I expect many of you reading this are very aware of Google’s own social network, and hopefully quite a few of you are using it. However, the number of people using Google+ is quite small compared to other social networks, but there are still compelling reasons for using it, even if the thought of yet more social networking makes you want to throw your computer out of the window.
First and foremost, Google+ is primarily a business network in our opinion. If you want to socialise with friends and family online, then stick with Facebook, you don’t need to socialise with them in more than one place.
However, from a business point of view, there are a number of benefits of signing up, so you need to consider these points if so far you’ve been totally uninterested in doing so.
More exposure in the search results
Particularly branded search results on Google (see images below). Now, how you get your Google+ page to show up in this right hand box is more difficult and there are a number of ways to go about this, such as, how proactive you are with your page, how many people engage with it, how many people have circled it, are all important factors. Which explains why brands are more likely to show up here, but it certainly isn’t impossible for small businesses. While searching for an example, I was amazed at how many brands, big and small don’t even use Google+, even though they use other social networks. In my opinion, they’re missing out on branding opportunities by failing to make use of this network.
From looking at the brands which do have Google+ page in the search results, they definitely draw you in to take a look and would encourage more people to add them to their circles. You can see an example below with Cadbury’s page and how John Lewis now appear in the search results.
Other good reasons for using Google+ include:
+1s (similar to ‘likes’) show up in search results. This integrates social into search. The fact that someone in your network endorses a website may well influence whether or not you click through to it.
Author images show up against blog a post, which helps identify the people behind the blogs. If you have a blog, you should make sure that Google knows you’re the author of your blog posts, with the rel=author code snippet. You can find out more about it in this useful article from Social Media Examiner.
You can share videos and photos which makes your profile and pages more engaging and appealing to connections, such as the example from Cadburys above. In fact, people often respond more to video and photos than plain text, so this can make a real difference to social networking. I read somewhere recently that Instagram is more engaging to its users than Twitter, and that’s because of the visual element to the network.
Google+ Local now replaces Google Places and means your local business gets more visibility within this network too. We’ll be covering this in another blog post.
And of course, you can Hangout!
It’s still early days for Google+, but as more people dip their toe in, try it out and use it, the better the network will get. For more tips on Google + don’t forget to sign up for our upcoming webinar.
Do you use Google+? What benefit can you add for using Google+?