One thing is certain: Google has the ability to drive traffic to a site. In its pre-inception phase, Google+ is already generating buzz for the number of referrals it has been sending to websites. For businesses that position themselves to benefit from Google+’s marketing edge, the upcoming social networking site could mean big money for small businesses.
Much has been said in recent days about Google+’s decision to limit pages to individuals only. The motive behind this is related to the site’s desire to keep its service as clean as possible. The marketing and spam that have plagued other social networking sites have no place in Google+’s business model.
With that in mind, how can small businesses take advantage of what Google+ offers? First is the “circle” feature, which allows you to create separate groups of contacts for your customers, associates, and leads. Set up an individual page and share your company information with groups of friends in a way that is relevant and interesting. If you are offering a viable product, word will easily spread throughout the site.
Use Google+’s Sparks feature to notify you whenever content is posted that you might be interested in. This will introduce you to other members with whom you share interests, providing a valuable networking opportunity.
Adding the Google+ button to your website can vastly affect your success on the networking site. Not only can you increase your Google+ network by doing this, you can increase your visibility on Google.
But mostly, having a presence there shows you’re plugged in. Your customers will appreciate your presence on every social networking site, and see it as your attempt to stay in touch with your customer base.
“You’ve got to communicate with your customers wherever they are,” Larry Kim of WordStream told Information Week. “If they’re flocking to Google+, go there and don’t fight it.”
Another way to increase your online presence using Google+ is to post your Google+ feed to your RSS feed. Like announcing your Google+ presence on your website, this is a way to let your customers know you’re on Google+, building your network of friends and associates on the site.
You can also use Google+’s tools to save your small business time and money. Google+’s “Hangout” area allows up to ten people to video chat, creating virtual meetings with your staff. Imagine the money you’ll save on travel expenses in meeting with long-distance clients. Not to mention the time you can save by allowing your staff to call in from home.
While Google+ works out a way to incorporate businesses into its social networking mold, the company is currently asking for companies to help beta test the business aspects of its site. Thousands of companies applied to be part of the program, showing Google+ what an important force it can be in the business world. The site has announced plans to adapt corporate accounts into its site later this year, depending on how testing goes. In the meantime, set up an individual account and start learning how Google+ can help you network.