By Hannah Marr
Google Plus, also known as Google+ or simply G+, is the search giant Google’s very own social network. If you’ve heard of it, you may not have one; if you have one, you may not even use it. Despite being a little over a year old, Google+ has not yet reached the epic-ness of other social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but those who overlook it will soon find themselves drowning in a huge vat of regret.
If you’re a not-so-technically-savvy small business owner, you may be having a tough enough time managing the social media accounts you already have. In fact, many small businesses do not have a social presence at all, whether it is because owners don’t have the time or know how to do it themselves, or don’t have the resources to hire a social media manager, or because they simply believe that it’s not worth it. If you fall into one of these categories, keep reading: you are putting your business at a major disadvantage, and I’m about to tell you why.
Google+ is the Fastest Growing Social Network – Ever
The first site that you should utilize when beginning the social media campaign for your small business is undoubtedly Facebook. This is because it is the largest and most popular social media site, boasting over 1 billion users as of October 2012. However, despite many Facebooker’s scoffs when Google+ was first unveiled, more and more people are adding it to their already long list of social sites they are involved in. In fact, it took only 16 days for the social network to reach 10 million users (compared to 780 for Twitter, and 852 for Facebook). As Google+ continues to grow, it will increasingly become a more and more important site in terms of search visibility, site traffic, and the overall growth of your small business.
Search Engine Optimization
Perhaps the most important reason why small businesses need to be involved in Google+ is for its affect on search engine optimization. Because Google+ is a project of Google, the largest search engine on the planet, it comes as no surprise that social sharing on Google+ would have an impact on SEO. While likes, shares, re-tweets, and follows on Facebook and Twitter do have some positive impact on SEO, it’s unclear as to how much impact they really have. We do know, however, that +1′s and shares on Google+ will directly impact a users Google search if they are signed into their Gmail or Google+ account while searching.
Google+ is Full of Early Adopters and Influencers
According to Christina Strickland, Co-Founder of Smart Savvy Social, if you take a close look at active community on Google+, you will find that many are influencers in their specific community. “This presents a business opportunity,” says Strickland, “in that small businesses can align themselves with those influencers and have the ability to cultivate those relationships in a less crowded space.” While it is possible to build a relationship with influencers on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, the task is much more difficult because there are thousands of others trying to build relationships with the same people. However, with Google+, many have not made the jump yet, and so building relationships becomes much more genuine. And, with the added search benefits of Google+, this can create huge visibility for your business with minimal effort.
Although these are only a few of many reasons why small businesses should hop on the Google+ train, it is very clear to search engine optimizers and social media managers that Google+ is the social network of the future. As Google continues to make changes to the platform, more users are expected to join and become active on the site. And, because of it’s huge effect on SEO, it is going to become more valuable than social networks such as Facebook and Twitter overtime. So, if your small business is still lacking a Google+ page, it’s time to make Google+ a part of your overall social media strategy.
Hannah Marr is the Content Director for BizBrag, an (http://www.bizbrag.com) online social media management and search engine optimization platform. Hannah is a graduate of Washington College in Chestertown Maryland, and while not spending time learning about search engine optimization and social media. Hannah enjoys reading, writing, and playing frisbee. See also http://www.bizbrag.wordpress.com .