So, What Actually Is Google Plus? How Can I Use It To Help My Business?

Google PlusIf you have been wondering what all the hype surrounding Google Plus is about, it is finally time to put your imagination to rest and use the second-most popular social media platform (behind Facebook) to your businesses’ advantage.

Nearly 400 million people use Google Plus today. Chances are that some, if not all, of your target audience is using Google Plus. It is time to actively leverage all that the advanced social media platform has to offer. There are definitely many similarities between Google Plus and Facebook, for example. Both platforms allow you to communicate via messaging and video, post status updates, create and edit your own profile (with visual content – we know how important that is), etc. However, there are definitely a few features that separate Google Plus from some of the top social media platforms we have previously discussed.

First of all, Google has provided several workshops and online blogs and videos to aid in your adoption and optimal utilization of Google Plus. Some of the other social media platforms merely let you explore the online depths yourself, so take advantage of the help that Google has provided and can be easily found in its search engine.

Second, Google Plus allows your business to claim Authorship. What this means is that any time your business page publishes content, maybe via a blog post, your Google Plus profile will show up right next to it. For details on how to claim Authorship to be more influential in the online community and increase your search engine visibility, see:

The Google Plus ‘Stream,’ which is similar to the notion of Facebook’s ‘News Feed,’ has a unique feature that you can really use to reach out to your target audience over the web. The Stream allows you to share written and visual content with anyone – even people who are not in your “circle.” So even if you are not connected to a substantial percentage of a potential target market, you can still convey your messages to them and increase your popularity. By making your posts ‘Public,’ as opposed to merely ‘Your Circles’ or a ‘Specific Circle,’ your posts will reach as many people as possible on Google Plus – something Google recommends online marketers to do.

There are some aspects of Google Plus’ layout that makes it a tad more visually engaging than other social media websites. For example, cover photos – the visual staples of your profile – are larger and more easily seen by viewers. Additionally, from your ability to alter text styles on posts to include “rich snippets” and manipulate images, the Google Plus user certainly has ample flexibility.

Finally, given that most Page administrators on Facebook are seeing a post reach of 10-15% (as opposed to 100%), very few of your Facebook posts are reaching your Fans on Facebook. Google Plus is not subject to these issues at this time. And many businesses are slowly building their Google Plus pages up to position for a potential switch.

Almost 70% of the search market is dominated by Google. Google Plus is a Google property and many SEOs believe that posting on Google Plus can positively benefit your Google rankings, esp. for those with whom you are connected. The fact that Google Plus has increasingly merged with Google Maps/Places Listings has made Google Plus pages much more in the public eye than in the past. If you Google a business’s name, chances are you will come across their +Page. If you have reviews and content on yours, this is a chance to engage and connect with a potential prospect or partner. The sheer numbers of people are reason enough to claim your profile.

We also recommend that you watch this really excellent video by Chris Brogan. It will be time well spent.

Remember that like Facebook, there is your personal Google Plus page and there is your business Google Plus page (in your brand name). The personal +Page is about you, your interests and your own thoughts. Your business Google Plus page is about sharing content and resources to others online, including those who are not yet connected to you (build it and they will come). It’s important to understand that as a business owner you can have two accounts and use them differently.

It is up to you to use the tools of Google Plus to reach your target market and bring in more business!