When Google+ first launched, I had the “honor” to take the new social network for a test drive before it became openly available to the public. I was not impressed to say the least. As a digital marketing professional, I quickly learned that boycotting or ignoring Google+ was not an option. With reports that Google+ has surpassed the 100 million user mark, can YOU afford to ignore the social network any longer?
Paul Allen, an unofficial Google+ statistician reported that the social network has grown more than 10% over a two week period. Allen goes on to predict that Google+ will hit the 400 million user mark by the end of 2012 (half the number of current Facebook users). A combination of these numbers and the recent launch of Search Plus Your World (SPYW) make developing a Google+ marketing strategy a must in my opinion.
Still don’t know what Search Plus Your World is? Take a Gander:
Google’s Search Plus Your World is here to Stay
According to a post by Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Land, Google search chief, Amit Singhal states that most Google users are happy with SPYW and that critics should give it time. He goes on to state that the product is not complete and that Google is producing something for the long term. Singhal also states that Google is open to the inclusion of other social networks as long as they can agree upon long-term deals.
PREDICTION: I predict not that in the very near future, SPYW will include results from either Facebook or Twitter, if not both.
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Why you can’t afford to Ignore Google+ and SPYW
I no longer feel that the question is “can Google+ benefit my business?” It’s now a matter of how soon. So now that we know Google’s SPYW is here to stay, what does it mean for your online business? Whether or not you rely heavily on search traffic for sales or as a form of lead generation, if you rely on search traffic at all, you are going to want to get on board with Google+ / SPYW sooner rather than later. The idea here is to build a strong Google+ following so the sooner you get involved, the more time you are going to have over your competition. The early adapters are going to get the most out of Google+ and be able to reap the benefits of SPYW traffic.
Creating a Google+ profile / business page isn’t enough. You NEED a Content Marketing strategy
I’ve said it in my previous posts and I’ll say it again, your social media marketing efforts will continue to fall short without a strategized content marketing campaign in place. Now depending on what it is that you do, your content marketing strategy may vary. Certain businesses can get away with “simple” strategies while others may need well thought, perfectly developed and flawlessly executed campaigns. Throughout all of this, the end goal remains the same, you want to flatter and engage with your audience and in the end, give them a reason to talk about and more importantly, for the sake of this post, SHARE your content via Google+ and other social networks.
To sum it all up, Google+ and Search Plus Your World are here to stay and I predict that SPYW will soon include other social networks as many of us would like to see. Whether or not you want to adapt to these changes is totally up to you but based on my experience and the obvious, I would jump on board with this one. Pardon my redundancy, but as I said in my first Business 2 Community post of 2012, Content Marketing + Social Media = SUCCESS.