There’s plethora of information. They’re all up for free. People are in constant engagement with individuals and brands alike. Everyone is free to mouth the good and bad. You could like, share, endorse and comment on just about anything. It’s the social world.
So, how does that matter to a business?
You need to build a room of survival in the unrelenting digital space. You need to catch up. You need to be in the forefront. You need to be proactive. You ought to be heard and listened to.
Why Google Plus?
With the advent of Google Plus, one of the youngest and the fastest growing social media platforms, things have got even better. It presents a whole new platform of free opportunity to connect and engage with customers and those that matter most to your business, on a personal and social level.
According to GlobalWebIndex, Google+ now has 359 million active users, outpacing Twitter’s 200 million active users. It is also the second largest growing social network platform, next to Facebook.
A Google Plus profile keeps you looking good all over Google. Google Plus also contributes tremendously to SEO and search traffic volume, its key differentiator from other social network counterparts such as Facebook and Twitter.
There’s more to why a Google+ Page is inevitable for businesses. Let’s dive in and find out more on Google Plus features and their business benefits.
Business Benefits of Google+ Features
Organized Target Group
The ‘People’ feature on the left menu shows the users you are following and those who follow you. The takeaway for businesses here is, it could segment its followers base into different categories and post updates that are relevant and targeted to each of them. For instance, you could create and organize circles of Employees, Customers, Bloggers, Competitors etc., and engage with them differently.
Sharing what’s relevant and participating in the conversation that’s up and hot puts you in the forefront of your target audience, and provides your followers with fresh and engaging content. Apart from brand originated content, the ‘What’s Hot’ feature lets you discover the most recommended and shared content on Google+.
Get your face next to the content you own in Google searches by claiming authorship. Doing this helps create a visual tie between the author and the content, and helps build brand authority and influence.
Though there are a number of ways to do Google authorship, the best recommended with least technical hassles is to,
• Append ?rel=author tag to the end of Google+ profile URL, and include a link to it from the Author bio section of your blog, or the ‘About us’ page on your website. An example of this could look like this: https://plus.google.com/+YourProfileName?rel=author
• Next, add a link to your blog or website under the ‘Contributor to’ section under the About Us tab on Google+ profile.
Hashtag has commonly been used in tweets, and Google has been recognizing them from a long time. Using hashtags in your updates gives you exposure beyond your network of followers. Google+ may at times suggest hashtags that are in line with the update you are posting, when you do not voluntarily use them.
Google+ cover photos got bigger some time back, and this is a great news for marketers. The cover photo is a great visual branding opportunity that can be best leveraged if you have a creative graphics team. Use the space to express your brand image, showcase your products, advertise an event etc. You are free to use the space to the best of your business advantage.
A key feature that helps immensely in relationship building; ‘Events’ brings your followers closer to your brand. You could send invitation to specific circles or followers, be it on a product launch, a fundraiser etc, and the invitees could share and tag photos in a single photo collection. This makes it a great way for personal cum brand interaction, and content creation too!
Google Hangouts presents incredible opportunity for businesses to engage with its followers on a very personal level, by building and enhancing relationship with its followers. You could schedule Hangouts to live chat with your followers, unveil new products, hold Q&A on some of your products etc. For its screen sharing feature, it could also be an alternative to hosting a webinar and investing on online meeting softwares.
Be an Authority
There is already a variety of existing niche communities within Google Plus your business could join in, or you could create one using your personal profile or page. Interacting with like-minded or niche people in Google+ communities is a proactive step that will gain more exposure for your Google+ page, and credibility for your business.
People could be searching local business on Google+, rate, post reviews and even put up photos, regardless of whether you are active there or not. Users could be taken right into your Google+ local listing or local page from within Google search and Google Maps as well (Local listings are now directly taken to Google+). Claim and verify your Google+ local page, and be sure you are right there where direct interaction with your brand/business happens the most.
That was a quick sum up of introduction to Google+ features and how you could leverage them for businesses benefits.
So, how has Google+ helped your business? What features have been most effective? Share with us.