Google+ has quickly become a legitimate force in social media since its launch in late June 2011 and its search and social implications make it an important platform for business’ marketing mix. Google+ is an ideal content sharing platform as G+ links have SEO benefits, and its Circles feature offers businesses segmenting options to appropriately target groups of followers.
The rapid rise of Google+
Google’s social platform quickly surpassed 100 million users in the early stages of 2012, and Google expects more than 400 million people to register accounts by by 2013. For marketers, the rapid growth was troubling at first, as they were forbidden from creating accounts on the platform.
All of that changed on November 7, 2011, when Google rolled out Google+ Pages, the platform’s answer to social media marketing. With Pages, businesses have access to all of the same features Google+ users have. Brafton recently reported 77 percent of the largest, most recognizable brands currently have Pages.
Advanced social content targeting
Leveraging Google+ as a marketing solution allows businesses to segment their audiences with the use of Circles, a feature that enables division of followers into specific categories. As such, businesses can share regional content with Circles created for users in specific areas. Beyond local targeting, marketers can segment audiences according to multiple demographics and content can be shared selectively with specific Circles. For example, content can be targeted at men or women, Millennials or Baby Boomers, and shared with only those users.
While other platforms used for social media marketing offer similar tools, Google+ prompts businesses to put contacts into Circles as soon as they gain a follower.
Aside from Circles, the Hangout feature has been used by businesses to speak directly with their followers through video chat. Businesses can conduct workshops and interactive webinars using Hangouts, which can help boost visibility and accessibility.
SEO and Google+ marketing
As Google search continues to evolve, the company is working more aggressively to integrate data from Google+ into its SERPs. It started with the “+” function, which allowed users to include the character along with a business’ name to navigate directly to that company’s Google+ Pages account.
Following came the presence of Google+ Pages directly within SERPs, along with the ability for searchers to add businesses to their Circles from the SERP. However, the launch of Search, plus Your World was the complete integration of Google+ to search, which has provided businesses with unparalleled visibility for their social media marketing accounts.
Search, plus Your World includes Google+ Pages and shared content in its results for logged-in users. While the feature has come under scrutiny from some, marketers publishing social content on the network can now see direct benefits from effective use of keywords, trending topics and other mainstays of web marketing in terms of Google SEO.
Google+ Marketing Resources
- The Google guide to Google+: http://support.google.com/plus/?hl=en
- Google+ Pages for businesses: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/google-pages-connect-with-all-things.html
- Five steps for using Google+ and content marketing to boost search and social visibility: http://www.brafton.com/blog/five-steps-for-using-google-and-content-marketing-to-boost-search-and-social-visibility