Remember when you were a child and your mother told you to stop doing something? As you got older you probably started answering back: “But why can’t I do it?” And you probably heard this response on several occasions: “Because I said so.” So, why should your business be on Google+? It should be on Google+ because Google says so.
There are other reasons for being on Google+ (see below), but the fact remains that it is Google’s own social media network, so if you need Google, you need Google+ – because Google said so.
Play By The Rules
Google is totally committed to its social media platform, Google+. This has resulted in a lot of integration with its other products, including search. This trend is going to continue.
But what does this mean in practice? For a start it means that Google is including the “signals” it sees on Google+ to help it rank a website in search. This means the search engine will recognize your website as an authority if you have lots of +1s (the Google+ equivalent to a Facebook Like) and shares through Google+.
They also now allow people to use hashtags. These work the same as they do on Twitter, but it is their integration into search that’s interesting. Users can (and do) type hashtags into Google Search (for example, #ipage). Results from other social media networks are displayed but Google+ results are given a higher profile on the page.
Then there is Authorship. This is a useful tool that’s gaining a lot of traction around the web. It works by connecting you to every piece of content you produce on the internet and gives you credit for that work. The more you produce and the better it’s received by your audience (as judged by +1s and shares), the higher authority you’ll be given as an author. And Google has heavily hinted that authors with higher authority will rank higher in search results than those with little or no authority.
And how do you manage Authorship? You do it through your Google+ account.
The other benefits of Google+ happens because it’s actually quite a good social network. It came to the party later than Facebook and Twitter and watched the things they did well, and the ways they did not communicate well:
Hangouts – Hangouts are a great tool for small businesses. They allow you to setup up group discussions by either video or chat with up to 10 people, all from the comfort of your computer.
Circle and Communities – These are a great way to engage with users and target your messages.
Google Local – This is perfect for local businesses and allows you to be found easier in search results. And make sure your business is on Google Maps.
Edit Images – Anyone who knows anything about social media will know visual posts work better than text-only posts. Google+ makes it easier to make your images look great with its own built-in editor.
As a social network that people use every day use, Google+ still has a long way to go to catch up with Facebook. But it is building and it is becoming more popular. In addition it is increasingly being used by Google to help decide where to rank business websites in search results. So, is Google+ important for your business? You bet it is.