Social media. It’s becoming a more powerful tool for businesses everyday. But with countless social networks available, which ones will benefit your business and which will just be a waste of time? While there are many answers to this question, there is one, relatively new social network that’s putting unprecedented tools in the hands of businesses.
Google+ allows businesses to create Google+ pages, enabling your company to better communicate with the world. Now that Google+ is available through the Google Apps suite, if your business is already taking advantage of the cloud through Google Apps for Business, creating a Google+ page is easier than ever.
The key advantages of creating a Google+ page for your business lie in the network’s ability to help you share with followers and promote your business online.
Sharing on Google+
Google+ has three main sharing features that prove especially useful for businesses with Google+ pages. The first of these features is circles. Through circles, you can create specific groups (circles) of people, organized however works best for you. The advantage of circles comes into play when you’re looking to share a message, a deal, or anything, with only a specific group rather than all of your followers. For example, your business may have a loyalty club that offers special promotions – now, with Google+, you can put all the members into a circle to make sure they, and only they, receive the proper information. Sharing through streams is yet another benefit of starting a Google+ page for your business.
The stream allows you to share videos, photos, and text on the Google+ network. When sharing with the stream, you can choose to make the post public or just for specified circles. While circles and the stream can improve the way your business communicates with others, the hangouts feature will not only help with communication, but will also improve your business’ collaboration efforts. Through hangouts, your business can engage in screen sharing, real-time collaboration with Google Docs, and video chat with multiple people. These sharing tools combined, especially when used in conjunction with the Google Apps suite, will ensure that your business has the best communication and collaboration tools available.
Promoting on Google+
If you want your sharing efforts to reach a large number of people, you need to promote your social media presence. With this point in mind, Google designed a number of promotional tools for businesses on Google+. One of the first steps in social media promotion is driving website visitors to your social media page. You can cross this off your list when you add the Google+ badge or icon to your company’s website. When people click on the Google+ badge, they can add your business’ Google+ page to their circles without having to leave your website. If you choose to add the Google+ icon, clicking on this will take visitors directly to your Google+ page.
Beyond promoting your business’ social media presence yourself, Google+ has worked to make it so customers can also help you promote. This is all possible with the +1 button. Now, your business can connect all of its +1s, this includes +1s for your Google+ page, website, and ads. Once your +1s are connected, people searching for your business will be able to view your +1s, including how many people and who has given you a +1. This visual, in terms of seeing the number of people and exactly who is recommending your business, is an excellent word-of-mouth promotional tool.
Measuring Efforts on Google+
If you’ve put effort into your business’ social media campaign, it would be useful to know how effective your work has been. This type of measurement is easy on the Google+ social network. The ripples feature of Google+ allows you to see the progress of information that your business has shared through its page. Specifically, you can see who is sharing your information and who is actually taking note of what your business is doing and saying. This tool can be especially useful because it can tell you what type of content benefits your business the most and which people are the most influential when it comes to sharing content. In addition to using ripples, your business can also use the analytics tool to track traffic. Google now has analytics you can use to track your Google+ page and +1s, this way you can determine what exactly drives in activity on your social media page.
There are endless social media outlets your business can use to increase its online presence, and given the sharing, promoting, and measuring tools available through Google+, you should definitely give this service a prominent spot in your business’ social media campaign.
This blog post is written by Sharon Shaprio of Cloud Sherpas, a leading Google Apps cloud service provider. As aGoogle Apps Authorized Reseller and Google Enterprise partner, Cloud Sherpas has migrated over one million users across all major industries from legacy, on-premise messaging systems to Google Apps, helping organizations adopt cloud computing to innovate and dramatically reduce their IT expenses.