According to a January 2013 Global Web Index report, Google+ overtook Twitter to become the second most used social platform globally. The report concluded that not only has Google+ risen to become the second most used platform but Googleâ€™s social networking platform has also surpassed Twitter in terms of social share.
When Google launched its social networking site in June 2011, the platform very quickly gained a stigma, that until very recently it was unable to shake. The feeling in many circles was that nobody was really using the platform and many didnâ€™t see its potential to compete against Facebook and Twitter. Fast forward to 2013 and Google+ is fast becoming a crucial tool for small business in the UK.
If you havenâ€™t got on board with Google+, now is the time before it is too late. Here are 5 features of Google + to help you get started.
Google Hangouts are bridging the gap between businesses and customer: Never before has a business been able to directly connect with its customer base for free. Google Hangouts allow businesses to hold webinars, question and answer sessions and even provide sales and customer support. By using Hangouts, businesses are able to share their expertise and become authorative sources to their customers. Hangouts can also be used as part of a greater content drive to build loyalty and trust of brands; in a cost effective and interactive away.
G+ Communities allow SMEâ€™s to drive and participate in conversation: Google+ Communities are much like Facebook groups. Users can create public or private communities on specific topics. Any business can set up a community and can begin delivering conversation of any specific topic. For other public communities, businesses can participate in others conversations, connecting directly with existing and new customers.
Google+ can help you with an SEO stamp of approval: For businesses that rely on Google for referrals and sales conversions, the social networking platform is becoming a source that can no longer be ignored. The Google +1 button is different to the Facebook like button as it helps businesses discover and share relevant content from users they know and trust. Such a recommendation for a small business is vital. Businesses that use Google+ effectively will enhance their search performance.
Content is King: A business can never have enough content but if you are just using a small number of platforms you may find that you are saturating your fan base. Not only is Google+ another platform to seed content to your customers but it also offers you the chance to interact in different ways. Google has placed an emphasis on interactive content, with pictures and videos getting more space than on other platforms. Building an effective social media strategy will allow you to manage all of your content and distribute it to the right platform.
Segmentation of audiences: What social media has shown marketers is not everyone interacts with a brand in the same way. Having any kind of social media presence presents itself with a number of issues. Firstly, who is the businesses audience and what content makes them tick? Google+ allows users to organise their following and then add them to â€˜circlesâ€™ â€“ essentially segmenting customers. From here a business can feed certain content to these specific lists based on the usersâ€™ perceptions of what they will like. This is a crucial step for businesses with broad audiences.
There is an ever increasing pressure for businesses to have a presence on social media. Where Google+ differs to other social networking sites is in the way it allows businesses to harness the relationship between itself and the customer. Google+ is becoming more popular but the opportunities on the platform continue to be considerable for the reason that it hasnâ€™t become saturated. Key influencers in business sectors are actively using the platform – donâ€™t miss out on the conversation.