How You Can You Use Google+ in Your Small Business
Google+ is making its mark on the social media landscape. You may remember Google’s failed social networking tools orkut, Google Wave and Google Buzz. But Google+ is not in the same category. Google has put all of their energy into creating a site that incorporates all of the best things about their company and it shows. If you are a small business owner, there is definitely a place for you. There are multiple ways you can use Google+ in your business.
Need a Little More Convincing?
Google+ is adding approximately 625 thousand users a day, with 400 million members expected by the end of 2012. That supplies a lot of potential customers who can be reached if you know what you are doing. The way people find products and businesses is changing. They are out there on the web and not always using search engines, so Google+ adds another layer. Google is betting on this one and putting everything behind it.
You may have spent a long time finding new customers the ‘old way’ through Yellow Pages and local newspaper ads, but you need to move to the internet marketing mindset. Facebook has a billion members that’s 1/6 of the world population! There is no question that marketing a small business now requires connecting with people, because people make decisions about what to spend their money on based on referrals from friends and family, as well as their own online research.
When Facebook was new, a common complaint was a fear of oversharing. You may have wanted to share a baby photo with some of your Facebook friends, but not all of them especially colleagues. Google learned from this and came up with the Circles feature on Google+. It allows you to create lists of friends, instead of having one main list that receives all of your updates. You may have a SEO Friends circle, a Mountain Biking circle, or a Family circle that way you control who sees what. Facebook has since devised a similar tool with its own list feature.
According to Don Campbell, social media expert and president of Expand2Web, photographers were one of the first groups to embrace Google+. Campbell was recently a guest on James Martell’saffiliate marketing podcast Coffee Talk. He talked about how photographers connected with the impressive new photo features on Google+. The ability to store high-resolution photos was one of the main attractions. Then photographers brought their customers over to Google+, to continue its growth.
Google acquired Picasa and made major upgrades, obviously influenced by Facebook which became the most powerful way to share photos on the web. Google+ eliminated the 20 MB storage limit and spent time on user interface, making it so easy to upload photos. Business owners can benefit from the improvements too. Photos are an important marketing tool because people are so social. You can set it up so that every business picture you take is automatically uploaded to Google+.
Listing Your Business
Internet marketing is about more than knowing how to make your website. “Every business owes it to themselves to have a presence on Google+,” said Campbell. Small businesses owners who are still new on the radar can claim their business and get the listing in Google+ Local for free!
Google+ Local (formerly Google Places) is accessed on the search engine’s ‘Local’ sidebar. Users can search local business categories and get a ton of specific information about your business:
- Customer recommendations
- Zagat scores (based on 30 points)
- Contact information
- Map with physical location
Rank High in Search Engine Results
Google+ is affecting everyone’s search results. Obviously the central action of social media is sharing, whether it be Facebook likes, posts, or business pages, or Tweets on Twitter shared with your followers. On Facebook you may 125 friends, which is the average. When you post a comment it is shared with those 125 people. But if you are share something with your Google+ circles, or +1 a site by clicking on the button next to it, your information is actually indexed by the search engine. Those +1’s are like votes that add up and affect rankings. It’s an amazing opportunity to add a social layer on top of Google searches.
As a small business owner you need a social media presence. Google+ is a good way to get started and begin reaping the results.
Guest post contributed by James Martell an author and speaker in addition to being the host of the podcast Affiliate Buzz. He attends and speaks at many industry events. Most recently he attended Affiliate Summit East 2012 in New York City. Martell lives with his family in White Rock, BC, 40 minutes from Vancouver. He performs research at www.openwebsitetutorials.com among other websites that are on the topic of Internet marketing.