Discussing Google+ with business owners can create some interesting reactions and the above question is often one of the first asked.
To answer this we need to ask some more questions:
Doesn’t Facebook and Linkedin do the same sort of thing as Google+?
Many business owners will automatically try to compare Google+ to Facebook and Linkedin.
But this is a totally mistaken endeavour.
Facebook is a social network originally designed for students that allowed them to connect with one another socially, and it is still pretty much the same infrastructure. Businesses try to use Facebook to market B2C (Business to Consumer), but it is not really designed for that.
Linkedin started life as a recruitment aid for businesses and it still runs pretty much with the original infrastructure. Businesses try to use Linkedin to market B2B (Business to Business), but again is not really designed for marketing purposes.
Google+ is built for businesses from its foundations up, both B2C and B2B, it is the internets premiere marketing tool. With Google+ you can market, track activity, advertise, perform split marketing tests, interact with customers and most importantly of all, it is a near perfect tool for inbound marketing.
Google+ is not “just another social media site”, it is the internet's first Social Marketing Site.
When it comes to which platform is the best for marketing your business then Google has already won the fight, it cannot be matched for presence, functionality and penetration in the online marketing arena.
What exactly is Google+ and do I need it?
Google+ can seem a bit like solar panelling in the minds of many, something nice to have but not necessary in the immediate future. Is this true however?
Google+ isn’t solar panelling, it is the nuclear reactor in your Business' online presence. If you want to have power in search, you need Google+.
That being the case, we need to understand Google+ and what exactly Google+ is, and the simplest way I have ever heard it explained is like this:
"Google+ = Google"
Google+ is the hub to which Google connects all of its products and if you have a watchful eye, you will see Google bringing everything from the far flung corners of its internet empire and connecting it to Google+.
It is the centre of their spiders web. It is the destination they want you to arrive at.
From Google+ you can access Google Local, Youtube, Gmail, Drive, Hangouts, Calendar, Image Hosting, Google Business Apps and the list just goes on and on and keeps building.
Why is it the centre, what is it that Google are doing?
They are bringing as much internet tracking as they can under one umbrella, their umbrella, so that they can track peoples usages and habits and then sell advertising to companies that can target peoples interests very specifically.
How do they do this? They do this by providing so much free content that people automatically end up on their platform. Think of Gmail, Drive and the classic example, Google Maps.
Have you ever used Google Maps?
If you did use it, did you pay for using Google Maps? No, because as everyone knows it is totally free, (even if they do not think about that when using it).
This is what Google do very well, they give you lots of free stuff so that you will use their other paid for services. They don’t blackmail you, they don’t demand that you use it and they don’t force you to use it. They instead want to create so much value around their product that you cannot but fail to want to use it.
Which brings us back to Google+, this is where all of the treasures of Googles free services is centered. This is where Google wants you to come to, Google+. Google+ connects everything together in one place and brings the internet users there.
Don’t take my word for it, consider Googles own opinion of it:
"Think of your Google+ page as your brand hub."
Your brand hub, is where you launch your marketing from, it is where you launch your campaign from, it is the centre of the hub...
Does anyone use Google+?
The perception in business networking circles and the idea you hear all the time, is that no one uses Google+. And that is totally incorrect.
Why do I say that?
Google+ has over 359 million active users at time of writing, second only to Facebook, do you know what is third? Youtube. Do you know who owns Youtube? Google, add those two together and what do you have?
Comparing Google+ to Facebook etc is not really valid however, as I hope you will see by the end of the article.
As an aside, did you realise that every Android Smartphone that is now activated requires you to setup a Google+ account. So every new user of the android system is automatically a Google+ user and you realise that Android is the largest mobile operating system out there, right?
Is Google dominant on the internet?
Googles dominance on the internet is massive, a recent quote from an article by deepfield:
“Sometime over the last month, Google quietly broke an Internet record. Based on measurements of end device and user audience share, Google is now bigger than Facebook, Netflix and Twitter combined.”
Google handles more traffic than all the others mentioned above combined.
And that is quite amazing.
But here is the thing, many people mistakenly believe that Google+ is hardly used. What they have not realised is that 89% of all traffic on the internet in the UK for instance goes through Google.
Remember, Google+ = Google.
But the real secret is in the passive and active user usage.
What are passive and active users?
Google+ has “passive” and “active” users. Both these sets of users are exposed to Google+ on a daily basis, passive users unknowingly and active users knowingly.
Passive users are fed Google+ information even if they do not make use of the Google+ platform for personal use. Active users engage with Google+ and are very aware of their engagement.
And this is where we really need to pay attention...
Every time someone performs a search on Google, they are fed Google+ data explicitly. Whether they are passively or actively engaging with Google, they are engaging with Google+.
Want to see the evidence of this?
Search for a query like: “unblocking a sink” and you will see the following results returned in the search results:
Now have a good look at the search return and you will see that Rich Hudson gains instant credibility from having his image next to his post. Really interesting isn't it, do you know where that image and information comes from?
You are seeing his Google+ profile in search results. You are also seeing his Google+ data in the results, the only way you can get that type of exposure is by making proper use of your Google+ profile.
Another aside, it is claimed by many that having your image like this in search will increase your click through rate quite dramatically and that makes sense, because the post with the image looks much better than the one without, much more appealing.
Back to the subject at hand, as we consider another example of Google+ exposure, this time through Google local search. Local search is where a customer looks for a local business to fulfil a need on Google, a simple search for "restaurant peterborough" will generate a local search.
When a local search return is delivered by Google, all the information in the local search result (seen below) takes you straight back to the businesses Google+ Business Page, if you have one set-up.
As an example all the information found in the following image for the Royal China Restaurant is hosted on Google+:
The Royal China Google+ presence in this example is the largest and most dominant presence in the local search results, so dominant that you do not even need to go to the company website to get in touch with the business, think about that for a moment...
This is the same for Youtube video search results, below you can see the youtube video return which will also link back to the Google+ Business Page from the Youtube Channel:
So we begin to see how much Google+ content is influencing search when we watch it carefully. Whether you are engaged passively or actively, you are engaging with Google+ content.
Google is drawing people to Google+ and presenting Google+ to everyone at every opportunity.
Sounds interesting, what do I do next?
Now is the time to take advantage of this and get your business embedded in Google+ before your competition does.
To get found on Google, you have to engage with Google+ in a professional and deliberate manner.
Businesses cannot ignore it as it will not go away, it is indeed, here to stay and is vital to any business' internet marketing strategy if they want traffic from Google search.
You can of course spend hours and hours trying to figure out how to create a good Google+ presence, but if you want it done professionally, cost effectively and to a standard that sets you apart from the competition, then you might need some help.
This is where we step in, we have developed the Google+ Business Package, which will set you up on Google+ and allow you to use Google+ the way it is supposed to be used.
It enables you to get found on Google, stand out from the crowd and to take control of your marketing.
It is a unique product that delivers high quality content that enables you to present yourself as an expert in your field and gain credibility through the marketing techniques we will share.
If you would like more information, please visit the link here:
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