3 Ways to Get B2B Social Media Value from Google+

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 orthondontic 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?

Comments

  1. says

    This is one of the better articles I’ve found on Google+. I have a profile but still on the fence as to how effective it will be for me and if it’s worth my time. I honestly login, and immediately log out. I just can’t get into it.

  2. says

    Another advantage of Google+ is that smaller companies that can’t afford internal social network platforms can easily set up a company page where employees can form communities in Circles to share information. The company can also push out information to these communities. The Hangouts are an excellent way for employees in disparate locations to have virtual conversations, share documents, and watch videos.

  3. says

    Jeannette, That’s a really good point — thank you for sharing it. Do you think G+ is more suitable for internal use than Facebook?

    Ruck, On the social interaction side, G+ can be disappointing unless you have a lot of friends/peers using it. G+ can be a great source of information though, even without a lot of interaction — again, if people in your niche are using it.

  4. says

    This is an impressive post on how to use Google+. I like the Google + strategy you have shared. I think to make a lot of followers on any social networks, we need to share some valuable posts and share some good content. This can establish us as an authority in our particular niche.

  5. says

    Point #2 is why I’ve thought for a long time that I really must force myself to sit down and “figure out” if/why/where in the priority list Google+ falls for my clients. Google owns search. Social is infiltrating search. Google+ is Google’s social network.

    Article I read yesterday on Bing’s social/search integration has me wondering if I might be able to soon cross Google+ research/use off my list, though. I haven’t been a Bing user, but the fact that their search results will include Facebook and Twitter content (not available to Google) AND Google+ content…intrigues me. The idea that they’ll supposedly try to present a somewhat more complete SERPs picture by including data available through their competitor…hmmm…

    I don’t like having all my eggs in one basket. If I share all my content w/one company … or advise clients (especially the small business ones) to put time and resources on that path by becoming very active on Google+ … I’d be forgetting how quickly the web changes.

    Until I find unlimited hours to figure out Google+, I believe I might go with Point #3 as my recommendation for clients.

    Thanks for these great Google+ insights!

  6. Letica says

    Many companies (all that I have worked for) block social media sites siting distraction/time theft as the reasons. If we are to move to a model where Social Networking is useful in the workplace, these restrictions would have to relaxed. We would also face the problem of the personal vs company social media involvement/engagement. Would I as employee of company ABC need to have seperate profiles or just the one? There are pros/cons to both options. My bet though is that people would spend more time and be more honest in their private and personal social realms than they would be in a ‘company structured’ arena. The real value is in the truth and fully open engagement.

  7. Travis says

    I am having a hard time proving to my company that we might be missing the boat here. I think it is key that we review, but I keep hearing “It’s really not worth the time for a B2B”. Help me. Any other links I might need to read to help my case?

  8. says

    Our company Twitter, @QualityDigest, and FB accounts have been bot populated until just 2 mths ago. I have been spending aprox. 1hr a day on Twitter, about 15min at a time. My opinion so far: The value is definitely there. We are a B2B and the relationships developed on Twitter can reach past the company facade and enable me to make contacts that I would never had been able to reach otherwise. Some turn out to be customers or contributors, others are acquaintances that become important contacts to someone else. If nothing else, we gain exposure and garner valuable links by retweets. I am now exploring using FB or Google+ as a means of sharing content that is more involved that what the Twitter environment provides. One can spend as much or as little as one wants on social media, but it certainly does have value in the B2B world, IMHO.

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