With 540 million monthly active users, Google+ is now the second most popular social media network on the Internet.
As marketers, this social channel needs to become an integral part of our marketing strategy primarily because of this platform’s impact on search and other popular Google products.
In this blog post, I will cover the four most important reasons why every marketer should be using Google+ in 2014. So lets get started!
1) Google+’s Impact on Search Marketing
As we all know, search engine marketing is the cornerstone of getting online visibility for your business, whether it be through search engine optimization, increasing your organic rank, or pay-per-click for a select group of industry keywords. Being findable in the major search engines is imperative for any business that would like to succeed.
This brings me to the first and most important reason to set up a Google+ business page. By setting up a G+ page for your company, you expand its visibility for searchers. In practicality, your company’s profile image, recent posts, and number of followers are eligible to show up on the right-hand side of Google search engine results pages when it is relevant to the searchers query.
Let me illustrate what I am talking about by the way of a real-life example. If I open Google and put a search query in for the keyword “Lexus,” on the right-hand side of the Google results, there is a large area dedicated to the Lexus brand with information being pulled from the company’s Google+ business page. Information like number of Google+ followers, a two-sentence write-up on the organization, the company’s corporate logo, and recent blog posts from the company.
Additionally, you can follow Lexus right from the Google search engine result page, allowing the company to expand its reach quickly and easily. This real estate on the Google search engine results page is such an incredible branding opportunity for your organization, and the only way to claim it is through setting up a Google+ business page.
2) Google+’s Impact on Email Marketing
Another very important reason to set up a Google+ business page is that G+ is fully integrated with other very popular Google services like Gmail. Let me explain the integration here: as a marketing department, when you send out marketing emails to individuals and businesses that are using either a personal Gmail account or Gmail for business account Google gives you screen “real estate” on the right hand side of the page. Customers and prospects that receive email from you in their inbox will have the opportunity to follow your company right from their email account.
Additionally, the Google+ Gmail integration also allows recent posts from your company to surface next to opened emails. So setting up a Google+ page can help you can drive more content views of your G+ posts.
By way of example, I have attached a screenshot of an email that I got from HubSpot. In the upper right-hand corner of my email, you will see I have an opportunity to follow the HubSpot organization right from my Gmail mailbox. This is a great branding opportunity that you can only get by setting up a Google+ business page.
3) Google+ Impact on Pay-Per-Click
The other really cool thing about Google+ is its integration with Google Adwords. The integration allows for something called “social annotations” to be added on your Google Adwords ads. At this point, you might be asking yourself, what is a social annotation? A social annotation allows people to see endorsements from your G+ followers.
An example of a social annotation would be the number of followers your Google+ business page has. The really exciting thing is that research has been shown that Adwords ads with social annotation average about 5-10% more clicks than ads without social annotation. Below is a screenshot of the Lexus’s sponsored link ad on Google. As you can see on the ad it clearly shows the number of Google Plus followers that Lexus has.
4) Google+ & Social Proof
Why are recommendations and social annotations so important? Because as social media has grown and become a permanent part of our marketing mix, there’s been an emerging interest around the concept of social proof. Social proof basically leverages the “wisdom of the crowd.” We see social proof all around us even if we don’t necessarily term it social proof.
For example, if we go out in the city and see a restaurant with a line out the door and around the corner, we stop to check it out and find out what all the buzz is about. Conversely, if a restaurant is deserted on a Friday night, we consciously or subconsciously think something must be wrong with the place. The same phenomena is happening in the realm of digital marketing. When we see a blog post with tons of retweets, LinkedIn shares, Facebook likes and Google +1’s, we know that it must be a pretty good blog post, so we check it out.
To further leverage social proof, Google+ gives you the ability to add the +1 button to your website. This makes it easy for visitors to recommend the content that is on your site. The other great thing about the +1 button is it allows users to share your content with their friends, which will help you grow your audience on this platform.
G+ is a very powerful new platform that significantly affects Google search, Gmail, and Adwords. By setting up a business page you can enhance your company's visibility on search engine results pages, more readily garner followers through Gmail, and increase click through rates for your Adwords ad campaigns. So set up a Google plus business page for your business and start enjoying the marketing benefits that this new platform has to offer.