The soaring success of Google+

Tamara Pupic gets to grips with one of social media’s major success stories
The soaring success of Google+
By Tamara Pupic
Mon 28 Apr 2014 04:18 PM

When Google+ took its first tentative steps into the social media space in 2011, it was greeted largely with scepticism, but, as ever, Google had all the answers.

By 2014, Google+ has established itself as the second-largest social networking site in the world, with 300 million daily active users sharing more than one billion items every day. With these kinds of numbers, start-ups simply cannot afford to ignore this community.

What is Google+?

Google described it as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, and that it’s not just a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its author.

In fact, Google+ is now the portal to the entire Google ecosystem because many of its tools are fully integrated into and work seamlessly with other Google products, including Google Apps for businesses.

If you don’t use Google+ you will lose out in search rankings compared to sites that do.

That fact was confirmed by Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, who said: “If you ignore Google+, Google Search will ignore you.”

Can your business afford to let that happen?

Where to start? It’s huge

Well, it is Google after all. There is a rather steep learning curve in Google+ and it does take some time to learn to use the platform effectively, but you get out of Google+ what you put in. Here are some tips on how to get started:

Google+ business page:

Setting up a Google+ business page immediately helps your SEO. Google Authorship connects the original content you create on your own site or someone else’s website to your Google+ profile and indexes it in Google search. Having your profile photo attached to your content in Google search results increases click-through rates by as much as 150 percent.

Don’t forget to utilise some keywords, describe the products and services your business offers and highlight what makes your businesses unique. Make sure to use the quite expansive photo space allowed on Google+, and also to add your location.

Circles & Communities:

There are two ways in which you can share your content – with your circles and the relevant communities you have joined.

Google+ allows you to segment the people you follow. For businesses, this means you can send out targeted posts to specific circles of connections you have - determine whom you could share the same content with and whom you need to have in a different circle.

Launched in late 2012, communities are where users can find vibrant discussions around various business topics with numerous other users. These communities provide easy access to connecting with influencers and experts who are important to your business. Find communities that suit your business niche, and join them.

Hangouts:

Google+ Hangouts, which shows the list of individuals or brands in your circles, are a great option for individuals or companies who want to host a private video chat with up to ten different accounts. Hangouts On Air are the public version of Hangouts, which can be viewed by all and are also archived as YouTube videos.

Events:

Google+ Events is an essential tool for individuals and brands who want to promote everything from a Hangout On Air to fundraising events or private parties.

+1 Button:

+1 is how you signal your appreciation for anything that grabs your attention on Google+ or on your favorite websites. Make sure your product pages, blog post pages, and website have an easy to click +1 button!

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