Google Plus is Google’s own social network. In addition to being the second largest social network in terms of membership, it also has many advantages that can increase your web presence and help your business to maintain and develop customer relationships. These are all effective elements of a solid B2B communication strategy.
One advantage of this social network is that it is extremely practical. It acts as an information hub, combining the best pieces from competing social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest—to deliver a centralized place to keep important contacts informed and just a click away.
It integrates fully with other Google applications such as Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, and Hangouts. This allows you to watch your favorite videos, check emails, access your calendar, organize meetings, share news, and interact with community members from a single dashboard. Furthermore, if you already have a company YouTube channel, it is easy to keep company information such as logo and contact details synced—by linking your Google Plus and YouTube accounts via the same email address (Google Account). Similarly, Google Plus integrates into Google Local to gather geographic information about your company—providing visitors and searches with up-to-date and reliable information on how to best reach your company.
We highly recommend using the same login profile (account) for all of your Google apps and services, to keep things as simplified and streamlined as possible.
2. Web Visibility.
Merely having your Google Plus page up and filled-in isn’t enough to gain a competitive edge. A social network (and your page itself) is like plant, which needs attention and nurturing in order to bear fruit and deliver a positive ROI.
Your Page is a Reflection of Your Business. When a prospective customer browses your profile, everything present on that page gives them an impression about your company, values, products, services, and sustainability. Be sure to include important and relevant keywords, references, backlinks, and expertise.
Adapt Your Content! Make sure that the content you post to your page is optimized for sharing, commenting, and following (+1-ing in Google-speak). Start by highlighting your products or services by adding photos and videos to your corporate Google Plus page. You can also use the platform to publish press releases—keeping your readers informed of the latest company news. This is especially important to do if you attend a trade show or conference, or are looking for the next Steve Jobs to join your team. Google Plus is an excellent platform for disseminating valuable information to your entire community. Finally, if you don’t know exactly what to post—take a step back, have a coffee, and breathe. It’s better to post great content less frequently than to post for the sake of posting all the time.
Pay Attention to Your Visitors. Despite being part of a virtual network, visitors to and followers of your page are real people. Do not make them feel as if they are interacting with a robot! Be spontaneous and maximize interactions with them by taking the time to thoughtfully answer questions and take their opinions into account. These pieces can be extremely valuable to your business.
Develop Your Community. The number of +1’s you have is an indicator of reputation and credibility on Google Plus. Increasing this number requires a lot of time and effort. Start with your close acquaintances, your employees and team members—as well as your current customers. After you have connected with these followers, it’s the quality of your posts and the time invested into the community at large that will make the most impact on growth.
3. Avoid Intrusive Advertising.
If there is one thing that Google knows, it’s that in order to attract an audience on its network, blatant and false advertising must be eliminated. Google Plus is not an online sales or shopping platform, but rather serves as an interface for the exchange of ideas, value creation, and the collection of information such as reviews and user comments. To succeed, you need to forget about conversions and work to perpetuate your customer relationships via regular status updates and interactive content.
Mobile Ready. At a time when global sales of smartphones and mobile apps continue to multiply, Google Plus was an early adopter and thus leader in terms of social networking for mobile devices. It offers a fully “Responsive Design” interface that is automatically and naturally optimized for mobile viewing and interactions. It blows its competitors out of the water in terms of performance, usability, image management, and touch events on mobile devices. Because you and your business are always on-the-go, updating your Google Plus page is simple, effective, and fast. So keep relationship-building while on a business trip or at a trade-show—Google Plus is as mobile as you are.
Customized URLs. Since the end of October 2013, Google Plus allows companies the ability to customize the URL to their Google Plus page. Previously, URLs were long and complicated (ie. https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/109529914198297965130/). Now, a company can create a unique and descriptive URL. For example, including the company name in the URL allows users to more easily identify you. This also enables Google to link your Google Plus page directly with your actual website.
5. Personalized Networking.
Via its Circle system of connections, Google Plus allows page managers to sort contacts and compile lists based on the audience type. For instance, you can make a section of content to be visible only to employees, clients, or the general public based on your designed segments. You can also help your content reach new followers and a broader audience by including relevant #hashtags to your posts that revolved around a certain industry, event, or breaking news. #Hashtags also allow you to be part of professional groups—where you can further expand your network (or Circle) by adding members without going through a long or complicated application process (unlike LinkedIn or Facebook).
And lastly, do not forget: the more you develop your presence on Google Plus—by adding internal links, increasing followers, and offering quality content—the more you can improve your chances of a better index ranking on the Google Search Network.