impacts leads and, ultimately, conversion. A small business can take advantage of this feature by proactively soliciting reviews about its product or service from their customers - see Flat 12 Bierwerks example below. The result – better control of the perception of your brand.
Many organizations and individuals have had their fill of social media networks and are content to stick with already established accounts that have delivered results. But the growth of Google+ can’t be ignored, especially when valued customers are at stake.