5 reasons to use Google plus for business, brands and blogs

google plus for business
In case you have been living under a rock, I am here to remind you about Google Plus in this little post.

I am going to give you my 5 main reasons you should be on Google Plus for business, as a blogger, or a brand.  Then, after I have walked you through these, I will debunk some popular reasons of not being on Google Plus, so then you have no excuse for not missing out on the action.

I asked my Twitter and Facebook followers last week whether they used it, and I was shocked by the number of people who don’t. The reasons are all pretty much the same – it feels confusing, I don’t have the time, no-one is on it – so let’s see what the story is.

Ready? Here we go.

1. It’s Google, dude

This is a really simple point, but an obvious one. So you know that massive search engine that you want your business to be seen in, your blog to be found in, and your customers to find you by?

Yep, its Google.

Having a Google Plus presence and activity enables your business, brand or blog to benefit from plus 1′s (similar to a Facebook “like”).
A “plus one” is an indicator to Google of how popular a business or blog is, and it affects how you may appear in search results. Aha. Is that sounding quite useful now?

Google Hummingbird is Google’s latest algorithm, which concentrates primarily on quality content and how shareable and social a post is. Have a read of Nickie O’Hara’s posts on SEO and Hummingbird over on Geekalicious when you have a moment to learn more but in a nutshell, think quality content that engages, is socially shareable, and visible to Google.

Ok, liking the sound of this? Then let’s hop over to point 2.

2. Authorship

Google  Authorship is playing a huge part in SEO, visibility, page rank and authenticity. As part of the wider picture of quality over quantity, and the overarching share-ability focus of Hummingbird, Authorship is Google’s way of attributing sites that you contribute to with your G+ profile.

When you are building up a reputation for expertise in your niche, authorship is your friend. Google link up your G+ profile with sites you write for, making it easy to see who is writing what, for accountability, rank and credit.

google plusa uthorship

As you can see, my image appears next to a search for this blog, saying how many circles I am in, with a tiny profile pic of me to give the site a personal face. Oh ,and this is super easy to do on WordPress blogs with the plugin Google Author link.

Essentially, if you are writing it or working on it, be accountable for it and get found for it.

Am I winning you over yet? Ok, then let’s bring out the big guns.

3. Google Hangouts

I love Skype, and use it for some coaching sessions one to one. But, Google Hangouts really get me excited. You can hold a chat with up to 10 people easily, share your screen, content, ideas and chat in a fabulously simple environment. Not only that, but Hangouts can be streamed live straight to You Tube for a live broadcast to the entire world (if you wish), and/or recorded for viewers to catch up on later. I think I heard the death knell for the webinar somewhere….

So, why might you us a Hangout? For chatting with colleagues, friends or family easily and instantly (and for free!); to demonstrate a product or service with a presentation; for group training, emotely, anywhere in the world; for education, interviews, live demonstrations…the list goes on.

This video below is a hangout I attended with the lovely Blognix crew, with Emma Cossey at the helm talking about growing your blog.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVs0Ie1lc6k

Brands who are great at this and whose Hangouts I have enjoyed recently include the Boden, who opened up the secrets of a press launch day to anyone who wanted in. I also watched a Hangout on Azendoo whilst making dinner for the Minis this week (and later signed up for the product). Glamour Magazine have been broadcasting via Hangouts for Shopalong Days, and ASOS have been using hangouts for stylist advice sessions.

The scope is enormous – esentially, you now have the opportunity to commnicate and broadcast live to your audience – what will you do for them?

4. Helpouts

I am really excited by Helpouts, which launched just last week. Helpouts are, essentially, Hangouts with a speficic, and often commercial,  purpose. So, Helpouts include yoga lessions, car mechanic advice, food lessons, oh, and of course blog consultancy by me for bloggers and small businesses. Google extended their early adopter invitation to me, and I am in the process of approval for my Hangout prior to launch, which will be another revenue stream for me with a global audience.

So, think about how a Helpout could benefit your business – can you offer taster sessions? Advice? Free consultancy?

Sounds good? I thought so.

 4. Intelligent conversation

Now, I do love Facebook, don’t get me wrong. Wwell, I have a love/hate relationship with it to be fair, but I do feel that there is some decent conversation happening on G+, and I am grateful for that. Sometimes you need a break from relationship status updates, smug life commentary and cat quotes. You can search your circles easily, search for hashtags and subjects, and have a good old browse. When Twitter and Facebook don’t quite cut it, Google Plus is that relief, mainly due to point number 5….

5. Communities

…yes, the communities. You get the most out of Google Plus by starting and/or joining communities.  This is not about spamming people with your links or products, but about discussing, learning and engaging with others. You know, being social.

Ok, and aside form those 5 main reasons I would say that it looks beautiful, is easier to navigate than Facebook, the mute feature for dipping in and out of conversations is great, circles make so much sense, it fits so easily with the rest of my Google workflow life (Google Docs, Google Mail, Google Drive), and it flows.

So, after taking a mini break to browse a whole Pinterest board full of Google infographics, let’s tackle some reasons why businesses and brands aen’t on Google Plus yet ( with thanks to my followers on Twitter and Facebok for contribitions).

 

“It’s like shouting to an empty room”, or ” no -one is on it”.

Well, maybe don’t shout – connect with new people and forge new relationships. Maybe there are new people on Google Plus that don’t already follow you on Twitter and Facebook, so seek and start new conversations with new people. Also, the room certainly is not empty. There are over 350 million users on Google Plus, and that number is growing all the time. Nurture conversations, start sharing and engaging, and see what happens.

“I don’t have the time”

Sure, I get it. this social media lark gets busy, with blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Linked In, Pinterest, Stumble Upon and the rest. It does take time. So, work smarter. For bloggers and small businesses, I know that social media can be a hard one to master as it can take up so much time if you let it, so, get ninja on it!

Make a workflow of post schedules, sort out out time management, use a combination of scheduling tools in unison, and make the time. If you don’t, you miss out, simple as.

“I don’t understand it”

Again, understandable. This is a new network to some people and can take time to get the hang of. But, like anything new, it just takes some time and you will be there before you know it.

As a step by step getting started guide I recommend that you just dip your toe in. Sort out your authorship if you are a blogger, and start sharing content. Engage with others, try a community or two, and hey, even have a hangout. You are welcome to invite me for one, or join in some of the discussions I will be having via my Dexterous Diva G+ page.

Essentially, just dig in and have a go.  

Google Plus responds well to image led content, so get  visual with ho you share (check back on how to create original imagery here, or maybe get clever with some instagram apps here).

Have I convinced you to give it a try? Or, are you already in the Plus and a converted fan? If so let me know why and how you use it.

 

jo gifford

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handy resources

Business Insider
Google+ business
Google+ statistics
Google Plus Daily
Google Plus features – image editing
Google Author Rank and Authorship
Keepoint Free Google+ Guide for Business

 

Jo Gifford

My work is about helping people work in smarter, creative ways + getting their message out to the world via killer content—blogs, copy, images + social. I am a designer, writer, blogger, mentor, author, creativity addict + prolific geek. You could call it a portfolio career of multi-potential multi-passions. I call it being me.
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