If you’re an avid social media user, you probably have profiles created on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, all of which you use fairly regularly. What you might not realise is that you also have an account created on Google +, which is the same account that you use when you watch Youtube (if you watch while signed in).
I can’t blame you if you haven’t noticed that you have an account on this platform, as Google have done a very good job at making Google + nearly impossible to use and make sense of. Besides the constant layout changes and updates which add to the complexity of the platform, Google + has always been a very confused social media platform. Unlike other successful platforms that have clear purposes, Google + tries to do a bit of everything, which ends up creating a very muddled and ugly user experience.
However, where there is a problem there is always an opportunity, and while most people are put off by Google +, there are still millions of people actively using the platform as their main source of news and for keeping in touch with their friends, so you’d be silly to ignore Google + completely – especially if you’re a business owner.
Here are a few ways that you can use Google + for your business:
If there is one aspect of Google + which simply can’t be ignored, it has to be communities. These are large groups which are usually public, and which anyone can submit content to. They’re usually centred around specific topics, although you’ll also find groups which are related to specific areas. Regardless of the industry that you’re operating in, you should be able to find a community that applies to your business. Although there’s a wide variety of communities on Google +, the most popular topics tend to be related to technology, so if you’re a business operating in this industry then you should definitely be joining communities and participating in them. The type of content that works well in these communities is mainly images and posts, so you shouldn’t need to massively change your content marketing strategy to succeed.
If you participate in these communities enough you could even end up being asked to become a moderator, which will provide you with even more opportunities to get your content in front of people as you can essentially choose which posts get the most visibility in the community. If you have several people in your team who have signed up for Google +, you could even create your own community and try to build up a presence that way.
Personalized Google search is bigger than ever, with the search results looking different for almost everyone based on their location, history and other factors. Google + has a big impact on personalized search, as people who are signed into their Google accounts while they search online will often find posts and profiles from Google + appearing in their search results. However, this only tends to happen if they’ve interacted with that post or profile previously on Google +, which is why it’s so important to get your content amplified as much as possible throughout Google +.
The more people your content ends up infront of on Google +, the more chance you have of appearing in their search results when they’re looking for related information or services. You might wonder how many people are actually signed into their Google accounts when they’re searching online, and that’s a good question – so if I told you that most people performing Google searches on their Android phone are signed in, does that give you an idea of the opportunity? I always think that the best way to act on social media is like a baby – kick and scream until people start giving you attention!
Social signals refers to activity on social media in relation to higher search engine rankings. Various studies over the years have shown that being active on social media does correlate with higher organic rankings, and the platform that always comes out on top for correlation is Google +. It makes sense that Google would want to reward content that performs well on Google + with higher rankings on their search results, so if you can manage to get a handful of shares and upvotes on Google +, it’s probably going to have a positive effect on your rankings.
Local (Google My Business)
If you’re a business that only operates locally, then you’re probably less concerned with where your business appears in the ‘normal’ results, and more focused on appearing in the ‘map pack’ with a good number of reviews next to your name. Getting into this coveted space is pretty tough, but one way you can improve your chances considerably of appearing here is by getting active on Google +. If you’re posting regularly from your business profile and getting a good amount of interaction, Google is far more likely to consider your business to be worthwhile for appearing in the coveted map pack. This is especially true if your business is getting good interaction in communities relevant to your location or industry.
As you can see, we’ve made no attempt to trick you that Google + is a fun place to hang out. If you want to catch up with friends, or catch up on news, or even get a good laugh, there are plenty of other platforms doing a much better job than Google + right now. But if you’re a small business owner who wants to improve your presence locally, give Google all the right signals and capitalize on a huge number of relevant searches, then you can’t afford to ignore this platform.
About the Author
Sam Williamson is a marketing executive for Zen Lifestyle