3 Reasons Google Plus Can’t Be Ignored

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Are you still deciding whether it’s worth investing in Google Plus?

If you work in social media, chances are you’re already on it because …well, that’s your job. If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely one of the millions who signed on during the hype, got dizzy going around in “circles” then abandoned it, leaving your page to lie there like a dead leaf on wet pavement.

GooglePlus

The number one Google+ question I get is not:

“How do I get started on Google+?”

Nope. It’s… “Do we really need another social media platform”?

Do we really need another type of tablet, smartphone, or toothpaste?

Ok, maybe not so much toothpaste.

Many say they don’t spend time on Google Plus because their clients aren’t there.

I say…”yet”.

How many of your clients were on Twitter a year after it started?

And unless your clients were university students, they probably weren’t on Facebook either.

Google Plus isn’t a small start-up with it’s beginnings in a student dorm or SXSW hallway.

It was developed by a company that owns 2 of the biggest search engines in the world; Google and YouTube and who have very deep pockets.

A year and a half after its debut, nearly 450 million people are now signed on to Google+.

Unlike its precursors, Buzz or Wave, Google Plus is not a social platform.

Google Plus is GOOGLE.

“Google+ is just an upgrade to Google,” says Vic Gundotra, senior Vice President Engineering for Google. “People have a hard time understanding that. I think they like to compare us  with other social competitors, and they see us through that lens instead of really seeing what’s happening: Google is taking its amazing products, and by bringing them together, they just become more awesome.”

As Mike Elgan puts it, Google took its various products and turned them into features of Google+, rather than treating Google+ as a standalone social network.

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Google+ 

1. Social Networking

Networking on Google+ is more like Twitter than Facebook. You can stalk, uh, follow anyone you want without their permission. The advantage over Twitter is that the platform allows limitless text and integrates with rest of Google.
Tip: Find and follow people who share interests (not necessarily DNA or school colours). A good source is Google+ Shared Circles. You can also circle your Gmail contacts who will receive a notification and then can decide to circle you back or not. Regardless, you can still share content with them from G+. They’ll just receive it in their mailbox instead

Video: Find People You Know

PDF: Getting Started with Google+ for Business

G+ Post: How to Interact Well on Google+

Google Plus

2. Content Marketing

Creating valuable and sharable content improves your Google search ranking as well as your brand recognition and influence.

Because of it’s reach and palette of features, some writers have chosen to use Google+ as their blogging platform. Although I always advocate having your own piece of internet real estate, they  make a good case.

Tip: Take advantage of all the content creation tools that Google+ offers including images, video and Hangouts. A major advantage of Google+ is that you can do this all on the same platform.

Video: Formatting your posts with bold, italic and strikeout text

Blog Post:Why I blog on Google+ (And how)

G+ Post: How to Participate in Hangouts and Hangouts On Air

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The top reason businesses stake a claim on Google+ is because of the perceived SEO benefits of being on Google property. The assumption is true – to a point.

You can’t just set up a Google+ Page then walk away expecting to rank #1 in search for your keywords.

Google has made it relatively easy though for you to optimize your chances of doing just that with G+ badges for your website and AuthorRank (rel=author) to improve.

Tip: One of the best ways to optimize your Google+ presence for SEO is to make sure your Profile Page is complete and filled with “keyword” rich texts.

Video: How to Create a Google Plus Business Page in Under 3 Minutes

Blog post: 10 Dead Simple Tips to Take Advantage of Google+ for SEO

G+ post: Why Is There a Search Boost for Businesses on G+?

Google Plus

In closing, I’d like to share this video just released from a Google+ friend of mine, Martin Shervington who was the first to invite me to a public Hangout and who has since helped many “newbies” get “plussed”.

Everything you need to know about Google Plus but were afraid to ask!

What’s your biggest Google+ challenge? Please leave a comment below!

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Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. He's a believer in the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking. Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus on his blog: NewRayCom.com. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and freelancers. Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.
Ray Hiltz

@newraycom

Social Strategist. Tweet recipe; mix generous portions social media & Google Plus into marketing batter. Cover w/ personal observations & bake. Share when done.
: Mark Schaefer Explains Why We're Failing Social http://t.co/vg7K8aNgwr - 3 hours ago
Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz
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Comments

  1. I enjoy and like G+ and it's format, much! It allows, as you have shared, more flexibility in how you can present content and freedom to direct the audience. It gets some of our fragmented attention (lol). Good information Ray!

    • Thanks, Randy
      I think people are a bit quick to write it off and I can understand that as a lot of people have invested a lot in Facebook.
      If we stop thinking of it as a Facebook challenger and more like a Google app, I think people will find room for it in their toolbox.

  2. Kittie Walker says:

    Great post Ray, lots of very useful information to get people started. I'm a big admirer of Google and G+ is a great platform for all the reason you mentioned. Like Randy though I only spend a fraction of my time there at the moment. I hope to realign that in the new year.

  3. Mark Longbottom says:

    Interesting post good information, but G+ cannot be compared with Twitter or Facebook when they started. It's 2012 and four years and seven years on the world is such a different place as is the internet. That said if G+ is a place to be it seems to be hard to convince teh real people who are using the internet around 2 billion or more people have access and they don't seem to be talking about it or interested in it.

    Time will tell, as you quoted the similarities between other platforms it would seem over this past year more people have talked about growth on Pinterest, Instagram and Linked In than they have on G+. None of these platforms make people open profiles when opening another profile on something like You Tube either. I know too many people who have accounts but never used them.

    All that may or may not change, as may the fact that those not using G+ are still being found on search engines regardless of G+ activity.

    Next big thing, peopel talking as ever but waht will they be talking about?

  4. Thanks Ray for doing this post. Really good rational explaining why G+ should be part of your social media repertoire. And, great information here on how to get started as well.

  5. Sean Fleming says:

    Interesting read, Ray. I wrote something about this a few days ago – "Google+ … like the internet only with a gun to your head". http://seanfleming.com/google-like-the-internet-o

    Your third reason is spot on.

    But it's more a case that Google is forcing businesses to follow the path it is building. There are more changes coming that will compound this, plus a load of unintended consequences that won't, in my opinion, make the internet a better place.

  6. Interesting post, Sean. And lots of things I would enjoy discussing with you.
    You bring up a couple of things about G+ that I hear often: the first being that it sucks as a social platform.
    I think your experience on the platform depends on how you network and who you network with. As I mention in my post, Google+ was not designed simply as a social platform, but as a social net stretching across all the Google properties to gather the personal information in needed to compete with Facebook for advertising.
    I use it as much as an productivity tool as I do for social networking.
    Which brings me to the second point:
    "There are no real people here." –
    Perhaps we're talking to different people. I regularly engage with people representing all kinds of interests and careers. My Google+ circles are full of 'real' people.
    / But it is true that there are a lot of social media, techies and geeks on the site. This group are always early adopters for new technologies ex Twitter.
    Appreciate your feedback, thanks.

  7. Im a blogger, and there are things i agree that traffic and exposure can be huge when you post blogs at Google+ directly, but at the same time, it feels like you are promoting your own identity as a brand (website) less and less? because you are driving traffic to your Google+ page, not your website (blog), if this is the case, there is no need to have your own website anymore? Its just my thoughts and questions… For me, I like the flexibility of formatting my own blog the way i want it, add columns, remove columns, add links, etc and be its own identity.. I do like Google+ a lot, so many great features, i like that i can link my blog to my corresponding Google+ page

    • For the reason you stated, I don't advise dropping your own website and as flexible G+ is in terms of formatting, it doesn't come close to what you can do on your own site.
      The plus side of Google (pun intended :-) is that unless your a blogging rock star, you reach potential on G+ is far larger than on your own bog.
      The challenge is to tap into that and use G+ to send traffic to your site.
      It's not easy as people are reluctant to leave the site they're on (as with any platform) so you g=have to make it worthwhile by offering something they can't get there. This could be as simple as the rest of your post or an e-book or some other offer.
      It takes time, but the more you post on G+, the more people will circle you and one of the ways they decide to circle you is by checking your profile page which hopefully has your wegsite link on it.
      I usually check a person's blog when deciding to circle or not.
      Thanks for your feedback. (Love doggies – have a Bearded Collie :-)

    • I've been using G+ since July 2011 and it's been a wonderful place. The engagement from the dog world is not there yet, but the connections that can be made are really pretty incredible. We've done filmwork, been on TV in LA, Missouri & Romania and also made the G+ Hangout commercial.

      Since I started using hangouts for classes, I've toyed with the idea that I would be better off just jumping on in on G+ and reducing my focus on our own web property – http://pvybe.com – our site is really cool, and it's a great feather in our cap, but it's a lot of work. The simplicity of G+ as a blogging platform is intriguing. The connection with Blogger is as well – love that dynamic layout – content is king, right?

      WP and our own site is a lot of work.

      But until the API is fully released and YT and the rest of Google's suite gets rolled into G+, it's not an option. It's just not quite there yet.

  8. Good article but I'm not buying it. I do use G+ every once in a while because I don't see the benefits of it like I do with Twitter/FB. I get that it's Google and Google is Oz but one thing I do not see is "Post to Google+" on my social media software which I use religiously for myself and my clients. I was just chatting with another SM pro and he raised a good point about seeing true ranking results when you log out of Google altogether. Like I said, I'm not a huge fan. I'm there every so often but I choose to focus on what has been shown to work for me and mine.
    Thanks!

    • Appreciate your feedback, D. And yes, everyone is waiting for the release of the API. It will will bring a huge wave of people on board because we social media types love to automate posts – which, I think is why Google is dragging their feet on it.
      I'm a bit ambivalent. While it would make life so much easier to post on third party sites, I don't like that G+ isn't a string of shared links like we see on Twitter.
      Thanks again.

  9. I realize that it's important to have a strong and prominent presence in social media on various social networks. I actually drive most of my traffic to my blog through social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook). I do have a Google+ profile, but I must admit, I don't use it as much as I probably should.

    I agree that there may be some potential to get more exposure and traffic through Google+ and I plan to explore this sometime in the future, but I don't think I'll be doing so soon. The current social platforms that I use are working rather well for me for the time being.

    Thanks for sharing this post with us on BizSugar. I appreciate it.

    Ti

  10. As a social marketer with hundreds of clients and on G+ pretty much since day 1, my opinion: it's lame.
    Until there is any kind of consumerism it will remain lame. I do not know of really anyone who has actually utilized G+ to attain a new client or strategic partnership. G+ fits somewhere between LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter…and that isn't always good.
    With time of the essence, and people already so vested in the other sites, G+ is an afterthought. It could change in time, but as of now, it is rarely a part of any social media marketing strategy.
    As well, when I speak at universities or colleges, or work with the 20 somethings etc…I try to ask what sites very one is by raise of hands etc. Out of 100 students, typically 2 or 3 are on G+. This does not bode well for future engagement.

  11. Daniel Hebert says:

    You know, after watching the performance of your post Ray, you've totally convinced me of the POWER of Google+ – especially for a resource based website like ours. Thanks for the insights, and hoping to learn more from you in future posts! :)

    • Thanks, Daniel. Appreciate that and always happy to share what I can. As I mentioned in an above reply, I don't work for Google and have no invested interest other than as an application, I find a lot of potential there that people miss out on because they're fixated on comparing to FaceBook and other social media platforms.

  12. I've been asking this question since Google + was launched "Do we really need another social media platform?" and you've given the best answer for that. Thanks Ray for your informative post!

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