Let’s face it: there are so many social media options out there that keeping up seems like a daunting task. With the launch of Google+ brand pages you’re probably wondering if you really need to join since you already have a Facebook and a Twitter account (which you already struggle to update regularly). The answer: Yes, yes you do. And you should do it sooner rather than later. Why? Let us explain…
1. You have to claim your official brand page.
Even if you don’t plan to use Google+ all that much, you should claim your page now or someone else will. Mashable’s Todd Wasserman demonstrated just how easy it is to create a brand page by creating a fake one for Coca-Cola. Google does have measure in place to reclaim any ill-created brand pages, but why go through that trouble? Google+ already has over 40 million users representing a potentially giant reach for your brand and simply claiming your page is the first step to realizing that potential.
2. Google+ can aid your SEO efforts.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines without paying for ads or boosts. Google+ posts and status updates are now popping up in organic search results, and they will continue to do so. When someone searches for your brand it’s easier and faster for Google to produce results from within itself (Google+) than from Facebook or Twitter. By using well thought-out key words when updating your site, your brand page posts will increase in the Google ranking system, increasing your Google+ presence, and ultimately increasing traffic to your site. Plus (pun intended), there’s the +1 button you’ve probably been seeing all over the place. Similar to the “Like” button on Facebook, Google+ users have the option of +1ing (yes, that’s what it’s called) anything from brand pages to blog posts to videos. When a someone +1s your brand page, people in their network are able to see that, and whatever content they +1ed is often seen as more relevant. As more and more people +1 your page or posts, they are driven higher and higher in search engine results pages, organically boosting your brand. You want those +1s.
3. Easy as 1-2-3. Google+ is simple to use and brand pages are easy to create.
There is a step-by-step tutorial to guide you through the initial creation of your page as well as a number of sites to answer any questions that arise. Google+ allows you to create visually stunning pages that drive visits and inspire interest with relative ease. A particularly remarkable page is that of Burberry. Their use of clear, colorful images and simple animated gifs creates a striking pages that encourages one to linger – to spend time interacting with the site. The “Circles” feature allows you to share (or hide) your posts with different people. Based on the idea that you don’t want to share everything with everyone, Circles gives you the option of breaking up your contacts into smaller sub-groups and lets you interact with them as you would in real life. You wouldn’t share news about your family with potential clients, and Circles takes that into consideration. You have the ability to micro-target messages for a specific audience; to share the right info with the right people. Additionally, Google+‘s “Hangouts” can host video chats with up to ten people, all in one screen. It’s a great way to connect with your followers and gives you the opportunity to show off your product.
4. The competition is probably far behind.
Being one of the first to really utilize Google+ means that when everyone else jumps on the bandwagon, you’ll be miles ahead. Establishing your presence now has the potential to pay dividends later, when the competition is struggling to keep up and you’re already connected to clients and prospects.
Analysts predict that by the end of 2012 Google+ will have more than 400 million users. Its early growth has outpaced Facebook and every other social media platform. Developing an early understanding of Google+ and all that it entails can only serve to give your business a competitive edge in an ever-changing social world. Claiming your brand, boosting your SEO and beating out the competition are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to benefits the Google+ offers. Take the time to join Google+ now. Experiment. Have fun. And boost your business. But seriously, do it now. Go.