When Google+ launched in 2011 I was curious but cynical. Facebook was becoming the social media juggernaut it is today, Twitter and Instagram had their own USPs and a core base of loyal, active users, so what was Google+ actually going to achieve? On the other hand with its Google pedigree surely it had to be a success?
Google creates a Google+ profile for every person that signs up for an account and therefore, technically, has 2.5 billion users. However, it probably is not a surprise that due to this, 90 per cent of the accounts have never been active and just 1 per cent are active every month.
However, at the end of last year Google announced quite a serious revamp and its 343 million devoted users, which is probably not a number to be sniffed at, will not hear a word against it.
Google+ may not be a place to create a buzzing community but having a page is a smart move in terms of getting your business found online.
Although it may not have the traffic of Facebook or the digested feed of Twitter there are other reasons that Google+ could actually seriously benefit your business. In short, Google+ for Business allows a company to set up a page, gain followers and gain +1s (their version of the infamous ‘like’). It may not be a place to create a buzzing community but just having a page set up is definitely a smart move in terms of getting your business found online.
So here are our top three reasons to use Google+ for Business.
1. Google+ will push you up the rankings
As much as it may protest about this next statement, the search giant favours you when you use its own products. It is an incentive to tie all of your online life into Google and it makes your information really easy for it to find.
Using Google+ will seriously boost your search rankings and seeing as nearly 90 per cent of all internet searches are performed on Google it would be frankly ridiculous to ignore this opportunity.
Your Google+ for Business page will be instantly indexed on the Google search pages, even if your website does not perform so well. This makes a small part of your search engine optimisation so much easier. With the websites in the first few positions of Google receiving 55 per cent of clicks, it is definitely worth your time to set up a page.
2 You can gain more traction in local searches
You may have noticed that there is always an option for ‘near me’ when you Google something. To make our online lives easier, Google has done its homework so that it automatically knows where you are whenever you search. Therefore it will prioritise local search results for anyone that looks for a product or service.
So, setting up a Google+ Business page and making sure all your address and location details are accurate is key. Another important factor in the local search results is the number of +1s you receive. So, get yourself out there and ask your customers to review you and give you a +1.
As these reviews are written by real local people, they have quite a lot of weight to them and any review written will automatically be seen by all the people in their network.
It will not take them too long and it will give you a boost so it is worth sending them a link or even including it in your email footer to make it really easy!
3 Your YouTube videos will get more visibility
YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world. The fact that it is owned by Google is, once again, not a coincidence. It processes 3 billion searches per month and although Facebook claims to have more video views it certainly does not have the sophisticated and easy search functionality that Google and YouTube do.
If you have a YouTube account then you automatically have a Google account so get the two linked up. Any videos you publish after that will be available on Google+ and therefore get far more visibility.
Google+ is not another Facebook or even another Twitter. It will not be the place where your content goes viral or the place where you discover the news as it happens. But it is the place to be if you want your business to be discovered. Just make sure your profile is up-to-date, post any content you create along the way then watch your visibility on Google get better by the day!
Caroline Steer is Digital Marketing Manager at property marketing communications agency, Oracle Group.