Many B2B marketers have already been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to make use of Facebook and Twitter. Along comes Google+, another social network that the average B2B marketer just doesn’t have the time to learn and master.
There are, however, reasons to believe that Google+ will be more valuable to B2B companies than Facebook and Twitter put together. And since getting in early is a big factor in determining long-term success, B2B companies should test the waters with Google+ right now. Here are a few reasons why B2B companies, even in niches like restaurant card processing and orthodontic website design, should be using this network.
1. Google+ Has More Appeal for Business than Recreational Users
The Google+ platform resembles Facebook, but lacks the pizzazz. The overall Google+ environment — particularly in terms of features like Circles and Hangouts – has much more appeal to businesses interested in talking business, than it does to individuals interested in harvesting virtual asparagus.
Action Step: Set up a company Google+ company page, and use it as a conversation hub. Through Circles, connections can be categorized according to product, service, the nature of the business relationship. It’s completely user-defined. Circles serve as an excellent, laser-focused system for both gathering market intelligence and sharing insights. Through Hangouts, companies can host private, real time video meetings.
2. Content Associated with Google+ Is Highly Visible in Search
Not surprisingly, Google gives Google+ content favorable positioning on its search engine, which, by the way, has an 80% market share. There are two major ways a firm can strengthen its search presence through participation on the network:
Action step: Produce original content. Original content published on Google+ posts is indexed and ranked, and appears in both standard and personalized search queries. Keyword-optimized posts may achieve first-page positioning for matching search queries.
Action step: Deploy rel=author links. Google has begun to associate content with authors as well as with publishing sites, using what is called the rel=author link. If a company’s writers have personal Google+ profiles and link their content to their profiles, their content will be more widely visible.
At this stage, it is difficult to measure the impact of Google+ optimization with any precision, since Google is developing the platform rapidly and continually changing where and how content is displayed in SERPs (search engine results pages). Directionally, however, Google is giving us every indication that it intends to continue looking for ways to make Google+ content stand out in search.
3. Google+ Delivers SEO and Social Value without Participation
Let’s face it: a lot of B2B companies don’t have the bandwidth to post content and chat with business connections on social networks all day long. Yet even these firms can derive useful SEO and social marketing benefit from Google.
Social shares of content through likes and tweets increase brand awareness and generate leads. Social shares are also positive ranking factors for Google. While the Google+ share, referred to as a +1, may not be socially significant (yet), it is thought to carry more SEO weight than shares on other networks.
Google+ social shares have broader implications than many other network shares. When people +1 a firm’s content, it may become visible to their Google+ connections when they perform personalized searches, creating a social media/search ripple effect that can increase brand awareness and generate leads.
Action step: With this in mind, B2B companies can promote Google+ sharing simply by adding +1 buttons to key site pages and all blog posts, and by adding a link to the firm’s Google+ page to all site templates. Instead of proactively trying to build a Google+ community, firms can just make it easy for Google+ enthusiasts to come to them.
Time for a Strategic Social Shift?
By now, many B2B companies have had enough time to assess the value of their Facebook and Twitter marketing. If results are lacking, a shift to Google+ is a much better option than giving up on social media. For B2B marketers that have not yet taken the social marketing plunge, exploring Google+ could be the perfect first step.
Is your firm using Google+? How have the results been so far?