In November 2011, Google+ unveiled "Brand Pages," enabling brands and businesses to use the social networking platform. Since Google is one of the world's favorite Internet brands, its foray into social media has been snapped up by business owners eager to improve their SEO and keep up to date with social media trends.
But is Google+ really worthwhile? What does it offer for businesses over the other social networking giants? These female entrepreneurs spoke up about how Google+ is working for their businesses.
Brittney Bogues, CEO of All In PR, a digital PR firm geared toward pro athletes and non-profits, finds Google+ essential for her business. For her, it's the way the platform integrates with other Google tools that makes it so much more than just a social networking site. "It helps with managing our calendars, internal and external networking, and keeping us updated with current events. This allows us to add real-time content to our client's digital accounts as well as our own."
Yolanda Shoshana, the "Luscious Lifestyle Diva," runs a lifestyle company for women. She's a speaker, consultant, writer, and wedding officiant, and uses her Google+ page primarily as a marketing tool. She says the platform has presented her with multiple business opportunities through networking with other professionals. "Through Google+, I have been recommended for writing gigs and invited on a few shows as an expert. I actually got a high paid column gig for six months because someone on Google+ had been following my work and recommended me."
Google+ Gives Rankings a Boost
And, of course, there's one key advantage to utilizing the social media platform of the world's biggest search engine. Ashli Norton, co-founder of SimpleLeap Software, the company behind Workitywork - an app that helps teams give kudos and manage their workday in a fun and interactive way - found that Google+ has been integral to raising her company's profile online.
"I've noticed links that I share in Google+ land in Google's search results much quicker than sharing them on our FB company page or on Twitter."
Quick indexing of links can be vital for businesses wanting to stay on the leading edge of their niche. It's no surprise that Google will be looking to its own social network first for the most up-to-date information.
Getting Results With Google+
So what are some of the secrets to business success with Google+?
Yolanda says she's had the most results using the Hangouts feature, which is a live video chat service unique to the platform. Google has recently launched Hangouts On Air, which allows you to broadcast your Hangout video for anyone to watch. Yolanda is very excited to use this service. "With the addition of Hangouts On Air, I am going to revamp my online talk show to launch a lecture series and connect with my followers and fans."
Ashli has found Google Circles to be the best tool for networking for her business. "I love sharing specific news and posing questions to the groups. Plus, when it's time to make a contact - for instance, with someone that may be interested in something our business is doing - I go right to the circle I need and contact everyone that would be interested."
In the beginning, Brittney found the vast array of features available overwhelming, and suggested businesses begin by taking a Google+ tour. "It helps you to grasp the superb functionality of it and how it helps your business stay organized. You want your staff to be educated on all the different dynamics of Google+ and take full advantage of what it has to offer."
Just like any other social networking site, Google+ can help businesses get ahead if they're clever about how they use it. Brittney, Yolanda, and Ashli all stress the importance of sharing information and connecting with your community. "Nobody wants to hear all about your business and your business only," said Ashli. "Make sure for every business-related message there are other interesting messages to follow. Keep it personal, keep it interesting."
Ekaterina Walter is a social media strategist and innovator at Intel. She is an author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller "Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg." A recognized business and marketing thought leader, she is a speaker and a regular contributor to leading-edge print and online publications. She has been featured in a number of prestigious publications and in 2012 was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media. She sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and is an active member of the Thunderbird Global Council at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
May 22, 2013
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