Does Your Business Need Google+?

by: Meredith Darling | @merdar How Google+ will affect online marketing for businesses has been the big question of the summer. The truth is that no one really knows yet, HOWEVER that doesn’t mean you should stop reading. Social media is a changing industry, and as Google has shown, it's all about adapting. Companies that are serious about their social media should not follow the “wait and see approach” and here is why:

It could help your SEO. Search Engine Optimization is what makes your company’s website come up sooner in search results. Showing up higher in search results usually means more traffic and more business. That little “+1” button that you see now in Google is a way for users to “endorse” the site. It can only be assumed that the more times people click the “+1” button for your website, the higher ranked in search results your company will be. While +1 doesn’t currently affect search rankings, it is set to do so in the future. You will also be able to choose what data you want to include in search results.

Google+’s project manager Christian Oestlien (@christianism) said in a post to his page on July 6 that the brand is working on business profiles. “How users communicate with each other is different from how they communicate with brands, and we want to create an optimal experience for both.” We can expect that some of the features that make Google+ great for personal profiles will do the same for brands.

Until company pages are allowed (expected by the end of this year) it is important to start building your personal page. Make sure all of your information is filled out and accurate. Get familiar with the interface by participating in hangouts, exploring the privacy features, and building your circles.

In less than a month Google+ hit the 25 million visitor mark (launched June 28, reached on July 24). An impressive feat considering it was still an invitation only social networking site. For comparison, it took Facebook nearly 35 months to reach 25 million visitors.

The basics

Circles: Share updates with only chosen circles (for example family, friends, coworkers, etc.). Circles are completely customizable. Hangouts: Video calls with up to 10 people at a time. Watch YouTube videos in your "hangout". Send video messages to individuals or groups. Photos: Add pictures as simply as drag and drop. Once pictures are uploaded, you have the option of editing your images (such as rotation and simple effects) right from Google+. Huddle: Group chat. Sparks: Recommended stuff to watch, read, or share based on your interests.

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