Google Plus for Business: Does It Matter If Your Friends Use It or Not?

The fact that so few businesses have embraced Google Plus provides your company unparalleled opportunities.

The fact that so few businesses have embraced Google Plus provides your company unparalleled opportunities.

This Google Plus for business blog post has been a long time coming, and today I was reminded once again of the general misunderstanding that the public has regarding Google Plus with a tweet like this:

Screen-Shot-2013-02-28-at-9.38.18-AM

Now, I’m not trying to pick on anyone in particular here, because social media is all about communication and the exchanging of ideas and information. It’s a valid question that I get asked a lot, and the most common thing I hear from savvy business people who might be more active in other social media channels yet stray away from Google Plus is,

None of my friends are on Google Plus, so why would I want to use it?

So to all of you who are still in doubt, I ask you the following question:

Is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and getting found on Google important to your business?

The Undeniable Relationship between Google Plus and SEO

I see companies who spend a lot of money on SEO or PPC (Pay Per Click advertising) yet don’t even have a presence on Google Plus.  Just by being active on Google Plus through sharing content, engaging, and being circled by others, random conversations can potentially achieve first page results in Google search like this one did for the term “thank you:”
Screen-Shot-2013-02-28-at-10.20.30-AM
On average, as a Google Plus user, I am seeing that one or two out of every first page of Google search results come from content either written by or recommended by my Google Plus circles.  This is all happening organically, of course – with zero SEO effort.

Google Plus is a Completely Different Type of Social Network

Some people say that Google Plus isn’t a social network and some compare it to other social networks.  I say this: Google Plus is a great place to aggregate your shareable content, ideas and opinions to benefit those in your circles.  Here’s a classic example: I own an Epson printer that has been on the blink, and despite searching the Internet I couldn’t find out how to solve the problem I was facing.  After a lot of time and frustration, I finally figured out the issue.  I then created a Google Plus post to share with my followers.  If they were to do a search on Google for that information, they would hopefully find it and I would have helped them.
Screen-Shot-2013-02-28-at-9.54.18-AM
I don’t recommend joining Google Plus and posting for SEO as it is also a great network to meet and engage with thought leaders across a wide variety of industries. But comparing it to Twitter would probably be the best analogy, because there are a lot of people sharing a lot of information that then serve as the springboard for unlimited discussion on the topics being shared.  Don’t you want to be found by Google similar to how you want your tweets to be found by others?

How Did You Get Started on Twitter?

For those ready to tip their toes in the Google Plus water, I ask you: How did you get started on Twitter?  Were all of your friends on there?  Probably not.  But you joined in hopes of making your company more discoverable in the Twitter community and following others relevant to your business to see what they were saying.  Google Plus is no different.  In fact, even though there is a different way to write for the Google Plus community, if you are as active on Google Plus as you are on Twitter, I am confident you will see both increased engagement AND increased website traffic as a result.

I recently created a Social Business Unplugged podcast episode if you want to hear me speak for 8 minutes on the topic for further background:

Google Plus Resources

Windmill Networking is fortunate to have someone I consider to be one of the top thought leaders regarding Google Plus, Mark Traphagen, as our contributor to help you better leverage the site for your business.  For your convenience, here is a top ten collection of posts that he (as well as a few from myself…) has published here on the subject that I highly recommend you read that will give you a step-by-step hand-holding in getting started and ramping up your Google Plus experience – as well as the unprecedented opportunities that await your business:

  1. Your Google Plus Network is More Powerful Than You Know (Mark Traphagen)
  2. How to Build Search Engine Ranking Power with a Google Plus Brand Page (Mark Traphagen)
  3. The First Five Things You Should Do with Your Google Plus Business Page (Mark Traphagen)
  4. Grow Your Google Plus Business Page with the Power of Sharing (Mark Traphagen)
  5. How to Create Google+ Posts That Get Read, +1ed, and Re-Shared (Mark Traphagen)
  6. Google Plus Communities: Connect Your Brand Like Never Before (Mark Traphagen)
  7. Three Ways to Use a Personal Google Plus Profile to Build Your Business (Mark Traphagen)
  8. How to Use Google Plus for Personal Branding and Establishing Author Rank (Neal Schaffer)
  9. Guy Kawasaki and 10 Experts Chime in on the Value of Google Plus – and How You Can Start to Leverage It (Neal Schaffer)
  10. Google Plus: The Time is NOW for Your Business (Neal Schaffer)

I also highly recommend that you circle Mark Traphagen on Google Plus and feel free to ask him your G+ questions: He is one of the kindest and helpful people you will meet in all of social media.

The purpose of this post was to convince those that have strayed away from Google Plus to start using it to help your business.  Did I convince you?  Or are you still holding back? For those of you already active on Google Plus, can you share with us the tangible benefits that you have seen? Thanks!

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

Experts Connection - Facebook

Comments

  1. Jane Smallfield says

    Hi Neal – thanks so much for this. I am in the process of starting a new business and have been struggling to get started on Google Plus – appreciate the introduction and the aggregation of other relevant blogs and articles. I am excited to get started!

  2. says

    Neal, your site is #RockHot for anyone who need immediate smarts on what we’re all doing on the Interwebz. Thanks for adding my piece on G+ to your good work. I am thrilled with the list of previous posts by you and Mark (you’ve got some rock stars writing for you; way to go!). I’m forever more a fan.

  3. says

    Great post Neal people keep forget that Google is the mother of Google+. As long as Google is still the number 1 search engine, people can’t ignore it. I love the community there. Lots of great people with great ideas. Love chatting with them for hours.

    • says

      Thanks CamMi! You are an example of someone that I met from Twitter who is now doing amazing things on Google Plus. I agree that there are great conversations to be had with great people on Google Plus – there’s no other place like it in social media!

  4. Corlina Cramer says

    Hi Neal, Thanks for all of the great info on Google+ & people to circle for questions. I am wondering if Google+ will help me. I am looking for a career & tips for helping me with that search. Can Google+ help to get my name out to potential employers? Or is it mainly for those already associated with a company or brand?

    • says

      Hi Corlina, that’s a great question. Recruiters will obviously look at all of your social media profiles, but if you have subject matter expertise, I can think of no better social network to share it on! That being said, as of right now, LinkedIn is definitely the best place to be “found” by potential employers – but Google Plus has the potential to allow you to be found when there are Google searches being performed. Hope my answer makes sense!

  5. says

    Neal, I saw a great “process flow diagram” infographic about social media platforms a few months ago and one of the decision tree questions was “want your post to be seen” –> No? –> post to Google+. That is obviously changing in a big way and I’m so happy you have written this blog to continue to evangelize Google+ – you are cutting edge with this thinking and we are oddball “cloud accountants” who love and appreciate it!

    • says

      Thanks Lynne! I believe that that process flow diagram was obviously off in a big way! I am just posting my own personal experiences about Google Plus, but our contributor Mark Traphagen is the REAL expert on G+ – hopefully you’ve already read his posts and circled him on Google Plus!

  6. says

    No it does not matter. You have Facebook and Twitter for friends, G+ for networking. What I like about using G+ is because of fewer spams and most of its members are professionals.

  7. margaret says

    Should a business claim it’s listing in both Google + and Google Places, and why? Pros and cons and differentiate please.

Trackbacks

Please Leave a Comment!