Now that Google+ has debuted its brand pages many people are scratching their heads, wondering what advantages they offer. Why do businesses need yet another social platform? Can’t we just stick with the company Facebook page?!
I want to highlight the top five benefits and features of Google+ Pages that make the platform ideal for businesses:
1. Search Rankings
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, recently confirmed that social signals (public activity on social platforms) are a factor in search engine rankings. Since G+ is part of Google, it stands to reason that increased activity and engagement on pages can help significantly. While it’s not anything more than my own anecdotal experience, I have seen a significant jump in rankings on my personal Web projects since creating pages for them.
2. Direct Connect
Internet users demand easy access to social services and features, and Google has provided a brilliant shortcut to page owners. All you need to do is type “+” and a brand/business name into Google search, and it will take you immediately to its page — if there is one. No other social platform can provide that.
3. Local Pages
“Hyperlocal” has been a buzzword for a while now, and with good reason. Pages can be set up to show where your brick-and-mortar location is, providing Google Maps integrations so that customers can easily find you online and off.
4. Segmented Audiences
Circles are one of my favorite things about G+ pages. When you post to your page, you can either do so publicly, which is visible in search, or to one or more of your circles. It starts off with a basic set: Following, Customers, VIPs, Team Members, Incoming, and Notifications. This is fantastic! You can post a special offer only available to long-term clients by simply posting it to your VIP circle. You can communicate with your team using that circle. And you can create as many circles as you need in order to refine your message-targeting. This is very useful for businesses with an array of offerings and audiences.
5. Bringing It to Video
Hangouts are the integrated video-conferencing feature on G+. You have the ability to talk to up to 10 people at once. The customer support applications of this one should be obvious. Just like updates, Hangouts can be made public or only to particular circles. I’ve used it to conference with team members in three different time zones at once, and it worked smoothly.
All in all, Google+ pages can be an asset for any brand, no matter what social platforms you’re already engaged in. While the user base is still small compared to Facebook, it’s growing at an amazing rate, partially fueled by the fact that Google is integrating all of its products together. If you use Gmail or Google Docs, for instance, there are Google+ notifications on your screen at all times.
Google’s sheer ubiquity will continue to drive growth and attention to Google+ for a long time to come. And those are two things every brand wants.
ADDITIONAL READING: Should Your Business Be On Google+