Google+ launched as an initiation-only “field test” in June 2011, and was designed to be the social extension of Google for gathering information on users and their social connections in order to improve other services such as Google search . Within the first three weeks of its launch, Google+ attracted 20 million users (ComScore, July 2011). In April 2012 Google reported 170 million users, an 80 million gain from January 2012. Based on a sample set of 100,445 Google+ Profiles, males account for 69.4 percent of users and females account for 29.2 percent of users. In June 2012 Google+ captured the 5th position in the top 10 Social Media Websites.
Google+ is an excellent way to communicate and interact with your followers. The unique ‘Circles’ feature allows you to organize like-minded people into groups for optimal, organized sharing. Content is not beneficial unless it is relevant to your consumers; this is where the Google+ group messaging app, ‘Messenger,’ comes into play. Messenger eliminates noise by letting you share relevant content with individual Circles, which is beneficial when targeting multiple audiences with different interests and needs. This shows users that you value your customers by taking the time to identify their individual interests, while establishing a positive perception of your brand and building customer relationships.
Not too long ago, Google introduced a new ‘local’ tool which allows users to share and find information about nearby places. When searching for a business through the ‘Local’ tab, a Google+ page will appear with photos, Zagat scores, reviews from people in your circles and other basic information including addresses, phone numbers, Website URLs, business hours and more. Zagat scores are based on user reviews and appear on a 0 to 30 point scale. Take advantage of Google+ Local to share your local experiences with other users. Don’t be shy – write reviews, upload photos, and share on Google+; people want to hear your opinion. You can also get opinions and recommendations based on your own reviews that you’ve written or from top reviewers and people in your circles. If you found a review helpful, be sure to thank that person for their suggestion! After all, genuine interaction is the best way to build customer relationships.
To all Google+ users: have you noticed your Google+ page inching closer to the top of the Google SERP (search engine results page)? Hopefully you have! With the new updates to Google’s algorithms, Google+ pages, along with content that has received +1s, are receiving increased visibility in Google search results. The +1 feature also helps you to build your reputation by having users publicly recommend and share your content. This alone should be enough incentive to create a Google+ account; not to mention the estimated 170 million users that your brand will be exposed to.
Although not the primary benefit of Social Media Marketing, there is the potential for increased Website traffic via Social Media channels. Considering the amount, and frequency, of content sharing across the web, there is a good chance of receiving traffic to your site. Google’s +1 feature makes it much more convenient for users to share information and the likelihood of reaching the top of the SERPS becomes greater with every +1 to your content and pages. In fact, HubSpot reports that Websites that use the +1 button receive 3.5 times the amount of Google+ visits over sites that do not use the +1 button (HubSpot, August 2011). So be sure to place that +1 button on every article and Blog post you put out for the world to see!
Search Engine Optimization
Creating a Google+ account is a step in the right direction to increasing your search engine rankings on Google! Linking your Google+ profile to your content and your pages with the +1 button is an excellent way to manage your brand as well as promote your content for SEO purposes. We have seen significant correlations between search visibility and active, optimized Google+ profiles.
Have you created a Google+ account for your brand yet? How are you using this Social Media platform, or what’s holding you back? Let us know by using the #SocialMediaStage on Twitter, posting a comment to our Facebook Page or leaving a comment below!