No I didn't hit my head and imagine I was back in 2011. We all know Google+ never materialized into a serious competitor for social media supremacy with its past and current rivals of Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. I'll also admit Google Plus should never be the cornerstone or even a focal point of any sort for any social media marketer. In fact, over the last 6 years I've mostly used G+ as an undiscriminating dumping ground for all of my content. And honestly I could care less about Circles and Google Hangouts.
So why am I writing about using Google Plus marketing to help grow your business? Because it works!! It can help support your digital efforts and it provides a strong ROI (no cost and minimal time). It really comes down to the ease of connecting, minimal time investment, and SEO benefits that G+ can provide. It also fits with my overall theme of using every free weapon at your disposal in an increasingly crowded and competitive social media marketing landscape.
Here is a detailed breakdown as to why Google+ is still worth maintaining or adding to your SMM repertoire:
Large User Base
Because of Google's massive number of Gmail and YouTube accounts (among dozens of other very popular Google services) there are a very large number of Google+ Accounts out there. When Google+ started out it bragged about growing its user base faster than any previous social media network including rivals Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the now defunct MySpace. What they didn't like to emphasize though was that most users were only on Google+ once or twice a month and an average of just a few minutes at a time. It's pretty similar to that today, minus the growth. Very recently Google is still claiming 1.79 BILLION monthly users which is enormous. I don't buy into that many accounts actually being used, but even if the real number if just a small percentage of that, it's still a very significant number of users. That's not something you should just ignore. You should be where your prospects and customers are and there are still a significant number of them on Google+ to warrant your consideration.
Chances are you have a Gmail account that you use each week, if not every day. It's free, fast, dependable, simple, customizable, and compatible with all of your other Google accounts so it makes sense. I'd especially hope you're using Gmail as opposed to Yahoo mail, with Yahoo's very recent unprecedented privacy breach... but that's a whole different story. The point is, many people use it often, have dozens or hundreds of contacts, and have accumulated many connections over the years. You might also use Gmail to conveniently Instant Message your friends, family, and coworkers. Your Google+ connections will even get emails or notifications of posts that you've made that they've missed, unless they change their account's notification settings.
Overall my profile and posts continue to get thousands of views each month from prospects, past / present clients, friends, family, industry peers, fans, and customers. That has been the case for the last 5 years and it's not showing signs of slowing.
Quality Traffic & Conversions
Believe it or not, the website traffic you'll generate from Google+ can actually be higher quality than that generated from Twitter, Instagram, or some other sites. That means higher page views, longer time spent on your website, more ad impressions to display, and more conversions (subscriptions, downloads, form submissions, and sales). Maybe it's because some of your Google+ connections know you more personally than your followers on other accounts like Twitter. Perhaps it's because G+ users might be a little more serious than the teenagers dominating Instagram and Snapchat. And it could possibly be due to the fact that many people sit at their desk from 9-5 Monday through Friday with their Gmail accounts open the entire time. Regardless, if you're hoping for more page views and conversions then Google+ could help.
Also keep in mind that because Google+ is much less active and congested than other social media networks, your posts are more likely to stand out instead of getting lost in the shuffle.
Search Engine Optimization
The small but still significant SEO benefits of G+ are honestly why many people still use their Google+ accounts or create accounts for new businesses. Website posts that are shared, +1'd, commented on, and clicked on can enjoy SEO benefits which will lead to more coveted organic traffic to your website(s). A recent Moz SEO study and dozens of other independent studies still find a positive correlation between Google+ content shares / +1's and a higher Pagerank. And do you really think Google is 100% unbiased when it comes to deciding on how their own programs impact search rankings?
How much of an SEO improvement you'll get from Google+ is indeed debatable. What is not debatable is the fact that your websites will benefit from being on Google+ dozens, hundreds, or thousands of times as opposed to to your websites not being on Google+ at all.
Even though Google+ has been rightfully delegated to a secondary social media platform, the majority of websites still have built in share buttons for their pages to be shared on Google+ (including this page right here). You'll also find countless websites that still link to their business Google+ pages along with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
Grow Your YouTube Channel
As I mentioned, Google+ is integrated with so many popular Google programs, with YouTube being the most popular. For awhile Google made Google+ mandatory for all YouTube accounts but in 2015 they removed that requirement. Technically they broke up YouTube and Google+ but tens of millions of accounts are still linked together via comments and channel pages. By default most channels display a linked Google+ account and millions of additional users choose to display a link to their G+ account on their YouTube Channel.
As I've previously written about, growing your YouTube Channel can be very lucrative directly or indirectly. Anything you can do to help it is significant. This includes getting your Google+ followers on your YouTube media and your YouTube viewers & subscribers following you on Google+. By sharing your videos on Google+ and growing your G+ followers you'll earn extra traffic and subscribers for your YouTube Channel and keep them more active. Your G+ followers will be notified via YouTube and Google when you post a new video. Since YouTube viewers already receive countless emails about new videos being posted, this could help your videos avoid getting lost in the shuffle. And the more you engage with viewers or other YouTube Creators, the more followers you'll gain.
Minimal Upkeep Needed
The minimal time commitment of Google Plus is another one of my main points. It takes about 10 minutes to set up or update your Google+ Profile, 5 minutes to connect with relevant accounts, and as little as 15 minutes a month to keep updated! Why use Google+? I say "Why Not?" when you enjoy plenty of the small to moderate benefits listed above and it takes 15 minutes of your time per month. Honestly you could even spend 3 minutes per month and you would still enjoy some benefits. Wouldn't it be nice if Facebook was like that? Of course you could also spend much more time on Google+ engaging with posts. You'd certainly enjoy stronger results but that's up to you if you want to commit the extra time to Google+ or if you'd be better off doing so on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
If you're still unsure if you should start or continue with Google+ then just answer these two questions:
1. What do you have to lose?
2. What do you have to gain?
I hope you enjoyed this article about utilizing Google+ to help grow your business brand and supplement your SMM strategy.
Interested in more social media marketing strategy?
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Published by Michael J Schiemer
Bootstrap Business: Money - Marketing - Motivation
Digital Marketing | SEO | Social Media
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