Google+ (popularly referred as Google Plus or G+) is having a birthday! Launched on June 28th, 2011, the social networking platform owned and operated by the search engine giant Google will soon be one year old. While still relatively new, it has already acquired more than 170 million users (as of April, 2012). Here we take a look at some of the existing ways to use, advertise on, and grow your business with Google+.
Business Uses for Google+
The launch of Google+ was an effort by Google to tap into the immense potential social networking for business. Therefore, Google kept business advertising in mind when developing features. Some of the most popular ways to put Google+ to work for your professional needs:
Use the Google +1 button – This feature is similar to the Facebook like button. The +1 button can be placed just about everywhere. Some important places for you to incorporate the +1 button are on website pages, blogs, and Adwords ads. Using the +1 button, visitors to pages can +1 the content to show that they like it. A +1 on your business website pages directly impacts search engine rankings. The number of Google+ interactions on a page holds significance in search results algorithms and can help your website gain additional visibility.
Participate in Hangouts – Google+ hangouts is easily one of the most business friendly features offered by any of the social networking platforms. People can conference with up to ten Google+ users at a time using voice and video. Hangout participants can also share their screens, watch YouTube videos together, or use the chat functionality to exchange information. This is a one of a kind feature that has the potential to become a valuable business communication tool for many. The fast setup, ease of use, and wide range of support makes Google+ hangouts ideal for long distance business meetings, multi-site collaborations, and remote sales presentations.
Make Use of Circles – Using Google+ circles, people can quickly organize their contacts into groups and is similar to the lists feature of Facebook. The added benefit of Google+ Circles over Facebook lists is ease of use and management. You only need to drag a person to add them to a relevant circle. This feature allows you to easily control the way you share information on Google+. You may have one circle for co-workers, for example, where you share company specific information. You can then use an entirely different circle for clients, and group them into different interests, sharing product information with one group of contacts while excluding others who may not be as interested.
Edit Posts – One of the most useful advantages Google+ has over Facebook is the ability to edit a post after publishing. In Facebook, you can delete a post that has errors but you cannot delete it. In Google+, you can edit the text of a post after it has been made live and you can also disable commenting on individual status updates. This makes it easier for you to correct spelling mistakes or add updated information to popular posts after the fact.
Get Local – For local businesses and service providers, it is very easy to make your company visible to customers living nearby. To help promote your business locally, Google+ provides Google Local, a merge of Google Places and Google+ pages. Create a Google+ page for your local business, enter in your correct address, and your Google+ business page will show up whenever people nearby search for you on Google or in Google Maps. You can also create a Google+ badge for your website and use Google+ direct connect to create quick and direct engagements with people.
Enhance Performance in Search Results – Recommendations are perhaps the most powerful Google+ feature for business, combining the +1 button for pages and Google local pages. Whenever someone searches for a particular keyword and one of their contacts has recommended any particular link matching with the search term, the linked page is more likely to appear high in the results. As a result, business recommendations via Google+ have become an effective way to generate word of mouth testimonials online. Since Google+ recommendations affect the search algorithm, using Google+ is an excellent way for you to drive more traffic to your website and gain visibility.
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