Google+ has had a bit of a hard time of it since it was launched four years ago. Originally lauded as a serious competitor to the giant blue monolith of Facebook, it has seemed to struggle to gain traction ever since, with a 2014 article in The New York Times branding it a ghost town. Despite the fact that anyone who has a Google account (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t?) automatically has a Google+ page, the network does not appear to receive anything like the footfall of its arch rival.
Statistics show that Facebook enjoys in excess of one billion current active users whilst Google+ lags behind with a comparatively paltry 300 million. Also, 2013 data from third party measuring firm Nielsen, suggested that, whilst Facebook users spent an average of 6hours and 15 minutes on the site (and just shy of seven hours on the mobile application) in a month, Google+ users only spent an average of between 7 and 11 minutes on that network.
However, it cannot be ignored that Google+ is still the third most actively populated social network in existence and many people applaud the value of its photo features and its video chat service – Hangouts. There is also something to be said for the way in which Google+ brings together all of Google’s services and products into one all-encompassing package.
With that in mind here are our reasons on why you should be using Google+ in your marketing strategy.
Google+ is actually a very successful platform when it comes to brand engagement. Data from Forrester Research showed that Google+ posts resulted in nearly twice as much engagement from fans as those on Twitter and only just fell short of Facebook’s. Whilst Twitter boasts significantly more users than Google+, it does appear that when it comes to brands, Google+ may be the preferred choice for users and is certainly comparable to Facebook.
Google+ Activity can Impact on your Search Rankings
SEO is a massive part of every company’s online marketing strategy these days. Finding ways to get your website to crawl up the Google rankings until it has reached the much coveted first page is the goal of any web savvy business. Few people look beyond those first two pages of results, so getting your website up there is of utmost importance to your online successes.
Not many people know this but posting and sharing on Google+ can have an immediate effect on your search engine visibility. This is because Google uses information from a company’s Google+ page to help to determine their search engine ranking.
Google+ Users have more Money than other Networks’ Users
Well, maybe not all of them, but there is some evidence to suggest that the average Google+ user has a higher income that those on other social networks. Obviously there are no guarantees, but logic suggests that you would do well to target people who have more money available than those at the lower end of the socio-economic status charts.
Alternatively, it may be that your business deals in high end luxury products or services. In this case it would make even more sense to aim your strategy at the places where the people who can afford to avail themselves of your business are the most active.
Integration with Other Google Services and Products
One of the great things about Google is the shear wealth of services that it offers. Business owners and marketers love the fact that they can leverage all of these integrated services with one another with ease. Whether it’s Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, Google Play or YouTube, having all of these tools specifically designed to interact with one another makes a marketer’s life significantly easier and more productive.
Effective use of Google+ Communities can build trust and strong relationships with your targeted audiences. Create focused groups and align them with your brand, product or service and enjoy decent interaction with the customers that you want to target.
Not only that, but you can use your Google+ profile to join other communities, whether they be run by individuals or other businesses. This sort of interaction has the potential to even further expand you brand’s awareness and the reach of your marketing efforts. With a bit of luck, you could even go viral and watch users from all around the world flock to you.
The main advantage of promoting your corporate events through Google+ Events compared to Facebook Events, is the integration with other Google services. By adding updates through Gmail and Google Calendar and leveraging these systems, you can keep your guests informed of all updates and changes to your events.
You can also use Google+’s grouping system to target exactly who you need to invite to your event. Whether it be individual users or whole groups of people, Google+ allows you to easily target exactly the people who you think will be interested in what you have planned.
You may have your business sights set on a national or global marketplace, but don’t forget that you can also promote your business locally using Google. You can put up a business page complete with everything potential customers will need to get informed about your services. Contact details, photos, user reviews, location and more can all help to show your local community that you are a great choice for whatever products or services you are offering.
Interaction from local people, whether it be reviews or photos etc. will help you to show that you are a trusted business that values feedback from your customers. Google Maps integration will also ensure that anyone making a local search for businesses offering your services will be aware of who you are, where you are and what your customers think of you.
Google+ is a great tool for connecting you to that global audience that you have your sights set on. Whilst it’s true that Facebook has an enormous globe spanning user base, its one disadvantage is that its reach is limited to the social network domain.
However, the advantage that Google+ has over Facebook is that it is connected to everything that Google is connected to. This allows you to potentially connect to anyone who is using any of Google’s myriad products or services, not least of all the search engine.
Be sure to leverage the power of the +1 button as well. The more people click it on your page, the better your chances of being included in the searches that your global soon-to-be customers are making.
Google+ Messaging is better than Facebook’s
By easily allowing you to group various contacts together, Google+ makes messaging a much better option for digital marketers to leverage for business. You can communicate different information to different groups and ensure that you content reaches its intended audience directly. This has clear advantages over sending mass messages to all and sundry, regardless of whether they are your target demographic or not.
Far and away they best tool available broadcasting your business webinars, Hangouts is a service that nobody should ignore. Other Webinar tools can be prohibitively expensive, but Hangouts allows you broadcast real-time conference calls, whether it be to prospective clients or customers, or for employees and team members, for free with anyone with a Google+ account, which as already discussed, is pretty much everybody.
Umm, it’s Google!
This one should be fairly self-explanatory. Google is an absolute giant and nothing but good things can come from leveraging it in any which way you can for your marketing purposes. From search result optimisation, to the dozens of different tools and services they offer, mastering Google can often be the key to business success.
Well, we hope that we have somewhat convinced you that Google+ should be a core component of your digital marketing strategy. On the surface it may appear to be a second-stringer and a poor man’s Facebook, but as we have demonstrated that is simply not the case. By bringing all of Google’s powerful tools together, Google+ has the potential to turn your business into a digital tour de force if used correctly.
Gary Smith, Markitwrite