The aim of this article is very simple. I have to convince you that you are making a big mistake by ignoring a major part of the future of Google, Google+
First things first, people simply don’t get this whole Google+ social media thing. You think it’s about posting pictures of cats, or your lunch, or your latest meeting, right?
Let me explain why this is SO wrong and hopefully I’ll open your mind to a HUGE opportunity for every business person out there.
Google is an ecosystem
If you use Google Chrome, or have an Android device, you know you log into the ecosystem before you start using a Google property.
Then there is…Gmail, Google Drive (which is amazing for collaborative working), Google Hangouts, YouTube, Google Play, Wallet, Google Maps etc. all connect back to your personal Google+ account. The image you use from your Google+ profile, for instance, will show across all those Google properties.
“But I’ve heard that Google+ is going to…”
Yes, yes, I’ve heard all the rumours too. The community members understand it better than almost any journalist though. So let me explain why it is ‘here to stay’: Google+ is the backbone to so many of Google’s products now.
It is integral to Gmail, Contacts, Search (G+ posts are all indexed), and importantly for you: Google My Business.
Google My Business is where you will set up a Brand page or a Local Page.
Go to www.google.com/business to set one up (but Google yourself before you do as you may already have one!)
A Local type page’s content appears in Google Search e.g. when you look for a restaurant, bar, noodle bar etc. This information is largely drawn from the Google+ page within the ‘My Business’ dashboard. Job done.
If you have a Local type business, you must claim your page, as you are missing a trick and maybe even customers too. With Local pages people can leave you reviews which gives you a great opportunity to manage your digital reputation too. With 5 reviews show with ‘stars’ in the results great for social proof, assuming they are good. (You may even turn around poor reviews by engaging and resolving any issues.)
Build trust, create a reputation and become an authority in your niche.
Google+ then, is your digital identity on the web. And why should you want to build up that identity within the Google ecosystem? Simple it helps show Google your authority. And when you do this, you will find that your content surfaces in Google Search (the biggest Search engine in the world) and also in YouTube (the second biggest).
Think of it this way, if you want to be an authority on a subject you go and spent time with the best in the world, the existing authorities. Then, over time, they begin to engage with you and see that you too understand ‘this area’ too. Through their digital engagement (including on Google+) they begin to show that you should be trusted in this area, and tell other people about you (sharing your content), this in term leads to you being seen as an authority too i.e. their authority rubs off on you.
If you want to go deeper on this, make sure you check out my buddy David Amerland as he is the master of Semantic Search.
So why would an entrepreneur want to be seen as an authority? Surely they just need people to buy into their products or service, right? Wrong! This is all about ‘who you spend you time with’ and as we know, ‘who you know’ in business is paramount. And in order for people to tell your story, and for Google.com to display this in Search, you need to be known for something. This is where is authority shines through, and people come to you to hear what you have to say.
Start creating content
If you are not blogging, doing videos, or have a podcast start now. These are the modern ways for you to ‘show what you know’ as well as connect with people who e.g. you invite onto your show with guests.
Below you can see me chatting with Sir Ben Kingsley in a Google Hangout-onAir. (‘La di da… I know!)
TIP: As I know you are short on time I am going to give you a super tip on how to turn 30 minutes of your time into 3 blog posts, 5 videos, and a podcast as well.
And how? Use the power of Google+ combined with YouTube:
1. Start by creating a Google Hangout on Air
2. Then, once your recorded it, get a transcript done for about $1.50 a minute (I use this service www.corporatewritingpro.com). This will give you about 3000 words of text!
3. Create 3 blog posts from those words
4. Download the video (from Youtube) and remove the audio from it, then you have your base for the podcast. You can even add on a fancy front and back end to it as well.
5. As you know have the video on your computer, you can dissect that into sections, add a video intro / outro and reupload each one to YouTube as a 35 minute segment.
You can also embed the videos into your blog content as well, which gives people an awesome mix of medias.
Make it easy for people to share your content!
Let’s say you are starting to build your Google+ network and blogging. You also want to make sure you make it easy for people to share your content to do this, add in Social Sharing buttons (as you can see below), including Google+.
When people click the +1/share button on your website it create a Google+ post box, sharing your content with the people who the sharer decides.
Tip: always share to ‘public’ for the maximum reach on your content.
Build a community of people around your content and they will give your Search results. This is a BIG thing, but it is what many of us have done on Google+It only takes 100 fans who amplify your content (+1ing and sharing it) to spread the word of whatever you are up to. Trust me, it works.
My sites now have 36,000 unique visitors a month for people looking at Google products and services in their business. About 50% of this is coming from Search results using the methods touched on in this article. Any time I have a new idea, a new product, I have a wonderful tribe of people ready and waiting to support getting the news out there.
It will take a little time, but if you are looking at Social in general then Google+ is the place to be.
Martin Shervington is a consultant, speaker, trainer and coach on all things Google+ As the community manager for Plus Your Business!, his role is to support individuals and new businesses to use Google+.