Is your business active on Google Plus? And if not, why not? With its myriad features that merge SEO tactics and inspire genuine user engagement, Google’s social network is one of the sharpest tools in the digital marketing box.
Not convinced? Well, allow us to offer you 21 irresistible reasons why your business should embrace Google Plus. (Even if your business already has a Google Plus presence, we think you’ll find some fresh insights in this list that you can take into 2015 and beyond.)
1: Google My Business is easy to use
Google My Business combines Google Places, Google Plus brand pages and Google Local Information into one easy-to-use dashboard. This allows you to monitor user engagement and access Google Analytics and AdWords, all from one place.
2: Google Plus Communities help you build a team of brand advocates
Communities on Google Plus work like internet forums, where like-minded people can meet and discuss their favourite subjects. By joining one of these Google Plus Communities, businesses can interact and hopefully gain a list of brand advocates within their industry.
3: Google Plus Circles can help you target specific audiences
Many marketers use tiered content to target different sections of their audience. Whether you’re targeting potential leads, new customers or returning customers, Google Plus’ Circles features lets you post specific pieces of content that will be relevant to your differing audience segments.
4: Semantic search helps you build clout in your industry
Semantic search is where Google will interpret a searcher’s query in more depth, in order to yield highly relevant search results. A Google Plus profile for your brand will therefore help your business’ name get out there, especially if you have filled in your profile in its entirety by for instance, logging your headquarters address on Google Maps.
5: Knowledge Graph and Social Proof show your support from internet users
Social Proof and the Knowledge Graph features on Google Plus give businesses the chance to build audience trust in their brand, by showing things like follower count and customer reviews on their Google search results.
6: Hangouts on Air allow live interaction with audiences
Hangouts on Air also allow your followers to become directly involved with your broadcast by appearing on camera as part of your hangout or, if they are watching the live stream, audiences can send you real-time feedback via your Google Plus page.
7: Regular Hangouts on Air can boost your Google Plus presence
By setting up regular Hangouts on Air, you can build an audience of loyal viewers who can then interact and share your broadcast via their own social media feeds. Google Hangouts on Air are also completely free and easy to set up (music to the ears of those who have tried to set up webinars in the past).
8: Hangouts on Air apps make audience interaction easy
Hangouts on Air is also compatible with a number of apps which make it even easier for internet users to tune in and give their opinions. Applause app for instance, allows users to give instant feedback with either a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ symbol. Also, Google Plus’ Showcase app allows Hangouts on Air hosts to integrate videos and links to their broadcasts.
9: Google Plus can help you build connections elsewhere on social media
Google Plus’ tools allow you to easily embed your Google Plus posts to other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. By combining your social posting across all networks, you can draw internet users to your Google Plus page and take advantage of the other great features the platform has to offer.
10: Stream your Hangouts on Air across multiple sites
Hangouts on Air stream directly to YouTube and your Google Plus profile. However, you can also embed live stream links in your Twitter or Facebook feed, meaning that you can target a larger social audience with your webinars.
11: Auto Awesome app can enhance your brand’s image
Social network users love a good photograph to accompany written posts. With Google Plus’ features, even a photography novice can tune-up their pictures with the help of the Auto Awesome tool. Auto Awesome will even arrange similar looking pictures into a series and make an animated GIF.
12: Auto Awesome is free and easy to use
Auto Awesome’s photo editing software is also free and very simple to use. You can even use the app to add effects to your video content and it will store a copy of the original file for you, so you don’t have to worry about losing your images.
13: Flex your graphic design skills with free tools compatible with Google Plus
Third party apps like Canva allow Google Plus users to make things like blog graphics and social posts quickly and easily, with little no graphic design experience required. By experimenting with the Google Plus platform you can draw audiences in and give your business a more aesthetically pleasing profile page.
14: You can nail your ‘elevator pitch’ with Knowledge Graph
The Google Knowledge Graph puts a snapshot of your business (including things like your location, a photo of your premises and maybe a link to your latest Google Plus post). This means that you can fill out your Google Plus profile in full and create an ‘elevator pitch’ that will show your business in its best light.
15: Personalised search results help with SEO rankings
Users who are connected on Google Plus benefit from personalised search results, based in-part on what others are searching within your relevant area of interest. For instance, if one of your brand’s followers searches ‘chocolate cake’ and you have posted a recipe for chocolate cake on your Google Plus feed, it is likely your result will appear in their Google search results.
16: Google Plus tools can boost your audience and productivity
Google Plus’ is compatible with Google Drive. This gives businesses more freedom in the types of content they can share on the platform. For instance, you could share an in-depth scientific study via Google Drive and share it with a select audience on Google Plus.
17: Google Plus can help you become a community star for your industry
With the Google Plus’ Communities feature, brands have a real chance of making themselves an influential thought leader in their specific industry. There are thousands of interest-based communities on Google Plus, so there’s bound to be a community to suit your brand. But do bear in mind; there is a certain etiquette to joining these said Communities. For instance you can’t just join one and then start posting lots of advertising content, your fellow community members might not take kindly to these ‘spamming’ methods.
18: Google Plus can add value to your marketing efforts
Google Plus Polls allow brands to take advantage of their audience’s opinions by gathering meaningful feedback to your specific questions. Voting polls on Google Plus are easily sharable and therefore a worthwhile experiment for brands looking for real-time reactions to their products/services.
19: Google Plus is great for targeting advertising campaigns to the right people
Features like Hangouts on Air allow your brand message to be shared far and wide and in as much detail as you’d like. Circles is also an easy and convenient way to segment your marketing content to varying levels of audience interest. This makes Google Plus a highly useful platform for marketing campaigns.
20: Google Plus Post Plus Ads allow you to reach your entire audience
Google Post Plus Ads are a way businesses can monetise their Google Plus content. It works by allowing companies to take their Google Plus posts and use them as an advertisement on any of the partner sites in the Google Plus Network.
21: You can back up your Google Plus content with Google Drive
Thanks to Google Drive, businesses can save their Google Plus content in a convenient way. If you took some photos at a recent conference, for example, you could upload them to Google Drive to be stored and then shared through Google Plus at a later date.