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Top Reasons Your Small Business Should Use Google+

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Google+ for Small BusinessThe number of social media outlets continues to expand. Because of its quantity of users, Facebook is a must for most businesses, especially if they are consumer focused (B2C). Beyond that, the debate opens up. LinkedIn is extremely important to building professional relationships and for business to business (B2B), Twitter is the most dynamic, and YouTube has a sizable portion of the video market. But the social network with the most significant expansion is Google+ (or Google Plus).

Here are the top reasons your small business should use Google+.

  1. The primary reason your business can’t afford to ignore Google+ is its impact on search rankings (SEO). As the number one search engine, Google has incorporated Google+ into its algorithms. Here’s why this matters: Suppose your organization is on Google+ and posts content through its account. When one of your connections on the network does a search, your content is more likely to have a higher ranking in the results. Countless studies have been done on the value of page placement. Bottom line – the higher you appear, the better.
     
  2. Google+ is growing. The latest data indicates, with hundreds of millions of users, it’s the second largest social network behind Facebook, with just over 50% of internet users with a Google+ account. A business would be hard-pressed to ignore that many potential customers.
     
  3. Google’s integration is far reaching. Google Places and Maps, for example, impact local search results. When a potential customer does a search for a service – say, content marketing – a local firm with an active Google+ profile is more likely to appear near the top of the results. And let’s not forget Gmail – how long will it be before there is a closer connection between Google’s email users and Google Plus?
     
  4. One of the most valuable, new aspects of Google+ is its integration of Authorship. By linking a small business employee’s Google+ account image with, for example, a company blog post, early studies have shown an increase in conversion of as much as 150 percent.

    Google Authorship
     
  5. Everyone’s a critic and Google realizes that. Google+ Reviews are now showing up in search activity, which impacts leads and, ultimately, conversion. A small business can take advantage of this feature by proactively soliciting reviews about its product or service from their customers - see Flat 12 Bierwerks example below. The result – better control of the perception of your brand.

Flat 12 Bierwerks Leverages Positive Reviews

Many organizations and individuals have had their fill of social media networks and are content to stick with already established accounts that have delivered results. But the growth of Google+ can’t be ignored, especially when valued customers are at stake.

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Garbage Content In = Garbage Results Out

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Today is trash day. Every home in my neighborhood takes their trash out to the curb and a service comes to pick it up so we never have to think about it again. It's also recycling day. Next to our trash, with no less than three feet of space between adjacent objects, we place our oversized recycling bin. This is always full, which typically leaves us with only half of one trash can.

Every week I notice how some of our neighbors always have 2-3 full trash cans and often additional bags beyond that. These folks don't recycle, which is fine. Everyone has their own M-O. I do believe in it, though, and it boggles my mind how they have so much garbage, especially when many of them are empty nesters. Then it dawns on me - fast food or frozen, packaged foods.  I know several of them eat quick to prepare garbage food which equals lots of garbage at the curb. Food that is not terribly healthy for your health's bottom line. Lots of garbage coming in = lots of garbage going out.

Garbage Content In = Garbage Results OutThe same can easily happen with your blogging and content marketing effort. If the content you write and share with your audience has little to no value and only serves the purpose of filling a void or a schedule then it is very likely garbage content. And with garbage content, you'll get garbage results.

 

 


Don't "Just Write" - Write to Engage

There are many advocates of the "just write" philosophy which essentially means don't worry about the quality, just write as much content as you can to gain more search engine visibility and eyeballs. I don't subscribe to this. While its important to gain visibility through search engines, their models of determining what content is important and what is not changes monthly. And in the end, you have real people who read your content. If you put out garbage, they will become Tiggers and bounce away quicker than you can say "Bouncing is what Tiggers do best!" 

There is also something to say about frequency and this is where content writers often get tripped up. If you don't write often enough, then it's like a guy standing in a crowded place and only once yelling "I have the answers!" Some people will probably throw a glance but they won't stop. But if he yells "I have the answers" every few minutes, people will eventually stop. And if he truly has the answers and provides reasonable value, the word will spread and more people will stop to listen.

That balance, where content engages on a regular basis, only comes with practice, monitoring results, and tweaking. Practice is at the foundation of the "just write" mindset. But don't let that fool you into writing garbage content, or in other words, content that really has no value to your target audience. People don't like listening unless it is valuable to them and engages their attention. Your "practice" should be more about writing style and flow where the underlying topics hold real value.

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