Should businesses invest their time in Google+? Social media now plays a greater part in any modern businesses marketing strategy, but with more and more time spent on social media you need to know that it is going to pay off, that it is valuable to your company. Google+ has for many years been mired in doubts over user activity, suggesting that, perhaps it’s not worth it to target another social network in the quest for total market penetration.
So if you’re wondering what benefits Google+ has for business then we’re here to give you an unbiased look at the pros and cons of this social platform.
Social media strategy becomes personal
With Google’s Hummingbird update affecting the way search operates, we see a prevalence towards personal content as well as highly relevant content. This is sometimes known as S+YW, or Search + Your World. There are two things to note here; firstly, search brings up content based on your search history, as well as relevant content, and secondly, it’s relevance plus social signals on that piece of content gets it higher in SERPS. S+YW is also connected with Google+, meaning business pages have the advantage that, if connected to their customer base on Google+, will likely show up near the top for relevant searches. It really can pay to be connected to your audience.
It’s also been reported that there is a bias towards content with social engagement through Google+, such as 1+s and sharing via that platform. According to MOZ, although Matt Cutts has denied such an association, the correlation is clear.
The business benefits of Google Plus marketing
Of course, Google+ kinda forces you onto their platform. Whether that’s through Gmail, YouTube or another service. In 2013 the platform reached approximately 300M users. In many ways the centralising of Google services is a benefit. Many business and social services of Google have now become located under the umbrella of Google+, such as Google Places, which now becomes a Google+ local page.
Reviews on your Google+ local page work favourably for SEO too, pushing your own site up the rankings for related search terms. It’s a win-win situation when it comes to search. By drawing audiences through your Google+ account and getting reviews on that platform you not only strengtening your position in regards to SEO but also creating a platform to talk to your customers about bad experiences or customer service quirks they want clearing up.
Direct Connect links your Google+ page with your website – it’s makes it easier for audiences to find your Google+ page through Google search, allowing you to farm communities and get the types of interactions you want.
However, some studies have shown that Google+, despite lacking user activity, does have quite virulent interaction among its audiences.
Community outreach and video hangouts
Google+ has an active user base, though one doubts it’s anywhere near as strong as Google would like to make out. Yet, those who do interact, get involved in your content.
So find the communities relevant to you, use #tags, @mentions and keywords to ensure that you’ve got the widest possible reach for your content. Be sure to respond whenever you get a reply. It’s also worth going out into the wilderness and striking up conversations, responding to queries where you can provide the right knowledge, and generally being and up-standing webizen.
Hangouts too can be a big draw. Use them to enrich the communities you engage in, focus on a specific long-tail keyword topic for bigger audiences, and answer a question at the heart of your communities. You can also use hangouts as part of a recruitment drive, for conducting interviews with noted influencers, or hosting Q&As around your products.
These sorts of things are the crux of content marketing and will take up significant wells of your time – BUT, and it’s a big but, the SEO impact of your content marketing strategy cannot be underestimated. The future is all about getting stuff out there and maximising interactions to draw up a substantial weight of authority.
Weighing up the cost of Google+
Stats from Nielsen point to much smaller active user figures than Facebook – Only 29 million active US users monthly, spending a total time of around 7 minutes on the platform over the month. This is pretty bad news for Google+. Yet, if we look at the ‘interaction’ study above, it does suggest that a small minority of users do active use it, and are very heavy users indeed.
So, here’s the list of business benefits:
- Google+ links with personalised search
- Google+ has greater SEO benefits than other platforms
- It centralises your Google services, which benefits your performance on Google search results
- It provides a reviewing platform
- You can hangout there
- Direct Connect allows a unique tool to draw audiences to your social page
- A place for community outreach
Importantly, if you do link Google+ with your Analytics you will get a great deal of data that can inform how much time you spend on Google+ and ultimately, whether it’s worth it for your company or not. Small businesses may struggle to get interaction, primarily because the local people you service will probably not be networking there. However, for companies selling products and services to a wider audience it can be beneficial. Ultimately though, use your analytics to ensure that you’re not simply wasting your time.
Want to succeed on social media? Why not utilise the power of our V-AMP video marketing engine to boost engagement, views and fans? If you’ve got video that fails to engage we can transform it into a success. Contact us through e-mail, or through our Twitter or Google+ pages. If it’s more interesting content you’re after, stay tuned on our RSS feed. If you like it share it, or let us know in the comments underneath.
Image copywright: Denis Defreyne, licensed under Creative Commons