In many respects, Google+ was a latecomer to the social media scene. It followed on the heels of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn after they were already well established, and for many months industry commentators thought it was dead in the water. Not so, as we’re starting to see more and more evidence that it’s quietly positioning itself to be much bigger than was originally expected. For any business practicing inbound marketing, joining Google+ is becoming almost a biological imperative. Why do we say that? Because here are four ways it will help your strategy get off the ground more than anything else possibly can.
#1: Establish Authorship
Google authorship is the search giant’s way of giving you credibility. It’s all very well writing tons of content for your inbound marketing strategy, but unless you can prove you wrote it there’s little benefit to your company. By setting up and claiming your authorship, you establish yourself as a published author and an expert in your field. To set it up, create a Google+ profile and upload an avatar that will appear in search results whenever something authored by you comes up. Users can view the number of Google+ circles you are in and the followers you have.
You can link all your email addresses to your authorship account, which means anytime you post using one of the addresses it connects you to the content. By doing so, you:
- Do wonders for your credibility
- Get highlighted as a legitimate author and an expert in your industry, and
- Protect your ownership of content so if anyone else steals or copies your material, you can prove you published it first and avoid being penalized by search engines.
Google prefers content that has legitimate author credentials, so your posts are likely to do better in search if you set up authorship. The more you publish, the higher you rank with Google too, and the better you’ll do in both search and credibility. So there’s much more to it than a fad to get your byline on stuff – it’s likely to become the online equivalent of a professorship in the future, building thought leadership and boosting your brand image in your industry. In the not too distant future, you may find content authored by “admin” simply doesn’t compete in searches against material by a credentialed author.
#2: Claim Your Place
Google Places used to be where your current and prospective customers went to read—and post—reviews about your products and services. Now, the social media platform has been upgraded to form Google+ Local pages, which now gives you the chance at inbound marketing and to come up in the results whenever someone in your area is searching on your keywords. This not only optimizes your searchability in your area, confounding the argument that “my business is local so I don’t need to be online,” but also enables you to build up your online presence in a place other than your company website. You can upload additional information in the form of photos, videos, custom business descriptions and testimonials and invite clients to post reviews that are visible on your Google+ business pages too.
#3: Get Cheap (Global) Advertising
Once you’re established on Google+, the platform will allow you to turn status updates and other posts into online, Pay-per-click advertisements. In Dec 2013 the company announced the introduction of +Post ads, which are display ads of status updates and other posts. This gives you access to the entire web as your social stream, expanding your reach tremendously. There’s no definite date yet on when the opportunity will be fully implemented, but it’s coming. Meanwhile, use this time to get your Google+ page set up and shared.
Membership of Google+ is the online street cred of business future, and without it all the inbound marketing in the world can’t help you avoid being a non-entity. It’s free to join, it levels the playing fields considerably between large and small companies and it offers you an increasingly large pool of opportunities. Why on earth wouldn’t you want to join it?