With so many social networks available today, it’s almost impossible to keep up with them all. Many small businesses stick to the two most familiar social networks, Facebook and Twitter, leaving the rest to the consumers. These are certainly the best two social networks for small businesses, but there’s one more they should tackle: Google+.
The search giant’s social media platform was launched two years ago, and hasn’t taken off with consumers in the way that Facebook and Twitter have. There are 135 million active users on Google+ compared 1.1 billion on Facebook. The average user spends less than seven minutes per month on the site, vs. more than six hours per month on Facebook.
So why is Google+ worth your time? As the online world becomes more competitive, SEO is becoming a key marketing tool for small businesses, and there’s no denying Google is at the top of the search game. In order to get to the top of Google search results, you have to play by Google’s rules — and now, this involves keeping an active presence on Google+.
Although it can’t be confirmed, it’s likely that Google takes into account the number of Google+ followers a company has when determining search engine rankings. What’s clear is that this follower number appears next to search results so, like Facebook or Twitter followers, higher numbers are reassuring to potential customers.
For those small businesses producing their own content, such as blogs and news (which we recommend), the social network has another benefit. It’s now possible for businesses to link their articles to their Google+ profiles, resulting in a more eye-catching search result like this one:
You don’t need to waste a lot of time setting up and maintaining a Google+ presence. Simply fill in your profile details, create a Google+ Places listing if you don’t have one already, and take a few simple steps to set up Google authorship if you plan on writing content. Then whenever you’re posting content to Facebook or Twitter, simply use a management tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer to send it to your Google+ followers, too.
Although Google+ may not be your first choice for a personal social media account, there are signs indicating it could be the next big social network. If there’s a chance your customers could flock there in the future, it would be wise to build a community there before your competitors.