When you are in business, you can't afford to ignore new ways of getting the word out about you and your company.
You’ve probably been hearing about Google+, the giant search engine’s venture into the world of social networking. The fact is, Google+ is the fastest growing social media platform in history, with over 175 million users in less than a year.
If you are not getting the word out about your company on Google+, you are missing a golden opportunity to promote your business.
You may ask yourself, with all of the other social media platforms out there; do I have the time or inclination to get involved with yet another time eating networking site? Is it worth my time to spread myself out even thinner?
When the social media outlet has “Google” in its name, the answer is… absolutely!
The Size and Power of Google
Google may never catch up with Facebook in terms of size of membership, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile venue for your business. Google+ has tried to take the best features from all of the major social media platforms. For a full overview of the features, check out Google's tour of the features.
Let’s take a brief overview of Google+’s features:
Google+ allows you to create a personal profile, where you are given the opportunity to provide fairly detailed information on your work, family, interests and expertise. These profiles are completely searchable and, by using the appropriate keywords, can help a thought leader to reach a wider audience.
Once you have created your profile, you have the opportunity to share your expertise and information by posting content and links to content on your profile page. The content is fully searchable and will lead potential followers, customers and clients to your work. Unlike Twitter, there is no character limit to the content you can post. Google+ makes it simple to upload links, photographs, videos and slides.
Google + 1
Google+ includes a feature that can help to broadcast your content to a broad audience. When people see the content you’ve posted, they can use the “+1” function to endorse the content and forward it on. In other words, if your content is given a “+1,” that content is then broadcast to everyone who follows the person who liked your content.
So, now that you’ve created a profile and loaded your content, how do you get people to follow you? Google+ has “circles” that allows you to segment other Google+ members into categories of your choosing. For example, you can create a “family” circle and include all family members. For thought leaders, you can create circles that pertain to your area of expertise or that include target members of the press and/or influencers.
My personal group of circles includes “business journalists,” “tech journalists,” and journalists working for specific outlets (i.e. Wall Street Journal). By creating these specific circles, I can see the content that these journalists are posting to the general public. When I see their content and I can offer my own expertise and get on their radar. If journalists choose to include me in a circle, it gives me a chance to put my content in from of them and may lead to them using me as a source on a story.
Another interesting feature of Google+ of particular interest to business owners is the “hangout” function. “Hangout” allows you to invite up to ten people to join you in a video conference where you can make a small group presentation or any kind of meeting of your choice.
For business owners, this provides a number of interesting opportunities. You can hold seminars, client presentations, mini press conferences or roundtables. If you have a video of a prior speech or seminar you’ve presented, it gives you the opportunity to schedule small scale webinars.
Google+ presents businesses even more opportunities for businesses to generate revenues.
How do Google+ business pages differ from the company pages on Facebook? For one, the Google+ brand pages are backed by Google’s powerful analytic tools. It is easy for businesses to monitor which content pieces are getting the most attention and which ones aren’t resonating with their audience.
Furthermore, Google has a powerful Ad delivery network that will allow businesses to better connect with their audiences. It is unclear what the advertising model will be on the business pages, but you can expect Google to exploit the power of Google+ to generate considerable advertising revenues.
Most importantly, Google+ business pages will have the power of Google search behind them.
If your business isn’t a part of Google+, you can be assured that your competitors’ businesses are there!
For business owners, Google+ represents a golden opportunity to gain the attention of an even wider audience and to serve your current constituency in even more effective ways. If you have real expertise to share, then Google+ is a necessary arrow in your business marketing quiver.