At a recent breakfast seminar involving Google, the speakers discussed its social network Google+ and some potential benefits for businesses.
For those who have just asked the question: What is Google+? I wrote a previous blog, which provided an overview of what it’s all about.
Some facts you may not know about Google+ are that it started off with a bang as 90 million users signed up within the first six months following its launch in June 2011. Current numbers are hard to come by, but the number has surpassed the 100 million mark, threatening to quickly overtake the 150 million user base of Linkedin.
In November, 2011 Google+ rolled out business pages, but businesses haven’t been quick to embrace Google+ and who could blame them? Currently, most businesses would have a Facebook, Twitter and a Linkedin page with some also having Instagram and also the hottest social network at the moment, Pinterest. Who would want to add a sixth network to that already crowded mix?
Before you let out a big sigh about the effort required behind the upkeep of a social network, Google+ could greatly benefit certain businesses.
There are some similarities with a Facebook and Google+ business page: both allow you to develop relationships and interact with customers but the big difference is that Google+ allows further engagement with fans via Hangouts (video conferencing) -although this feature is limited to a maximum of 10 people per Hangout.
Despite this limitation, it does open up a new way of interacting with fans via a social media network. A business could run a Q&A session in a Hangout, interact with the media and even run a ‘how to’ session over the course of a few hours to enable multiple users to participate. Even celebrities have gotten into the act with the Black Eyed Peas giving some of their fans exclusive behind the scenes content via a Hangout.
Aside from the capabilities of Hangouts, a Google+ business page can help with site traffic, SEO as well as direct connect, which is a new integration between Google+ and Google search. This can be done by simply ‘connecting your website’ via your Google+ page. No one knows exactly how it all works as the Google algorithm is probably the most guarded secret in the world outside of the Coke formula but it can’t hurt to have a little extra help to assist with SEO and potentially page ranking. Ask yourself this. What page will get ranked higher on Google? The one with a Google+ page or just Facebook and Twitter?
In the end Google+ is very much like picking up a videogame with no instruction booklet. It can be difficult and daunting at first but enough ‘playing around’ with it could prove to be a fruitful endeavour.