Since Google+ arrived in 2012, there has been a great deal of talk around whether businesses should use it or not. I have always liked the tool but there have been some issues, not least of which is that the Google+ audience is less engaged than on some of the other tools.
Recently, I’ve been taking another detailed look at Google+ as part of the process of updating our E-Learning courses and I really like what I now see. Google have made a number of changes to the tool in the background to make it easier to use. So why should you be using it? Here are my top four reasons you should be using Google+.
Let’s be honest, if you have a business website, you want to see your website appear as high as possible in search engine results. You help to achieve this, you really need to consider having a Google+ page and posting updates. It does have a noticeable effect on where you sit in search engine results and updates posted on Google+ are updated immediately. If you write blog posts, you should use Google Authorship which will link your personal Google+ profile to your website and show your profile picture in search results.
As you know, when you use social networks, you need to follow people in order to get them to follow you. Many of the tools allow you to group people into lists in order to make listening easier – but including people in lists is a discipline that can be hard to keep doing when you are in a hurry! Google+ insists that you immediately put somebody into a circle when you follow them. Circles are easy to manage using a drag and drop interface and you can not only listen to the people in your circles but also direct a message only to a particular circle – allowing you to target updates (even if you only have a few people in your circle).
Hangouts are a free way of having a video conference with up to 9 other people. ‘Hangouts on air’ allow you to live stream the conference to YouTube so an unlimited number of people can watch. I have always been a fan of Hangouts and use them regularly with my social media professionals group, but I used to find them difficult to use on a more public basis as it was always tricky to get people who were not on Google+ to access the webinar.
Now when you schedule a ‘hangout on air’ you can share the link to the forthcoming YouTube live stream on other social networks. When people watch the live stream they can communicate with you using a text messaging function. When the webinar is finished, you can edit the live stream within YouTube and publish it to your channel. A free way of regularly communicating with your prospects and generating video content.
The audience on Google+ is increasing slowly. When I first started using LinkedIn – I used to struggle to find people using it – but now most people are at least on the tool. I think the same thing is happening with Google+. It is a nice tool to use – advert free (at the moment) and fantastic for photos. Of course it also has good integration with mobile devices (Android in particular) so people will start to use the functionality without realising they are using Google+.
What do you think? Google+ is just a nice tool to use – with photos being front and centre and easy to update but there are also some real business reasons to use it now. Will you start?
Let me have your thoughts or if you would like more help to get started.