Are you already on Facebook and Twitter? Great, you are already familiar with social networking and know you can adapt easily to new platforms.
Google+ is a relatively new arrival on the social media scene, but it has some strong credentials that make it well worth getting onto straight away. Before you rush off and sign up and create your business page, let’s have a look at how Google+ fits in with your other social networking activities.
Facebook now has over 850 million users worldwide and it’s tipped to reach a billion by the end of 2012. That is just short of 15% of the worlds population. Twitter are less open with their statistics, but, growing faster than ever, it is estimated that there will be 500 million registered Twitter accounts by the end of 2012. That’s quite a lot too.
It’s fair to say that both Twitter and Facebook are firmly embedded in the social structure of the world and they aren’t going to die a death soon.
So, why then do we need to switch to Google+? We don’t. We need to add Google+ to what we are already doing. The vast majority of Facebook users are keeping in contact with their friends and family. They are talking to people on Facebook that they already know in real life. They might not have a lot of interests in common with the people they know in real life, but they know them all the same and Facebook is great for keeping them connected.
Twitter. I love Twitter and can’t imagine preferring another social network, but Twitter is different again. Twitter is much less about keeping in touch with your close friends and you aunt in Australia. It’s about keeping up to date with what is happening now in the topics you are interested in. It’s social, it’s a news feed, it’s a chat room, it’s a networking ground, but you are limited in that you only have 140 characters. You can continue a conversation, but if you want a few people involved and you want to go into a bit more depth, it doesn’t really work.
Google+ is not an alternative, it is different. Google+ is about connecting with people who share the same interests.
Anyway, back to the original question. Why should you be getting yourself onto Google+ for your business?
1. It is simple to use. It is just different to the other platforms and you need to learn in the same way you did with Twitter and Facebook.
2. Using Circles, Google+ makes it really simple for you to target your posts. You can share a post with your suppliers that your customers will never see. You can also do this in Facebook, but it’s not a fundamental part of Facebook and it’s difficult to find and manage. Also, many people are quite choosy about who they add on Facebook as a friend, and they would need to take a big leap of faith to really get this going. If you are looking for new customers, imagine a network where you can connect with people who share your interest? Lets say you are a soft toy supplier to toy shops and gift shops all over the UK. You can search for these on Google+ as you would on Twitter. Add them to your circles as potential customers and begin to engage with them. This is similar to Twitter, except you have more than 140 characters. It’s also a far more visual experience than Twitter. Your potential customers can share your posts with who they choose to share with. You can’t do this on Twitter.
3. It’s certainly here to stay and it’s growth is accelerating as people are catching on to why it’s so important. It’s not going to go away, so you may as well stay ahead of the game and ahead of your competitors and get on it. Use this moment and take the opportunity to get familiar with it and learn it now before it really takes off. That way you will have already established contacts, started to build relationships and will also be more familiar with how to find your way around it when you need to.
4. If you needed any more reasons, here is a really big one. Google+ was built by the number one search engine in the world. This means that anything you post publicly will feature almost immediately in the Google search rankings. The integration doesn’t end there. In one way or another it works with Google Analytics, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Checkout, Google Places, YouTube. Google also own YouTube by the way.
I’ll go into more details about how this integration is beneficial to your business in future posts, but for now, go and get yourself signed up. Filling in all of your profile information and adding your profile picture is a very good start. You can circle me too if you like!