Why Google+ is the new social king
Spring has nearly arrived and the days are becoming clear. This can only mean one thing: Social Madness is here. In a talent-packed tournament that is sure to amaze the most devoted of fans, this year’s contenders are merely an afterthought in the presence of The King of all social networks: Google+.
Both businesses and individuals can reap the many benefits offered by Google+, but for the sake of time we’ll keep the focus on a business’ perspective.
In an otherwise increasingly saturated social media landscape, businesses can take refuge and thrive in the fertile and untapped oasis that is Google+. Both the quality and quantity of features offered by Google+ are what make it so results-driven and essential. Whether it’s the brand awareness you can spark with hashtags, employee collaboration you can achieve with Hangouts or the customer loyalty and engagement you can create with @mentions and reshares, Google+ can do no wrong. But those aren’t the things that make it The King, so let’s get right to it.
Ask 10 people what content marketing is and at least 60 percent should be able to give you a ballpark answer. This is because most people, and more importantly most businesses, understand the impact it can have on brand awareness, sales, customer acquisition/retention, SEO, thought leadership and much more. Content, however, won’t do much good for a business if it’s not clear who wrote it – and in a world where “content is king,” Google Authorship is the one and only way of confirming that the rightful author is crowned.
Through its verification process, Google Authorship ensures that the aforementioned content is ranked higher than content without such verification, therefore giving bloggers, online community managers, business owners and indeed any ‘author’ a crucial head start in the race to the top of the search rankings. From a business’ perspective, this is a significant competitive advantage.
Another feature that every SEO- loving business should know about is the +1. The feature offers a critical boost in the ranking race, and the turbocharger that powers it is ‘personalization.’ E.g. Let’s say there’s one cloud storage business called ‘Dropboxes’ that is active on Google+ and another cloud storage business called ‘iClouds’ that is not. All other things being equal, cloud consumers searching for file hosting services who are in the same Google+ circles as Dropboxes will more than likely stumble upon Dropboxes first.
These consumers, (assuming they don’t log out of their gmail after every ‘email fix’) will include – but are not limited to – Dropboxes’ Google+ followers, Google+ users (followers or not) who have +1’d Dropboxes’ content, in addition to the brand’s own followers and any other users who interacted with Dropboxes on Google+. The search for file hosting services becomes tailored and personalized based on what the searchers, or their friends/followers/circles, have given their seal of approval to through +1s and circles. The whole process is about interconnectedness, and it mimics a neurotransmitter’s path through the brain. If a business wants prime real estate in Google’s brain, then it better create a Google+ account.
Industries of all shapes and sizes are participating in Google+ communities – users are exchanging information, sharing emerging trends and recommending tips and tricks to all who ask.
For more information on what this engaging feature can do, you can find my previous blog post here under ‘Google+ for serious and casual conversation,’ which further discusses the benefits of communities. There you will find that the land of communities is a regulated environment where businesses and users alike can expect their thoughts and ideas to be challenged by others, where they can engage in meaningful conversation and learn a thing or two in the process.
Unlike other social networks that also offer group-like interaction, businesses on Google+ can interact as themselves and engage with businesses or individual users directly from the business Google+ page (rather than reverting) back to the individual profile that manages or created the account. The benefit of this is significant, as it levels the playing field for all who partake in discussions – and it’s not rare to see a Google+ user schooling a business regarding an industry-related topic.
For all of these reasons, it’s quite clear that Google+ is the social media MVP. Improve your search rankings by interacting with your circles, engage with your consumers and build thought leadership by participating in meaningful discussions, receive the recognition you deserve and cross the finish line first. The checkered flag is yours.
– Justin Oram
Read our other Final Four blog post to determine whether Twitter and Facebook is the better network!
LinkedIn was crowned the ‘Professional network’ for a reason
One of the most valuable things a social network can do for a business is direct traffic to its website.
And while you can’t control the conversation on social media, you are in charge of your website’s presentation.
LinkedIn sets businesses up for success
Your site is where conversions happen, so a good social media network is like a point guard getting the ball to the right guy so his team can score. LinkedIn is the Magic Johnson of Social Media in this respect: 64% of all visits from social media channels to corporate websites are from LinkedIn. That’s twice as many as Facebook and Twitter combined.
This means that other networks may get your company a slightly larger number of followers, but the people that you encounter on LinkedIn are much more likely to become buyers. This is why it’s so important to make the most of your LinkedIn page. A strong company bio with eye-catching graphics, intuitive products and services pages and active participation make a great impression on prospective customers.
Another way to build a good brand image is to join relevant groups and participate in discussions. This is a wildly popular option on LinkedIn. With 8,000 groups in all fields (and even more created every week), there’s at least one your company should take advantage of and join. This establishes your company as a thought leader and increases your business presence. According to a statistic released by LinkedIn, people who participate in Group discussions are four times as likely to show up in search results.
If you establish a dominant, helpful voice for your industry, interested buyers will naturally gravitate toward your company when they need to make purchases.
More users are Linking In
LinkedIn is a time good investment as well because it’s constantly growing. Its user base was last measured at 260 million people, and has been increasing 38 percent year over year. A strong LinkedIn profile that represents the breadth of your company’s services will keep paying dividends.
I’ve established that LinkedIn is a growing network that has serious sales implications for businesses, but you have to build followers to take advantage of it.
While it’s not as easy to gain followers on LinkedIn as it is on networks like Twitter, it’s still very possible when you use approaches like: Participating in group, sharing relevant and helpful content or making a good impression with your company pages. Because the average LinkedIn follower has such a high relative conversion rate, each follower is worth incrementally more than followers on competing networks.
Followers flock to active participants
One B2B company in a technology field proves how companies can really thrive on LinkedIn. When it started using social media marketing, its content was shared infrequently and it didn’t participate in LinkedIn groups. After focusing on magnifying its visibility, adding fresh content to its page every day and increasing its presence in active industry groups, the company saw wonderful growth for its page.
It utilized LinkedIn pages for two quarters and added over 400 followers through each reporting period. Then, its follower growth increased more than 25 percent in the second quarter. The strategies were the same each quarter, but success breeds success in LinkedIn. Once you’ve laid down the appropriate groundwork, it’s very common to see a snowball effect in the number of followers you gain for employing the same strategies. And again, these are all followers that are likely to convert, which makes them especially valuable.
Success breeds success on LinkedIn
In short, LinkedIn should be a resource for any company, and is an absolute MUST for B2Bs. No other network allows you to give prospects such a complete picture of your business.
You won’t regret the time you invest the time in LinkedIn.
– Robert McHugh