Google+, the runt of the social media litter.

Google+  is the new kid in class. Ok, maybe he’s been around for a while, but we’ve only just noticed him (yes, I am assigning genders to social media platforms and Google+ feels like a male). He’s kind of similar to everyone  else, but he does things a little differently and talks weird. Google+ has been left out in the cold in favour of the popular crowd for a while now, and even  though some vague statistics tells us that he’s big news in certain circles, most of us are approaching with caution.

Have I exhausted this analogy enough now?

With many resenting being ‘forced’ to sign up to Google+, particularly if all they want to do is say something insightful or offensive about a YouTube video, and the inevitable bad press that follows, it’s easy to forget all about the benefits of adopting Google+  into the social media family.

Now here’s why you should take a deep breath and play nice-

SEO

google-plus-seo

Love it or loathe it, Google favours it’s own content. This means that any content that you post via Google+ is prioritised and will consequently claw it’s way up Google’s search pages faster than if you post it elsewhere, especially if it’s been +’d by a few people. Personally, I think it’s pretty cool of Google to help out those of us who are a little more…Search-Engine-Optimisation-ally challenged, however this is only worth while if you’ve completed your profile properly. Up to 77 characters of your profile’s introduction will be shown next to your content in Google search results, so you’re really missing a trick if you don’t spend a little time filling this in thoughtfully.

Authorship

If you’re trying to build up a reputation as an expert in your field then it’s worth swatting up on Google+ Authorship. As well as giving you access to Author Stats analytics, this feature allows you to link your profile to content that you create across the web and get your profile picture next to any of your content that appears in search results. Why is this important? Because people like pictures and having a picture of your gorgeous face will help to boost your click-through rate.

Local Business Features

Now, I realise that citing ‘Business pages‘ as a benefit of Google+ might seem like I’m clutching at straws, but as someone who has become increasingly exacerbated by the limited features of Facebook’s business pages, Google+’s offering had me breathe a huge, week-long sigh of relief. First up, your business page can do everything that your personal profile can do and you’re given much more space to wax lyrical about your business. You can be much more specific about what kind of business or organisation you have, therefore helping you to connect with relevant contacts and customers. Connecting locally is something that we are passionate about here at SocialSignIn, and the biggest reason we support Google+ in our software.

Bear in mind that when your business page shows up in search results, your last status update will too, so remember to stay active on Google+; no one likes to think that they’re talking to radio silence.

Still need a little extra convincing? Well, Circles (the feature that allows you to organise your contacts into groups and create custom content for them) is pretty nifty and Hangouts On Air are a great chance to hold expert panels and Q & A sessions if you’re feeling really ballsy.

So, in short, it’s worth trying to make friends with the new kid; he’s not going anywhere. Google+ is perhaps a little more needy than other sites and the key thing to remember is ‘you get out what you put in‘; if you take the time to get to know Google+ and consistently post creative and relevant content then you really can build a large network.

Whatever your current relationship status with Google+, let us know by commenting and tweeting!

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