shadowed google

There are so many social media sites around these days. Businesses can find it hard to know which one is going to benefit the marketing of their business the most. Is Twitter going to be the best because of how directly and succinctly you can keep in contact with your customers? Or is Facebook going to be the best option because of the diversity in content you can publish on it, and the fact that it has more users across the globe than any other social network?

The reality is that businesses should be considering all of the major social networks, not just one or two. And there’s one in particular which you should be paying closer attention to than you may have been paying before. You’ve probably at least heard of Google+ before and may even have had the occasional invite to join it from fellow business people. Facebook and Twitter may have had the upper hand in recent years, but there are 5 very distinct reasons why Google+ is the most beneficial platform for a business to be on.

1: Google+ has inherently great SEO properties

Despite Facebook and Twitter being great for engaging with current customers, they’re not so great when it comes to reaching potential ones. Posts on Google+ are crawled and indexed much quicker than Facebook and Twitter. In fact they’re made available almost immediately to Google search results. You can’t blame Google for favouring its own platform. Facebook has restrictive privacy and data sharing policies and Twitter even directs Google away from following its links, while Google+ posts will continually rise in SERPs with every recommendation they receive.

 2:    It’s a better platform for B2B lead generation and nurturing

As mentioned just now, Facebook and Twitter are primarily for B2C connections. Google+ however is great for generating B2B leads and keeping a close eye on your relationships with them. Google+ is centred on ‘Circles’, and you can organise your different social circles so you can easily find who you’re looking for. You can keep a check on all your clients, colleagues and personal friends individually and you can share content with either all of those circles or just one of them.  You can also share publically, by crossing off circles and using the dropdown box and choosing public. Be aware that once you have shared privately, you can’t then go back and change it to a public post, unlike Facebook.

3.       Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is an integrated conference calling tool. You can have a video or instant messaging chat with up to ten of your employees if they’re in separate locations or work from home, and communicate directly with clients, customers and other businesses face to face without having to travel. While there are other popular tools out there that do the same thing, such as Skype, Google Hangouts will congregate all your Google+ contacts so you can quickly and easily prepare a business meeting.

4.       The +1 feature isn’t just Google’s version of Facebook’s ‘Like’ or Twitter’s ‘Retweet’

It’s much more than that. Many people might describe it as such, but in actual fact the +1 feature doesn’t just share your content, it affects where you appear in Google search results. It’s important to remember this, because it is incredibly easy to just assume that it’s a lazy copy of what every social media site already has. Along with showing Authorship data in SERPs, Google also shows how many +1 endorsements something has received, which will show users a stamp of quality before they’ve even read anything for themselves.

5.       Google +1s are the biggest search ranking factor

While sharing on Facebook and Tweets on Twitter do account for some of the results which appear in Google SERPs, Google +1s are the largest contributing factor to what you’ll find when searching for something. It’s an even bigger ranking factor than the length of anchor text, positioning of keywords and the number of backlinks. As such, it’s needless to say that the benefits of representing your company on Google+ and using it to its full potential are much more numerous than the negatives.

biggest social networksIt’s likely that G+ will continue to rise and eventually catch Facebook up. It’s already ahead of Twitter and Pinterest in the most-used-network list and this is only likely to increase. As Google continue to integrate more of its products into the social media site, it’s becoming a more useful resource every day. The introduction of Google ‘Hangouts on Air’ also means that you can live broadcast to your audience, perhaps holding a Q&A session with prearranged questions or give live webinars that your audience can connect with.

Photo: Robert Scoble