If you're like most people who are using social media marketing, you don't like the constant changes. I hear you! Unless your specialty is social media management itself, it's likely that trying to keep up with the constant changes has you scrambling more often than not.
Last week, I asked my Inner Circle a question about one of the "newer" platforms out there – Google+. I asked who was using it or planning on getting better with it during the new year.
I wasn't surprised at all when most people reacted along the lines of, "one more thing?!" Believe me – with as fast as some of those platforms keep changing, some days it's hard to keep up!
But I want to caution you – if you're avoiding Google+ and looking at as just another social media networking site (and one that seems awkward at best), you are missing the boat. And if you're missing this, you could be making the single biggest marketing mistake of the life of your business.
That sounds pretty dramatic, but let me explain.
Sure it seems like just another social networking site. You have to build a profile, post a picture, add friends and follow them back, update your status and the like.
And that's where the similarities end.
Behind the social networking aspect of Google+ lies the world of search engine optimization. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. Google+ is changing the way we look at social networking and search engine optimizing and connecting them. A new kind of search is emerging, one many people call social search.
Here's what that means.
When you search for something on Google, for better or worse, the results aren't the same as when anyone else searches on Google. Google looks at things like your location and your connections and tweaks the articles that appear higher in your results based on your network of friends.
So the SEO capabilities of Google are what make your activity on Google+ so much more important than your activity on every other social network. Google knows and likes Google-owned sites. So your activity on Google+ will have a serious impact on your appearance in search engine results. If you avoid Google+, over time, your business will lose ranking and be replaced by results related to companies that have a robust presence on Google+.
It's just that simple. Your activity on Google+ will strengthen Google's perception of you (and your business) as authoritative in your field. In the same way, over time, your failure to be active on Google+ will damage your brand's ranking on Google search results for people, as Google will perceive your competitors who are active on Google as being much more authoritative than you in your field. The greater your authority in Google's eyes, the higher you appear on search engine results pages (aka SERPs).
In marketing and in social media, the advantage usually goes to the early adopter. Many people saw this as a reason that Google+ would never catch up to Facebook.
I think the early adopter advantage relative to Google+ will be this: businesses that create a strong and value-providing presence on Google+ early will see their search engine results improve, while businesses that don't will be left behind.
And being left behind is a distinction that no business wants.
What is your greatest challenge with Google+? Leave a comment below!
My greatest challenge with Google+ is feeling overwhelmed by it, not knowing where to start and confusing it with Google Places. I would love to have a presence on both but feel like I need a step by step lesson on what to do and in what order.
Gillian, make sure to register for our Google+ webinar at the end of the month…good info will be shared there!
Good Morning Kim, I always enjoy your post. It's true you are seeing more people using Google + and the google hangout. I am still very much new to the social media platforms and trying to learn daily. Google plus is another platform I was told about some time ago but have not yet figured it out. I do think the most successful people are the ones giving value through google hangouts. Apparently the hangouts serve as a good place for live training and then they are stored on youtube so that helps build up your presence. Love all your post. Have a great day
Barbara, thanks for the comments. We are on a mission to give more value around Google+ because we feel so strongly about it. Stay tuned for more info 😉
Thanks, Kim. I'm having so much trouble putting a cover picture into google+.
Make sure you have the right size for the google+ cover. The cover photo is 940×180 and the profile pic is 260×260.
I completely agree with this article. They don't seem to have done a very good job of informing people on how to use their platform.
Drew, we are doing a series of Google+ content pieces this month and a webinar on the 29th. Please stay tuned as we want to teach this to our community.
It’s only free to use…time is the real payment for social media.
You are amazing when it comes to SEO and Google 😉
Search results are not restricted to just your local area or country. I sure hope I didn’t give that impression.
I think they have Pat ;-). Glad you are joining us over on Google+!
Hi Kim, Google+ is very confusing to me. I guess I probably need to just play with it for a while. The thing I wonder about is this, I had a google blog on blogger for a couple of years, move to WordPress, so that I would have it right on my sight….and abandoned my old blogs, but now it is really easy to pull up my old blogs, and not so easy with my new ones
Well, Google is definitely cornering the market in certain areas and integrating many features for us to use – ‘one shop stop’ kind of approach. Only time will tell I guess.
My challenge Kim has been that the so called integration between G+ (local) and Google Places does not seem to have been completed. So you (technically) have G Maps, G+ and G Places all sort of related/connected but not completely. Very confusing, even to me and I'm the "Marketing Geek"…
I agree that I think there are so ‘holes’ but I am confidant that they will work them out. I think that’s why they have ‘quietly’ been working this forward.
With you on the benefits of Google+ and good luck getting others to see it. On this mission myself 😉
Totally agree with you, Colin!
Go to http://www.google.com/+/business/ to set up your page.
Hi Kim, I always look forward to hearing you insight about evolving social media trends and I’ve been using many of your strategies. Can you make a recommendation as to what are good strategies on Google+
I have a whole series of Google+ content coming down the pike and will include this topic 🙂
I also signed up for your blogs. Thank you very much! I really appreciate it. Do you have any comments or suggestions concerning information overload. Thanks again!
p.s. I would love to send you a personal message and pick your brain, just a bit. lol
Jill, my biggest recommendation is to put things into action, don’t read everything and assume you will remember. Pick something and just do it… the information is always there, you can go back and put into action the next thing when you are ready. You are welcome to jump on over to Facebook and post something on the fan page, I monitor it regularly 🙂
Jill, the webinars are always announced in my newsletters, on Twitter and Facebook. We would love to have you attend them. Thanks for stopping by!
Guy’s book is still relevant even though it is a bit outdated now…the only thing you can be assured of in social is CHANGES 🙂
Thanks for the timely insight, Kim. I’ve been wrestling with the notion of getting onto Google+ for about a week or so now, and your post has provided the context I needed to take action. Heading over to create our Google+ account right now.
Jason, at a minimum, share your blog content on Google+ – gives you higher organic reach immediately!