The following is the text of my presentation for local businesses,
The Power of the +Plus.
I have been using Google+ since it first launched two years ago, but didn’t embrace it as a source for website traffic and business leads until last Fall. Over the past 10 months, I’ve watched my follower count on Google+ increase by 3000% and watched Google+ become the single largest traffic referral source for my website and business, greater than all other sources combined.
More important than the numbers are the tangible results. In less than a year, Google+ has provided more leads and sales opportunities than every other social network combined, and the relationships I’ve formed with peers and colleagues are invaluable.
If it sounds like I’m evangelizing Google+, I am, but only because it works. For everyone.
Do you have a Google+ account for yourself? Do you have a Google+ Business Page?
if you answered no, I’m not surprised, and the perception of Google+ by many is that it’s not yet widely adopted. Yet the truth is quite different. In two short years, Google+ passed Twitter and LinkedIn and other older networks to become the #2 social network in the world next to Facebook. There are over 500 million Google+ users around the world, and that number is rising daily.
But interestingly, it’s not the number of users which makes Google+ so powerful. While it’s great to have your message seen by a lot of people, that’s really just gravy.
The power is in the fact that Google+ is a doorway to Google. Google.com receives over 90% of the world’s daily search traffic. That’s where you want to make sure that you can be found, and I am going to explain how you can leapfrog to the first page of Google rankings without spending a dime.
So what is Google+?
It’s a social network. While Facebook is for connecting with the people you know, Google+ really is for connecting with the people you should know.
Google+ is an open network where anyone can follow you. If your posts are Public, anyone can see them. If you share interesting and helpful information, it can be shared and +1’d by many people. Like Facebook, you can share status updates, images, links to articles and more, and those updates can be shared, commented on, and +1’d, which is the Google+ equivalent of a Like.
So how is Google+ tied to Google Search?
When you have a Google+ account, it becomes possible for you to appear within Google search results as an author. Content you have created can come up as a result if someone is searching on something you’ve talked about. The content can be posts you’ve created on the network, or content you’ve created on your own website, as long as your site content is linked to your Google+ profile. This is called Google Authorship.
This Authorship is a critical advantage that you can have over your competitors. Authored content really stands out within search results.
As you can see in the screenshot, verified authors get their image next to the content they created, along with their name. Most people would agree that if you’re looking for something, it’s those results that stand out, particularly if it’s someone you recognize.
Additionally, whenever you perform a Google search, the top results may contain listings from people you’re connected with on Google+. This is called You+, and while you have the option of seeing World results, the idea is that you may be more interested in results from people you know.
This is HUGE for businesses and personal brands! By creating connections and engaging with people on Google+, even if it’s on topics and interests that are personal, when one of those people does a Google search related to your business or professional topics you’ve discussed, it’s more likely that you and your information will come up first, leap-frogging over results and other companies which might normally be listed higher.
Every post to Google+ is essentially a web page. They are immediately indexed by Google and will appear within Google search results. So Google search results may contain your own website and blog posts, but also your activity on Google+.
Practical Tips on Using Google+
Let’s go over some basic techniques of how to get started on Google+.
First, make sure that you have a personal Google+ account and with that account, you create a Google+ Page for your business. As a business owner, you will be using your personal Google+ account to create a Personal Brand on the network.
Second, do not worry if you don’t see a lot of your friends on Google+. Friends and family is what Facebook is for. Instead, focus on looking for peers, colleagues, influencers, local businesses and potential clients. Do not circle everyone you can. Instead, circle people who you specifically want to engage with, or who are sharing information you’re interested in, either professionally or personally.
Google+ status updates and posts can and should be formatted like mini blog posts. It takes a couple extra minutes to add some line breaks or bold, but the impact it has on reader interest is more than worth it.
What should you post about? That really depends on your goals for Google+. Presumably its to get more business and gain more exposure for you and your business, so here are some suggestions.
Share information about your business, particularly stories. Stories about yourselves and your staff, stories about your clients, and stories about your industry.
Share links to content that you create on your website, and introduce the links – why would someone be interested in reading it?
Mix in personal style with professional content, just give some thought to what you want to share and what you maybe shouldn’t talk about. Again, remember that everything you post is Public unless you limit it to specific circles.
Which, by the way, is another way that you can really engage people on personal topics. If you want to share a particular post that will definitely only be interesting to a select group of people, you can make sure those people are in a circle that you’ve created and share the post only with that circle. No one else will be able to see the post. Circles are like Facebook lists. When you choose to follow someone, you can put them in as many circles as you wish. You have full control over the circles you create, as well as how those circles are used.
Join Communities. Google+ has set up the ability to create and join Communities, and Communities can be about anything. They typically revolve around specific topics and interests, but there are also geographic ones as well. I’ve created a Community specifically for St. Louis Networking that I encourage every local business owner to join.
When you join a community, you have an opportunity to talk about that specific topic in an enclosed environment. You can create posts yourself about your interests, and read posts from other people. Communities are a great way to meet new people, just like any networking meeting. And remember what I said earlier about Google searches? If someone circles you because you’re both in the same community and have been talking about a personal subject like, say, Fly Fishing, and then they do a Google search, if they’re searching on something you’ve talked about, like your business, it’s you that will come up on the first page of Google.
So Google+ is true social networking. You can connect with and engage with people on a social level, and begin to create relationships with these people that may evolve into professional networking opportunities.
- How to make Google+ your favorite Social Network
- How Not to Use Google+
- Secret Tips to Using Google+ Circles