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15 May 2014 Written by  Julie Joseph

5 Reasons to get on Google+ for your business

Google+ has been reported as being the next big thing by a number of people, but a lot of business managers still fail to understand how it would help their business and haven't the time or inclination to learn yet another new social network or marketing platform. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider Google+ as marketing, relationship management and networking tool

1. Social Search – This is when a search engine factors in the social footprint of the searcher initiating the search query into the results. Most customers will have 5-30 touch points before making a sale so you need to do all you can to facilitate these. A great way is to appear with relevant information when they search. Even if they have followed you on G+ or another network they are likely just to type something in to Google rather than go back through social feeds. Increase the chances of your products and services appearing, when relevant, with a G+ page rich in content.

2. Power – Google is a very powerful company and they are taking G+ seriously. "Google + is Google itself. We're extending across all that we do – search, ads, chrome, android, maps, youtube – so that all of those services contributes to our understanding of who you are" said by Bradley Horowitz, VP Products at G+. Don't underestimate the future of G+ as the glue connecting the rest of Google together.

3. Reach – As of February 2014 G+ had over 540 million users. Yes, this is because of the usage of Gmail but people are becoming more interested by G+ and realising it's potential for personal and professional engagement so this is only set to increase. Whilst a lot of usage is US right now, UK and global usage is on the increase and will continue to rise.

4. Engagement levels – According to Forrester Research, Google is also catching up Facebook in terms of user interactions. In a recent study, brands' Google Plus posts generated nearly as much engagement per follower as their Facebook posts — and almost twice as much engagement per follower as their Twitter posts. They may not be online as frequently but when they are online they are engaging and that is better than people who are online a lot but not paying much attention anyway. Think quality not quantity here.

5. Flexibility – there are a huge number of ways that you can share your content on Google+. The way in which circles (contact lists) are set up means that you can manage personal and professional relationships from one place. You can engage with individuals or prospects or friends or brand advocates. You can have people in multiple circles so a colleague and friend can get both the professional stuff and the things you wouldn't want the rest of the office to know. Or you can create geographic circles to do individual store / branch promotions...or both!

Oh and one last thing – the killer app is Hangouts. Use this to have personal face to face meetings with up to 10 people or to do a Hangout on Air where you broadcast it publicly (with a limited number of speakers) and then it gets saved to your YouTube channel for future viewing!

If you would like to know more about Google+, you can start by getting a Google account – or use your existing one. Then set up a business page, or use your Google Local G+ page if you have that set up already. You can also use your personal profile and start connecting with people. A good place to start is the Business Buzz Herts community which has recently launched.

If you'd like to know more, there is an upcoming workshop 'The how and why of getting started with Google+' on 20th May which had great reviews last time it ran.
Julie Joseph is The Virtual Marketeer and has over 20 years sales and marketing experience. She is a Marketing Consultant and Mentor working with businesses across Hertfordshire and running a number of marketing events.

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