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Google+: why your business can’t afford to be missing out

It’s become fairly common parlance to dismiss Google Plus as a nearly ran but it is actually the new black of social media. Not only is it becoming a key social channel, it is gaining more and more active users.

Google currently estimates that there are 359-million active users on Google Plus, with this number increasing rapidly. With this many people actively using the service, businesses can’t afford to ignore it.

In May this year, Google announced 41 changes they were rolling out to Google Plus, with vice president of engineering, Vic Gundatra, claiming this was because, “Google is eager to make you happy”.

Happy it did make us. With a cleaner, richer web experience, more people are moving to Google Plus.

Google Plus focuses on three main areas:

  • Connect with people face-to-face
  • Post rich content, find consumers and segment your audience
  • Analyse your content

What are some of these changes?

Images
Google in the case of images has assumed the role of an editor and are ‘auto-magically’ enhancing them. They’ve taken a keen interest in seeing what works and what doesn’t and are now allowing for animated images in updates.

Stream
There’s now a multi-column layout with an option of remaining in a single column.
Photos and videos are now bigger, and things are flipping all over the place, so it looks as though the stream is animated. This allows the user to flip content to view additional information including related topics that are aggregated by Google.

Related Hashtags
Google Plus has introduced what they call “Related Hashtags”. What this means is, the content of a post is analysed and Google will designate the appropriate hashtags. Users will then be able to flip content and see other content based on related topics as well as current locations. Google has become a content aggregator.

Hangouts
Google has taken an interest in understanding the audience better by face-to-face communication. Social media allowed for two-way conversation but the tables have turned once again. No more is it a nameless two-way conversation. With Hangouts, companies are able to bring in their consumers and make them part of the family. Learn who they are and in turn they will learn to trust who is on the other end speaking to them. This has taken social media to the next level.

Ripples
Analysing what information people want has become easier with ‘Ripples’. Ripples are waves showing how your content is shared, talked about, who is talking about it and what they are saying. Understand what works and why it works and take a look at whom within your network are influential and spreading the information. You’re able to cater content to the right audience according to interests or products.

What does this mean for your business?

Google Plus opens the playing field in various ways. Namely:

  • Increasing your website ranking
  • Catering content to the right audience
  • Audience segmentation
  • Analysing content

Basically, businesses can increase traffic and ranking to their websites by sharing web content on Google Plus as well as ensuring they have the +1 button installed on their site. This alone should be a key reason to be on Google Plus.

How important has it been to filter out the noise? Google Plus allows you to segment your audience and share content they would appreciate and want to know about. Removing the noise without even being asked. That’s a +1 in our book.

If you as a business are not on Google Plus, it’s time to reconsider. Ranking first in search should be motivation enough.

Can you afford not to be on it?

Author | Zahira Kharsany

Zahira Kharsany
Zahira Kharsany is a social media enthusiast who began her career as an intern with the Mail & Guardian Online, a platform that shifted her focus and attention to online media. Her experience spans from the online portals of the Mail & Guardian, to the weekly print paper and... More