We all knew that it would only be a matter of time before the almighty Google threw its hat into the social media ring. In the first year it existed, Google+ amassed an impressive following of 90 million people, which is quickly encroaching on LinkedIn’s 161 million user base.
In today’s internet with Google reigning as king, it has become essential for marketers to have a presence on Google+, as this new platform delivers detailed information to the search giant that might have otherwise gone unseen, or been cloudy at best. Including Google+ in B2B businesses’ social media repertoire will almost certainly improve SEO efforts, as Google has been noted to give brands with a G+ profile preference in search results over brands that do not. Doing this requires vigilance though, as Google will become suspicious of pages that only link back to one website. You have to link information that is useful to our followers from multiple sources, such as news articles, blogs, etc.
Should businesses decide to become active on Google+, it would be wise to begin incorporating the “+1” button on all company blogs and marketing material used online. This button works the same way as the “Tweet” or “Share” buttons, allowing anyone who clicks the button to post the page to their own Google+ account. HubSpot recently noted that websites using the +1 button received 3.5x more visitors to their Google+ profiles than those who did not implement the button. This may seem obvious, but a lot of companies neglect to do it, and leaving the +1 button out neglects an easy connection and a strong call-to-action for anyone reading the blog.
Google has recently unrolled a powerful new capability, merging search and Google+ in a way that greatly benefits Google+ users. Now, someone conducting a search has only to include a “+” in front of their search term, and the user bypasses the normal search results and go directly to that company’s Google+ page. This tool is called Google+ Direct Connect. In order to enable Direct Connect, companies need only to implement a piece of code on their website. Unfortunately, Google will not allow all companies to do this, and is constructing an algorithm to determine which companies get chosen. The best way to boost your chances to be chosen is to promote your Google+ page wherever possible. Additionally, this new capability gives small businesses the opportunity to compete for visibility against larger chains.
HubSpot lists these six best practices for marketing with Google+:
- Share LOTS of Photos
- This is different from Facebook or Pinterest, where a user would add several photos to Albums or Pinboards; on Google+, photos are added individually. That being said, you can still include the same quality infographics and collateral to Google+ as you would to your Pinboards
2. Add Recommended Links
- Under the “About” tab on Google+, you have the option to post links to pages you would recommend. This is a great place to promote your resources, services, and testimonial pages
3. Promote Your Google+ On Your Blogs & Website
- As stated earlier, it is very important to promote your page across your website, blogs, resources, and other social media presences. Cross-promotion is key to building a strong Google+ community.
4. Encourage People to Share Your Posts
- Simply ask your subscribers to share your content the same way you would ask them to retweet it on Twitter.
5. Analyze Traffic & Leads
- Fortunately, Google+ gives you the capability to analyze the traffic that your profile builds.
6. Use Circles to Segment Your messages
- “The same messages you share with your family might not be the same messages you want to share with your boss;” and at the same time, messages you share with one industry might not be the same messages you share with another.
At the core of Google+ are circles, or groups of connections that share a common link. Much like how you would create Pinboards for individual industries on Pinterest, you can create a different circle for each industry you serve. In these circles, you would invite clients and prospective clients as well as company representatives and hold events called “Hangouts,” in which members of circles come together virtually and discuss challenges and opportunities that are sweeping the marketplace. Company representatives could serve as moderators for these Hangouts and provide insight into how you tackle these challenges with unique services. Another option is to live stream a Hangout online, turning the session into a webinar.
In the volatile market that we exist in these days, its all any company can do to gain visibility. Google+ is helping companies of all sizes to just that.