This was originally published on the 60 Second Marketer as a guest blog post, and has since been updated.
Google Plus launched this summer and was quickly off to record-breaking numbers… 10 million members (while still in Beta phase) in 30 days! (More stats here) Those of us lucky enough to be invited dove right in… after all, we had to see the latest and greatest and newest social network, and if it came from Google, it had to be great… right????
Should You Bother with Another Social Network?
Many of my friends fell in love with Google Plus… So many cool features! It created new social media vocabulary (hang-outs, circles, sparks)! It was a combination of Twitter and Facebook! It was… yes, yes, we’ve all heard people proclaiming it the greatest thing EVAH!
And yet I couldn’t get into it. Obviously, I needed to be aware of it, given my profession. Yet to me, it was just another social network that I had to maintain and follow. Was it really worth the bother?
Apparently, I wasn’t alone in these feelings. Google Plus ended the Beta phase around the time of the f8 conference and their membership skyrocketed (a mass migration of discontented Facebook users), but then growth leveled out. Apparently, everybody wanted to check out Google Plus, but people weren’t really using it. Then, I found this flow chart on BreakingCopy.com which spoke volumes:
Brand pages were released about one month ago, and I found myself pondering this question again… is it worth it? I think the answer is YES.
Reasons Businesses Should Set Up G+ Brand Pages
(1) SEO, SEO, SEO! – In the words of Mari Smith, “Google owns search.” While search engines are only now starting to measure the depth of activity on a Facebook page, Google obviously monitors activity and relevant keywords on a Google Plus brand page. This can only help to improve a business’ Search Engine Optimization, especially if you connect it to your existing Google Places page.
(2) Integration with All Other Google Products – Just imagine if your beloved Facebook page could be completely integrated with 10 other functions? G+ is. Your Google+ brand page is entwined with the following:
- Google Analytics
- Google Docs
- Google Reader
(3) Tracking – Facebook had to create tracking metrics from the ground up, and is constantly tweaking them through Facebook Insights. But Google already has Google Analytics in place.
Those of you with a blog being tracked by Google Analytics know the metrics are pretty impressive. Can you imagine if that same analytical power was brought to your social network? Google Plus is also rolling out “Ripples” (yet another term in the social media lexicon!) which show how a post is being shared across the Internet.
(4) More Tools – If you’re a person who really appreciates the nifty gadgets offered by Google Plus, imagine how you can harness those tools on your brand page! For example, you could set up a video hang-out (video chat room) for 9 other people. Here’s a trivia question: Who was first person to hold a hang-out on Google Plus? Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas!
(5) Highly Targeted Posts – Can you imagine being able to post some content only for certain groups of fans? This is possible on Google+. Let’s say you’ve set up circles for your Google+ customers/fans, based on location. You could publish a post saying, “We’re offering a special day to our customers only in the Tucson area.” Then, you could select that this post be published for those in the Tucson circle. Guess what? Only the people in the Tucson circle would see it. Facebook offers this feature with their “Lists” function, but it hasn’t been used quite as much. While you’re at it, would you mind adding Project Social to your circle? Click here.
(6) Your company will be seen as “on the cutting edge.” Because the company pages are just getting started, your company has the opportunity to be seen as a trailblazer. Go ahead, add that cool “Google Plus” icon to your site and put it right next to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can even post the same content on all of your social networks (and as soon as Hootsuite adds Google Plus to its functionality, I can do it via automation). It still shows your fans that your company is “with it.”
(7) More SEO – I know I already mentioned this. Just wanted to make sure you remembered… a Google Plus brand page improves SEO.
So what are you waiting for?