I’m going to go out on a limb here. I actually like Google+. There, I said it. It’s out there and I can’t ever take it back. For me the platform provides a rich media outlet where images are not static, they are dynamic. Videos are linked very easily to YouTube. The ability for community managers to administer multiple pages from the one account. Hangouts working better than Skype these days. It simply ticks all the boxes for me. But as I said, this is a personal choice.
The question is – should businesses be using Google+?
The answer – yes if you have the time (or an internal / external community manager)
Benefits of Google+ for business
Growing Platform – Whilst Google+ does not have the popularity of Facebook, it does have a fast growing member base. As at April 2012 Google+ had 170 million active users and expected to attract about 400 million users by the end of this year. (Source)
Development – Google+ is a young social network, and still has opportunity to roll out functionality / services that will benefit business. Being tied into the world’s most powerful search engine, these opportunities may place early adopters with an advantage.
Indexing – Google+ posts and a Google+ business page is going to be found by people using Google a lot faster and easier, after all when in Rome, erm – Google.
Functions – Google+ has given us lots of great functionality for business use. Hangouts for video conferencing, linking dynamic media such as animated GIFs, Images that are indexed into search, circles which helps your business segment your stakeholders and the +1 button that is now all over the web.
Customer Service – you can use Google+ to help provide customer services via video conferencing (hangouts) or online social conversation. Creating circles for your High Net Worth clients and your new prospects helps you provide the correct level of service to each of these stakeholders separately.
Community – Google+ is mostly made up of a male population with a high number of software developers and college students. There is opportunity here to tap into these two markets for your business directly
Overall I have been using Google+ since it first came out, and found that just by sharing content from my site, links back to my site and social media posts my PageRank has increased by a factor of two. And I have never paid a single cent for SEO.
I truly believe that Google+ is underrated and should be explored more by SMBs as a useful tool that you will grow to love. The key here is to keep using it, and interacting. Put the effort into Google+ and you will reap the rewards.
As always, Share+ Enjoy.