Facebook may be more popular with the younger crowd, but Google+ for business is highly beneficial. And there’s proof. More than one million business and brand pages were created with Google+ in its first six months. According to HubSpot, nearly 50 percent of companies say the social channel is important to their business. It combines features of all the best social media and smartphone apps and then some – all integrated with your favorite Google resources: Gmail, AdWords, Insights, Maps, etc. Here are six ways to use it for your business:
Social annotations – Using Google+ for business is a great way to boost your business’ search engine ranking, especially with the use of social annotations. By linking your Google+ profile to your AdWords campaigns, social annotations allow users to see your endorsements while searching for your business. They are shown in user searches when they’re predicted to improve the performance of your AdWords campaigns. They also show relevant information you’ve posted or shared on your Google+ page. With the aid of this feature, you can average 5 to 10 percent more clicks.
Authorship – Google Authorship is another way to increase ranking. You can link to content you’ve created on other sites, allowing Google to recognize you as the original author. The more original content you author, share and link to on your Google+ page, the higher your search engine rankings. Through Authorship, using Google+ for business increases your chances of driving traffic to your content, and in turn, your business.
Badges – Adding Google+ badges to your business’ website is yet another way to improve your ranking and increase your brand engagement. According to HubSpot, companies with Google+ badges on their websites have grown their audiences by an average of 38 percent. By adding it to your site, you are allowing your visitors to +1 your content, share your posts and follow you on Google+ right from your website. And by accumulating +1s you’re also accumulating more business insight, as Google uses +1s to generate your reports.
Hangouts – The “Hangouts” video chat feature allows you to connect with clients and customers anywhere, anytime. You can connect with up to nine other users at once right through Google+ — no need to mess with conference call numbers. And it does more than just connect ten specific people at one specific time. You can record, stream and share Hangouts so that you and all of your Google+ connections can view videos at a later time. Businesses could use this feature to meet with freelancers, remote staff members or clients. Franchises could use it to host a meeting between two locations. Customers could use it to provide feedback or participate in a question and answer forum.
Communities – With this feature, you can reach a target audience within your connections. You can create an industry or product-specific group in order to provide useful content to your leads and get direct feedback from your customers or even speak with future business partners, thus strengthening any or all of your relationships. You can also use Google+ Communities as a way to raise awareness about your brand, reinforce your brand values and establish your business as a thought-leader.
Insights and Analytics – And of course, Google+ offers integration with Google Insights and Analytics. Google uses your page’s +1s to generate reports about your brand’s popularity. You can also see the impact that Google+ has had on your bottom line by looking at your return-on-investment numbers. The Analytics feature offers social reports that show how the social media channel has influenced your conversion funnel.
In short: using Google+ for business is definitely worth your while. How are you going to use it to your business’ advantage?