If you're like a lot of small business owners, independent contractors, or freelancers who are using social media as a means of marketing, you're probably pretty sick of the all of the changes -- with new updates coming almost daily, it seems that by the time you truly learn the ins and outs of one site, a whole new slew of changes have come and gone. I know where you're coming from.
Unless social media is your business, trying to keep up with those changes can seem like a constant battle, but if you don't keep up, your business suffers. In order to keep up with the latest sites, you might end up taking time out of your day --time you don't really have-- to figure all these changes out.
Another Social Media Platform?In conversation last week, I asked some small business owners about new social media platforms they were using or planned on using in the future. More than any other platform, Google+ was the topic of conversation.
Pretty much everybody reacted the way I expected them to -- worried that they would have to spend more of their time on another social media platform, trying to keep up with the rapid pace of technology while doing whatever they can to help their business grow. To many of them, Google+ seemed like just another thing on the social media to-do list.
However, if you're like some of the people I'm referencing here and you're avoiding Google+ just because it's another platform you'll have to worry about, you may really be missing out. In fact, avoiding Google+ might be the biggest marketing mistake you can make when it comes to social media, and you could really be hurting your chances of growing your business through social means.
That's a pretty bold statement, so perhaps I should explain why I think Google+ is so important to your small business.
Google+: Not Just Another Social Media Networking SiteRight now, you probably think that Google+ is just another social media networking site. It's true that you have to build a profile, post a picture, add friends and follow them -- pretty much like any other social media networking site.
That's where the similarities stop. After the initial creation stage, Google+ is a completely different animal.
Google+ and SEOOnce you forget about the social networking aspects of Google+ -- which of course can be beneficial, though they're not exactly groundbreaking -- lies the real benefit of Google+: the ability to incorporate SEO.
Google+ is changing the way people are viewing SEO and how it relates to social media networking. Some people have even coined a term for this new type of SEO: social search.
Sounds pretty powerful, doesn't it?
We've seen evidence that Google gives websites who have +1's preference in their organic rankings. So even for users who are not searching directly in Google Plus, your site will rank higher in the SERP's if you are garnering those coveted +1's. And the more you have an engaged audience in Google Plus, the more +1's you can get.
The Social Search FutureWhen you open up Google and do a search, you're not getting the same results as everybody else. Why not? Because of a variety of factors like your location and connections. Google looks at all of these factors and shows information based on your network connections.
The ability to incorporate SEO into your Google+ profile and posts are what make it so important for you to use. Not to mention the fact that Google-related sites are going to come up first in search results, which means that your Google+ content is more likely to get seen than content on other social media platforms like Facebook.
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Avoiding Google+ is going to hurt your business over time. Your positions may be replaced with other sites and businesses that have a more obvious presence on Google+.
Your Google+ profile will also help to strengthen your relationship with Google, so to speak. Google puts a lot of emphasis on showing content created by authorities in a certain field. By avoiding Google+, you'll be losing out on that status, and letting other businesses become the leading authority on a topic instead of you.
The more authoritative a business appears in Google's eyes, the higher they'll come up on search engine results pages (SERPs). Unfortunately, that won't be your business if you don't get on the Google+ bandwagon.
Make sure you set up your Authorship and add your site and other blogs you write for in the Contributors section. This will help immensely.
Don't Waste Any More TimeWhen it comes to social media marketing, the people who get the most benefit from it are the ones who don't hesitate -- the ones that get excited about a potential new platform as a way to grow their business.
A lot of people have said that Google+ couldn't be as successful as Facebook. Whether that's true or not has yet to be seen.
However, there are benefits of using Google+ for businesses. Maybe more important than the benefits is the potential harm that not using Google+ could bring.
Sign up for Google+ now and start learning how to use it. If you don't, you could see reduced search engine results, and your lack of presence on Google+ could be helping your competitors, leaving you in the dust.