6 Pros And Cons Of Google+ For Small Business
Has your business started using Google+ for content distribution and networking? Released in early 2011, Google+ is Google’s own social network, and was embraced early by content creators (bloggers, content marketers) as a way to share content and increase search engine visibility.
Last November, Google+ released brand pages, which are similar to Facebook’s Fan pages. Businesses large and small can use brand pages to connect with employees and/or customers in a central place, with all of the features offered to individual Google+ users. Should your small business make plans to integrate Google+?
The first way to look at that question is to notice some of the differences between Google+ and other social networks, primarily Facebook. If your business is already using Facebook, it will help you to know where the differences lie.
Circles and hangouts are unique
Circles are distribution lists you can create in Google+ to share content with specific groups. For example, you can share some content with one circle, and no one in your other circles could see it. Although Facebook has this ability for personal profiles, it does not allow fan page creators to segment their audience in that way.
A Google+ Hangout is a video tool you can use to set up instant group talks with up to 9 other people. You are literally “hanging out” with these people and together you can watch other videos, or just chat. It’s an interesting way to hold a virtual meeting, per se. You can use your integrated video camera to connect in real time, hold meetings, answer questions, or more.
Those are just two particular features of Google+ that are unique to other social networks. You can still do all of the other typical things, such as sharing media, discussing shared content with other users, and discovering new users and new content.
Search position is influenced
When people in your circles search for things using Google, relevant content that you’ve published will receive a higher position in the search results page for those people.
That’s a great benefit, but it’s important to focus on two things when considering this benefit: (1) It only applies to people in your circles, and (2) your content must be indexed, relevant, and already receiving good search engine placement to begin with. You can’t expect to go from page 50 of the search results to page 1 just because the searcher is in your Google+ circle.
This isn’t entirely unique, either. Facebook notes are indexed by Google, and because Facebook already has such strong search authority, you can also use Facebook notes to receive more attention from search engine users. Additionally, Google has been integrating social media into search results for some time.
What are the pros and cons of Google+
for your small business?
There are pros to using Google+, as well as some cons.
The pros are:
- Easy to Use: Google+’s clear, clutter-free user interface makes using the tool easy. This is an essential point since ultimately your time needs to be spent well, especially if you are wearing many hats as a small business owner.
- Segmented Audiences: Circles provide an easy way to share content among segments of your audience (partners, employees, customers, etc.) This can be helpful as a central place to connect with both internal employees and everyone outside your business. For small businesses that don’t have or can’t afford to build and manage a separate intranet, or for small businesses whose employees are all virtual, this could provide a nice solution for that.
- Fast Setup: There is nothing to customize or design, so you can be up and running very quickly. This is a stark difference between Google+ and Facebook, where fan pages are essentially miniature websites that benefit from programming and design.
The cons are:
- Yet Another Social Network: Google+ is another social network, adding to the number you may already have, and that adds more required time to manage.
- Audience is Smaller: While some businesses have experienced significant growth on Google+ in terms of audience, most deal with the fact that their audience on Google+ is significantly smaller than those on Facebook and/or Twitter.
- Must Manage from Google: While social media dashboards exist to help small businesses manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, and even Foursquare, there are no dashboards that integrate with Google+ yet. That means that you must log into Google and manage it from there.
What do you think about Google+ for small business? With its capabilities and unique features, it could take business, social media, and cloud computing to a new level. But is it too much? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a neon sign store that provides custom neon signs, and who also consults for an inspection company that offers Pre shipment inspections.