Google+ is a useful tool for getting your brand message out to your potential customers – just like Facebook, Twitter, and many, many other tools – but its still a relative newcomer with limited reach. Is it worth your valuable marketing time to build a presence for your small business on Google+? Like most business decisions, this one will depend on your industry, your customer demographics, and the details of your unique business. Here are the pros and cons of Google+ for small businesses:
- The functionality of Google Places has largely been rolled into Google+ Local. If a large part of your business relies on having local customers find you and visit your physical location, it might be worth your while to set up a Google+ page just for this reason. When potential customers search for your business, Google+ local will show them Zagat’s descriptions and ratings, photos and reviews posted by customers, and recommendations from the people in their circles.
- Google+ supercharges Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Not surprisingly, Google search engine results give preference to Google products. Google+ brand pages are indexed by the search engine, and Google ranks 1+ pages higher, so every 1+ click includes your page’s search ranking. You can also add a Google+ badge to your company website to link it your Google+ page, increasing website’s search ranking,
- Hangouts are great for connecting with customers. Google+ Hangouts make it easy for your customers to connect with you face-to-face through video chat. This personal touch is great for customer service; helping you sort through complex problems and show customers that you really care.
- Circles make it easy to send targeted marketing messages. Google+ Circles let you organize your connections by demographics and interests, then send each Circle only the information that matters most to them.
- Google+ serves a limited demographic. Google+ users are predominantly male, mostly young, and mostly very tech savvy. If your customers are primarily young, tech-loving males, that’s a plus, but if you serve a wider or entirely different demographic, it still may not be worth you marketing time.
- Google+ still has far fewer users than the other major players in social media. Also, as we’ve said, users are less active, and it’s hard to tell how many people use Google+ regularly. If your marketing time and budget are strictly limited, and the above pros don’t seal the deal for you, you may be better off focusing your efforts on Facebook and Twitter.
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