Any time I’m asked where businesses should focus their social media marketing efforts, my default answer is, “Go where your target market or audience gathers, first and foremost. Everything beyond that is secondary.” If your target audience isn’t on Pinterest or Instagram, having a presence there shouldn’t be a primary concern for your business. Elementary stuff, right? Then, there’s Google+, which has fallen prey to a huge misconception among business owners and even a lot of digital marketers.
“My Customers Aren’t on Google+”
What Makes Google+ Stand Out?
As Damian Farnworth pointed to on Copyblogger, Google+ is unique, because what’s published on the social network doesn’t stay contained within those walls. Google+ was intentionally constructed in quite the opposite way. Google+ was created to encapsulate all things Google — to act as a “thread” connecting all Google products in one central hub.
So, unlike Facebook, Twitter, and others, Google+ was built to extend far beyond the social network and into areas like search and blogs via Google Authorship and Author Rank, YouTube, Google Places for Business, Google Jobs Board, Google Play, Blogger, and (theoretically) into every Google product in the future. With that said, let’s glance at some fun facts:
- “16% of consumers said they used the Internet every week to find local businesses.” – Search Engine Land’s Local Consumer Review Survey
- “Blogs are the third most influential digital resource (31%) impacting consumers’ overall purchase decisions.” – Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report (PDF)
- “Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube.” – YouTube Statistics
- “72 percent of consumers surveyed reported trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” – Search Engine Land’s Local Consumer Review Survey
The Obvious Conclusion
Google+ already has its hand in many mainstream uses of the Internet and there is every indication that trend will continue. You can’t ignore Google+ with the reasoning that your target customer isn’t there, because that’s essentially saying your customer doesn’t use the Internet for any mainstream purposes. In some respect, your presence on Google+ will impact how you reach your customers, whether that’s through the SEO benefits of Google+, a video being recommended on YouTube, customers leaving or reading business reviews via Google Places, or any yet-to-be-seen relationships between Google and the rest of the web.
Getting Started on Google+
Are you on board with Google+ now? Getting your Google+ presence up and running is a piece of cake, but here are a handful of great resources and additional reads I recommend:
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- Start following Mark Traphagen. I call him the “Google+ King,” but I’m not sure how he feels about that! Regardless, he’s the guy to talk to if you have any questions about Google+.
- How to Get Started with Google+, Your Complete Guide
- Understanding How Google+ Impacts SEO
- 40 Google+ Tips and Tricks for Power Users
- What Is the Difference Between Google Authorship and Author Rank?
- How to Use Google+ for Business
- A Freelancer’s Guide to Google+