Your business is active on Twitter, you’re posting regularly to Facebook, but are you on Google+? This new social network may be the smallest of the three, but it has the most influence over Google’s search results. If you’re a small business that has already mastered Facebook and Twitter, you might want to consider adding Google+ to your regular marketing regiment. Here’s how you can leverage Google+ to both engage customers and improve your performance in search.
Google+ is pretty similar to Facebook in a lot of ways. You find people you know and add them to groups called circles. You can have circles for friends, coworkers, family, whatever you’d like. You can upload photos and videos, you can share links to interesting online content, or you can just post a public message. All this means that you are connecting with people and sharing content in a way that should be pretty familiar.
First things first, get your Google+ business page set up. You’ll need a personal profile to do this, so be prepared to create one if you don’t already have one. You’ll be walked through the steps of choosing what type of business page you want to create, whether it’s an individual location, a product, or a large company. From there, the process is much the same as setting up a Facebook page – adding company info, uploading photos, uploading videos, creating your initial posts.
Next, start connecting with people. Add a Google+ badge to your site alongside your Twitter and Facebook buttons to help people find out about your page and have them add your business to their circles. This is the same as someone liking your business on Facebook. The more people in your business’ circles, the greater the reach you have when sharing content on Google+. You also should be adding Google’s +1 buttons to your site, so visitors can promote content that they enjoy.
Currently, Google hasn’t opened up an API for Google+, so there aren’t any third party apps that will post content to your Google+ page. Knowing Google however, that should change soon. In the meantime, you need to make a habit of logging in and posting on a regular basis, just like you do with Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s where things get interesting. Google has started incorporating what it calls “personal results” in its search results when you are logged into you Google account. Personal results are like regular search results, but they place a higher emphasis on content that has been shared by people in your Google+ circles. That means that actively posting content to Google+ and getting as many customers as possible to add your business to their circles, will dramatically increase your chances of showing up very high in personal search results.
In addition to the content you share ranking well in the personal results, people can also see which content people in their circles recommend. Google’s +1 buttons are similar to Facebook likes. It’s a way for people to recommend content and have it posted to their Google+ profile. When someone searches for something on Google, they can see if anyone in their Google+ circles have +1’d it. If several of your friends have recommended an article, that article is likely going to be more relevant to you.
Once you get your Google+ business page set up and develop the habit of posting regularly, you’ll have added a powerful third layer to your social media marketing. Keep posting and growing your circles and watch the effect it has on your search engine performance.