I must admit that when I first heard about Google+, my initial reaction was NOT ANOTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM! Since then, I have done my research and discovered that Google+, the second-largest social networking site in the world is a must for organisations. Here are some reasons why.
1. Improves visibility in search results
The higher the number of +1s a website has, the more likely it will rank higher on search engines. Adding both the +1 button and Google+ badge to a website will lead to tallied search results that appear as a single total.
If your ‘page’ is set up with location settings, when users search keywords that are relevant to your page, your search engine results will include your address and potentially a map with your location.
2. Provides opportunities to segment followers
The ‘Circles’ feature allows for easier segmentation of followers (ie customers), making it possible to share different information with certain circles, based on their interests or needs.
Facebook’s business page does not allow users to post to particular customer segments. As a result, communication with fans may be less targeted and relevant.
3. Offers great features
Google+ users can run ‘hangouts,’ workshops and chats through video. Organisations can host ‘hangouts’ with customers about new products or services, or run training sessions or meeting with geographically diverse teams. The ‘Communities’ feature is a great way of finding people or organisations your organisation can relate to and connect with.
While an organisation can post videos on their Facebook page, they are not able to run live video chats or workshops through Facebook.
4. Helps organisations control their online brand
Google+ allows users to comment on posts, but not to start new conversations. This means that an organisation has more control over what goes on their page and can therefore better manage their online brand reputation. This is particularly important for organisations concerned about their social media platforms attracting negative feedback from customers.
On a Facebook page, anyone can write a post. This presents both a huge risk and an opportunity for an organisation. While a positive post is obviously great for an organisation, a negative post can have very serious consequences.
5. Can make your content stand out
Organisation can make their posts stand out on Google + by adding some formatting variety. Organisations can use bold, italic and/or strike-through text to highlight important headings or passages to make posts stand out in a stream, as shown below:
This is particularly important given longer posts is acceptable on Google+.
I would love to hear from organisations that are using Google+. Have you found it effective? If so, how? If not, why do you think this is the case?