When Google Plus launched in 2011, marketers wondered if Facebook had finally met its match. Now, in 2015, Google Plus is still breathing…barely. As of 2013, it claimed 318.4 million users, but this number is deceiving as anyone who signs up for a Google account is automatically assigned a Google Plus page. That’s right, anyone who wants a YouTube account, access to Google Docs, or a Gmail account is considered a Google Plus member. In the real world, activity on Google Plus is minimal, unless you count Google Hangouts, which have proven to be an excellent tool for performing webinars or having video chats with group members.
So, if Google Plus isn’t exactly dead, it’s not far off to say the platform is on life support. As a small business owner with limited time and a million other social networks to choose from is Google Plus even worth your time?
Remember What Google Is Really Good At
Never forget that Google Plus is a property of Google, and Google is still the most powerful search engine in the western world. If you would like your customers to be able to find you online, then you absolutely need to have a Google Plus page. That’s because Google rewards its Google Plus business page members by placing their business pages at the top of its search engine rankings along with the Google Plus customer reviews. Go ahead, give this a try by typing in “Pizza, Your Town, Your State” into Google. You’ll see how the Google Plus pages for your local pizza shops pop up right at the top of the search results.
If you own a local business, Google Plus is a must. You also want to encourage happy customers to post Google Plus reviews, which can be even more powerful than Yelp! reviews. This may be a challenge, because, as mentioned, almost no one is actually on Google Plus, but if your customer has a Gmail account or a YouTube channel, she probably has a Google Plus page where she can quickly copy and paste her Yelp! review for your company.
How to Effectively Use Google Plus
Now you know that it is important for your business to be on Google Plus, but fortunately you don’t actually have to spend a lot of time cultivating this social network. It’s less important for you to build a strong audience on Google Plus or to expend a lot of effort creating and promoting unique content. Just having a business page and garnering a handful of positive reviews will help you gain most of the benefits available through Google Plus. If you want to copy and paste posts from your other social networking pages (or add your Google Plus account to a posting aggregator), that’s just icing on the cake.
I know, this is kind of a weird situation. You need to be on Google Plus, but you don’t actually have to use it unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands. That’s just the way the situation is. According to eMarketer.com, only 13% of U.S. small businesses use Google Plus, so just by building a page, you could run search engine laps around your competition. It doesn’t take much time to create a Google Plus business page, so get started now!
For personalized help with your social media strategy, contact iLUKA MEDIA to schedule a consultation now!