Google+’s Pluses and Minuses

Google+ is becoming an integral part of social media marketing. This is because it integrates itself on so many other platforms, increasing your business SERP. Even though it was meant to take over the social media world, as Google has done in many other ways, many people are conflicted whether or not Google+ is viable for marketing. Here are the pluses and minuses of Google+.

Via Flickr by birgerking

Via Flickr by birgerking

Plus + SEO

When you share a photo, link, or a text update on your Google+ page, this will be indexed in Google’s search results. When people click the +1 button on your content also increases the search ranking of your Google+ posts. Google+ can increase your business’ visibility in search engines drastically, meaning more traffic will be directed to your website and other platforms as long as you have filled out your profile correctly.

Minus – Cluttered Layout

Users are used to the simple and streamlined news feeds on Facebook and Twitter. However, Google+’s page mimics the layout of the Facebook user profile or Pinterest, but pulls it off a little poorly. There is content on both the left and the right, making it difficult to decide which content is most important. There are also a lot of different aspects of the layout, making it a little dizzying to look at.

Plus + Pages

The Google+ page for your business can increase SEO, as mentioned before. It can also be another platform for your social media reach. Starting a Google+ page is an extra way to reach new audiences that may not be present on other platforms, or have trouble finding you. The page will also keep followers updated on what is going on with your business, as long as you stay active on it.

Minus – Poor Website Navigation

While the design is slick and familiar, the navigation itself is very difficult to get around. Users have trouble finding even the simplest things on their page. This is one of the biggest complaints people have about Google+, despite the comfort of Google’s colors and design.

Via Flickr by dolphinsdock

Via Flickr by dolphinsdock

Plus + Hangouts

Hangouts are a great addition to the growing video presence online. It is a form of video chat that can bring people together from all over the world, like Skype but more user-friendly. This is great for international or online businesses who can’t get all of their employees in a room together without spending thousands of dollars. It is also great for B2B marketing meetings. Everyone who has used Hangouts so far has loved it, and it is a feature that most other social media sites do not have yet.

Minus – Unpopular Opinion

Many companies do not have a Google+ page, so they do not think the page is relevant or credible with their content or marketing goals. This is a mistake some companies make, especially if their competitors are on Google+ reaching new audiences. It may seem strange that not many companies are on Google+ since Google is very proud of saying they have 230 million active members and 500 million members total. This figure is distorted, since whenever you get a Gmail account, you are automatically signed up for a Google+ account. The +1 button, while useful, is not on every website. This means clicking the button does not give as big of a signal boost to your brand as other ways of sharing content.

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Mistakes Businesses Make on Google+ – Part 2

Google+ is an amazing social media platform. It inconspicuously integrates itself across the internet and can allow businesses to meet new people, connect with potential customers, and improve relationships with current customers. However, it is overwhelming at first because of its integration and widespread capabilities. Many businesses make mistakes when they begin their Google online marketing that hurt their overall social media marketing plans. Knowing what the common mistakes are can help you avoid pitfalls and get ahead of your competition.

Via cambodia4kidsorg

Via cambodia4kidsorg

  1. Only posting about your product or service

    This tactic is a bad choice on every social media platform. People are online for an authentic and fun experience, not to constantly hear a sales pitch like they do on TV. For you, social media needs to be about authentic interactions with your customers, networks, and clients. No one will want to network with you on Google+ if you only talk about yourself.

    A common rule in life, but especially in social media, is 80-20. 80% of your Google+ content should be about lifestyle related to your industry. Only 20% should be about your product or service. Ask your follower questions, post great content from others that is related to your industry, or offer help to your circles for better engagement.

  2. Ignoring negative comments

    You will always get bad comments, so you need to start using them to your advantage. If you avoid responding to negativity, followers will think the comments are true and you agree with them, or that you have something to hide. It is important to monitor your comments on Google+ in order to get a good idea of how customers are responding to your brand. There will be negativity, and you can learn from it. Address negative comments quickly and professionally so negative feelings about your brand cannot further develop.

    If you get a complaint about your product, ask the commenters to email you with specifics so you can solve their problem. If there is a negative comment about your company, then address the particular issue and turn it positive. If there is a negative comment about one of your posts, try to communicate to the commenter. You may not resolve the commenter’s issues, but at least you tried to resolve the issue and you listened to your followers.

  3. Ignoring communities

    Part of what makes Google+ so unique is the community it offers. In order to be more successful on Google+, you need to find and join communities that fit your business niche. These groups are growing every day and are very engaging. Users love them because they find a topic they love online and can talk about it in a professional environment. Even if you cannot find your specific business niche, there are many small business communities you can join and begin participating in discussions with. Once you have established yourself as a regular on communities, start your own!

  4. Posting without comments

    Always include some kind of brief comment when posting a link on Google+. If you do not include commentary, you come off as uncaring and you will see very little engagement. Users will have no motivation to click, read, or share the link without a comment.

  5. Posting inconsistently

    It is common for many businesses to set up a Google+ page, post a few times on it, then forget to stay active. This prevents businesses from building a following and engagement momentum on the platform. You will need to dedicate some time and quality content in order to see ROI from your Google+ account.

    There also needs to be variety in your content. Do not stick to just text posts. Instead, post photos, videos, links, texts, and more. A variety of posts will appeal to your followers. Google+ especially has some amazing photo capabilities and features, so do not neglect this kind of content.

To learn more, check out Part 1 of this series on common Google+ business mistakes.

Mistakes Businesses Make on Google+ – Part 1

Google+ is an amazing social media platform. It inconspicuously integrates itself across the internet and can allow businesses to meet new people, connect with potential customers, and improve relationships with current customers. However, it is overwhelming at first because of its integration and widespread capabilities. Many businesses make mistakes when they begin their Google online marketing that hurt their overall social media marketing plans. Knowing what the common mistakes are can help you avoid pitfalls and get ahead of your competition.

Via cambodia4kidsorg

Via cambodia4kidsorg

  1. An incomplete profile

    You need a business page on Google+. It is an incredible asset to your SEO campaign and it is very easy to set up. Google+ has made their company pages similar to Facebook business pages, meaning you need a personal Google+ page in order to create a business one. Make sure to categorize your business and add a specific location, especially since it is integrated with Google Places.

    A company page on Google+ allows you to reference it, link back to it, and do other things that help increase your results in search engines. To increase your SEO, include your business keywords in the tagline and introduction, link to all of your other social sites, and include your website and location on your profile. It also describes your business and makes you more marketable.

    It is also very beneficial if you verify your page with Google. This helps you establish a link between your Google+ page and your website and supplies a copyright against people who want to make a copycat page with your brand. Verification gives you priority in search results as well.

  2. Keyword stuffing

    Even though you want to make your profile SEO friendly, you do not want to overstuff your profile with keywords. This was an old marketing trick that no longer works due to Google’s semantic search. The semantic search ranks pages based on the quality relevancy of their content.

    For example, if you sell leather wallets you will want to use that as a keyword in searches. Overusing the phrase “leather wallets” in your content, even if feel like you need to regardless of the search results, will cause Google to decline your content and it will not show in search results. Write using natural descriptions and provide details about the products and services you provide to make Google happy.

  3. A bad cover image

    The cover image is a newer aspect of Google+ that is borrowed from Facebook. However, Google+ has higher pixel requirements than Facebook which many businesses do not factor in when uploading a cover image.

    The maximum size for cover images on Google+ is 2120 x 1192 pixels. You want to upload a cover photo that is as close to this size as possible to have a clearer image. The image needs to scale to the right dimensions as well. When designing a cover image, make sure to remember where your profile image is going to be in relation to the cover image. If you have information on your image, make sure it is not going to be blocked by the profile picture.

  4. Ignoring circles

    Circles are essentially a way to categorize the people you follow on Google+. This allows you to send out targeted posts to certain circles of connections. So, you can have circles for prospective customers, current customers, coworkers, and industry leaders. Once your circles are set up, you need to send out content that is targeted for each group’s interest. For prospective customers, send content that talks about your industry and the benefits it offers, but do not promote your products or brand directly. For current customers, send content that offers solutions to their problems.

  5. Spamming circles

    While you need to use your circles to send targeted content to a targeted audience, you should not spam people’s pages with overly promotional or too much content. If you post content in one of your circles, do not send them an email to let them know you have a new post. That is overkill and information abuse that your circles will not appreciate. Especially avoid the email feature if the people in your circles have not asked for continual updates. Put the information out there and easily accessible, but do not bombard your circles with it.

To learn more, check out Part 2 of this series on common Google+ business mistakes.

3 SEO Benefits of Being a Google+ Expert

Last Monday we talked about how to become an expert on Google+ with your business profile. Google+ is fast becoming one of the most popular social media platforms, thanks to its integration across multiple internet platforms. Incorporating Google+ into your Google marketing strategy is a smart business decision, establishing you as an expert in your industry. If done correctly, when people Google search business your Google+ profile can come up. Whenever you use your Google+ account correctly in correlation to your overall social media marketing scheme, you will three great benefits:

Via Flickr AJC1

Via Flickr AJC1

  1. Boost SEO. Google+ is one of the few social media websites that spans across multiple platforms and has great rankings in search engines. This makes it easy to integrate your Google+ account into your overall SEO marketing strategy. Other social media platforms, like Facebook, work best internally. This means that, while you can find anything you need on Facebook, it will not often appear in a Google search unless you type “Facebook” at the end of your search.

    Google+ makes it easier to use keywords while still creating great content that is not forced to match keywords. Google+ helps people refine searches with quality information that is recommended by other users. This is a huge advantage over other kinds of content platforms, since Google is now penalizing website that overload keywords without quality content.

  2. Makes it easy for others to recommend your business. Whenever anyone adds your Google+ business profile to searches, it gives your business precedence in Google search results. When someone in the circle searches for your product or service, you will show up first. In order to get this great Google+ benefit, you need to start networking with other businesses in your industry on the platform.

    You can also get a bunch of +1s from users who have never seen your page if you implement this function correctly. The button automatically comes up in search results and allows users to instantaneously recommend what they find.

  3. Begins word of mouth connections. This can be accomplished by using Google+ hangouts. Hangouts are live video conferences where three or more people participate. People primarily care about what your product or service can do to help them. In order to foster word of mouth marketing, you need to give people the chance to talk about themselves. Hangouts help customers feel special and valued by your business. They give customers a unique experience they will be sure to talk about.

5 Ways to Become an Expert on Google+ for Business

Google+ is fast becoming one of the most popular social media platforms, thanks to its integration across multiple internet platforms. Incorporating Google+ into your Google marketing strategy is a smart business decision, establishing you as an expert in your industry. If done correctly, when people Google search business your Google+ profile can come up.

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Engage before advertising

When beginning on Google+, it is not a good idea to start advertising right away before communicating with your potential audience. When you begin promoting before the community knows you, it will take longer to build a following. Spend some time engaging with the users and answering questions before beginning your marketing plan.

Give credit

Google+ operates in a similar way to Facebook, allowing you to tag people in your posts and comments. This is the perfect way to give credit to people on Google+. People love getting tagged since others will click on their own profile. All you need to do is type a + and choose their name from a drop down list. They will get a notification they have been tagged. A user will be more likely to tag you and drive traffic to your page in the future.

Ask questions

It is okay to not always be the expert. In fact, stepping back from the authority role and asking questions makes you seem more like an expert in the eyes of your followers. Asking questions also increase your exposure. Your user engagement will increase with the desire to answer the question. Asking questions related to your audience will show that you care about and value their opinion and knowledge.

Divert traffic

If you have a large and active following on other social media platforms, direct them to follow you on Google+. People love having more connections on multiple platforms and will welcome the opportunity to add you on Google+.

Create a community

In order to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, you need to start a Google+ Community. You also need to join other communities and thoughtfully comment on posts without overly promoting your page. This helps build trust and drive traffic to your profile.