Google plus - social media for business, pleasure, SEO and the future

Keeping up with all of the different social media outlets these days can be a headache.  If you're looking to create an online presence for your business with limited time, budget or comprehension, which one should you go for?  For me, Google plus is the winner all the way.  Here's why, infographic aside.

[caption id="attachment_16274" align="aligncenter" width="646"]google plus for seo infographic - search engine people google plus for seo infographic - search engine people (click for full detail)[/caption]

As well as the self-explanatory SEO infographic created by searchenginepeople.com highlighting the SEO benefits of Google Plus, there are other reasons to choose this platform.  The framework may look complicated, but the social media functionality works on a basic premise.

Social media is about interaction.  Google Plus makes it extremely easy to distribute your content to people in your niche.  Even if you have a passing fancy for an off-topic subject, it's not difficult to get involved with the Google suite of products.

It all starts with a Gmail account.  Once you've created that, you're automatically invited to open your Google Plus account.  From an online marketing perspective, this key development is priceless.  Affiliate and Internet marketers have, for years, been evangelising that 'the money is in the list'.

By combining GMail with social media, Google has allowed you to make your followers become that e-mail list automatically.  Unlike twitter and facebook where, once you get to a certain amount of friends and followers, the stream is a constant flux, Google Plus gives you the option to e-mail the 'circles' you create every time you post.

What is a Google Plus circle?

A Google Plus circle is, in its most basic, a group of friends with a similar interest.  If, for example, you liked writing, politics and films, you would create those three circles as a starting point.  You could then find Ed Milliband, Stephen King and Jack Nicholson and pop them into the appropriate circles.

Searching is simple; it's just like using Google search on the Internet, but contained within the social media site*.  But what if you wanted to follow Jeffrey Archer or Clint Eastwood, given that their carers have overlapped your interests?  No problem.

You could put Archer into both the politics and writing circles and Clint in the politics and films circles.  And, no, I'm going to resist the temptation of mentioning a prison circle for Lord Archer.  You can then be very specific about who you share what with.

Enter your post, video or link into the "Share what's new" box, choose the circles from a drop down list (intuitive text) that you want to post to below the content - public if it's relevant to everyone - and hit the 'post comment' button.

Being choosy about whom you share what content with is very important to grow and retain your followers.  The same is true for using the e-mail facility.  The more specific you are with your content and who you target with it works on two levels:

  1. People are less likely to dump you out of a circle for sending them shite they're not interested in

  2. Like e-mail lists, followers are more likely to trust you, hence become converts, if you're sending them genuinely useful information.

By targeting specific people relative to your niche, you can build a loyal following very quickly on Google Plus.  In the same breath, start taking advantage and you can lose them in double quick time.

Google Plus Pages

The impact on page rankings of attracting people to interact with your website cannot be overlooked.  The same is true of your Google Plus page for business.  Already, there are users of Google's social media platform who've dispensed with a normal website for blog posts.

They use their personal account to share interactive content and do market testing, content that would traditionally have been a blog post.  On their Google Plus page, they display more specific business content.  Given that you can also appoint people to manage your business page, it opens up the possibility of an even wider audience.

The page ranking effect gets compounded when people start to share your website content on Google Plus.  This is made a whole lot easier if it's on your Google Plus page in the first place.  You know it's indexed, you know it's shareable.  You know that when you get +1's from followers, Google's 'like' equivalent, it instantly counts as a tick in your SERPs box.

When you add the 'Hangout' facility - a video conference for connected/circled users - you are in the realms of a virtual office.  With the ability to collaborate in Google Docs  and instantly launch content into cyberspace, you can talk about your project live, put the finishing touches to it and publish it to your Google Plus account in literally seconds.

There are fancy cloud systems, there are social media sites with perhaps better personal facilities.  But if you want social media that integrates your office, your website, your content and your filing cabinet, Google Plus wins hands down for me every single time.

Read the search engine people SEO infographic (fully displayed if you click the image), join me on Google Plus and I'll show you even more.  I'll even welcome you to my office and pop the kettle on.  Pull up a chair, why don't you?

*Searching for content can draw webpages from the Internet into the G+ stream if relevant

Have Your Say: What's your number one tip for Google Plus? And is there anything you're unsure of/don't like about Google's social media platform?