Why marketers shouldn't forget Google+

It began with the rumor that Google was taking a second go at "going social." As quickly as Google Buzz flopped, the public's excitement over Google's next social experience grew. As a community manager, I was excited to see its potential and plan how I would incorporate it into my day-to-day activities. And then the invites went out. I joined almost immediately after receiving mine. I poked around a little, added a few friends to various circles, and posted a cliché update about how Google+ would be the next big thing. Well...was it?

That question will garner different answers depending on who you ask. To be frank, Google+ didn't stop us from logging into Facebook and Twitter every day, but it did capture the attention of more than 500 million registered users. This is no number to scoff at -- more than 500 million people have a Google+ account with 235 million of those users logging in at least monthly. Now that Google+ is about 18 months old, it's safe to say the platform is here to stay.

Why marketers shouldn't forget Google+

Google eventually nixed the invite-only approach, making Google+ available for all Gmail users.The potential for growth of the platform is tremendous, so this is a great time to incorporate the platform into your marketing plans and take advantage of the upswing in growth for Google+.

However, there are a few things to consider about Google+ before making the jump to this platform -- the first, and most important, being that the platform is different from and acts uniquely compared to Facebook and Twitter. Because Google+ is a Google product, posts and accounts will appear high in search results. This is one reason Google+ is essential for a business.

Businesses use Facebook to keep their audiences informed, and the same can be done with Google+ to entice new business. You can promote your company and engage with your current community, as your Google+ account is likely to show up on the first page of search results. Strategically, Google+ can be used as a selling feature as well as a way to represent your company and product offerings.

Keep in mind that the type of content shared on Google+ matters. Google+ posts that contain images or videos do especially well, so start by strategizing around posts with rich media content. For example, take a look at the CNN and Nordstrom Google+ pages and notice how images with little text dominate their pages. Posts that contain images are shared more and receive more +1s than posts containing just text.

Another important thing to note is that Google differentiates business and personal Google+ accounts by naming them Google+ Pages (business) and Google+ Profiles (personal). Multiple people can contribute to your Google+ Page from their Google+ Profiles if they have admin access. Allowing multiple members to manage your page can help to maintain an active presence and steadily grow your Google+ following.

Remember that the best social media marketing plan is a comprehensive one. This begins with knowledge of the different platforms so you can take advantage of each one's unique qualities.

Courtney Kettmann is the community manager at Viralheat.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Businesswoman with confused expression trying to remember something" image via Shutterstock.

 

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