After three years, Google+ still remains a topic of debate among B2B marketers. There are many that still do not see the value in the network, denouncing it a "ghost town" and speculating when it will shutter its doors. If you're of the same mindset, consider this: Google+ is the second largest network with over 300 million active monthly users worldwide. Of course the major questions remain: Is Google+ relevant to B2B and is it worth your time? The answer to both questions is yes.
Why Does Google+ Matter
The main reason many marketers are taking a second look at Google+ is its ability to affect page ranking on many levels. As you might expect, Google+ is tightly integrated with the Google search engine. Your updates and posts will therefore have a better chance of ranking higher than other content not listed on Plus.
More importantly, Google uses certain social signals as indicators when determining page rank. This means that the more shares and +1s your posts receive, the better your search position. Of course, you will need to earn those shares and +1s by actively engaging in the Plus community.
Like other social platforms, you get what you put in with Google+. In order to grow your audience you need to engage with the Google+ community. Luckily, Google Community makes it very easy to find and interact with others in your industry. Not only can you share your own expertise and advice on certain topics, you also will learn even more about your industry as others post their own tips. As with other social platforms, Google+ encourages multi-directional dialogue so you need listen as well as speak.
The best way to build your influence is to participate in conversations, respond to comments and comment on other people's content. In the process, you build your authority and eventually position yourself as an expert in your field. Naturally, the content you provide, whether your own or even simple comments, will need to provide valuable information or insight into a topic if you want to increase your influence.
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How to Use Google+ Successfully
If you want to get the most out of your B2B marketing efforts on Google+, you should follow these steps on a daily basis:
- Use Circles – One of the key features of Google+ is called Circles. This allows you to segment your followers into different categories thus providing personalized and intimate conversations.
- Keep up with your Plus stream – Read updates and articles in your influencers circle as well as what's hot. I'll keep you up-to-date on your industry as well as trending topics.
- Share content daily – The key here is to share quality content that is relevant, engaging and useful to your audience. Use visuals and formatting options to really make your content pop.
- Reach out to influencers – Share at least two posts a week by industry influencers on your business page and be sure to mention them.
- Host Hangouts – Hangouts is an excellent way to reach out to potential customers and influencers. You can host things like a Q&A or product tutorial. Not only will it humanize your business, it also increases your authority and reach.
Incorporate Google+ in your B2B Strategy
As much as marketers might declare Google+ 'dead' in truth it is still going strong. Top brands on Google+ collected 90 percent as many fans as on Twitter and they are seeing twice the engagement per follower as their Tweets. Brands that see the best ROI use it as a tool to engage with people and add value, not to advertise.