The Feature Our Happiest Customers Love Most
By Gemma JoyceFeb 28
Despite all the controversy, Google+ is alive and well and still remains in the social race.
Reported to have over 300 million in-stream active users, Google+ benefits from engaged audiences, dedicated communities and a large number of brand advocates.
Whilst being faced with such a wide range of options, when it comes to choosing the best social media platforms for your business in a highly competitive digital space, we were curious to find out which are the key features that differentiate Google+ and make it stand out from all the other social channels.
To get all those juicy insights, we reached out to eight top influencers, highly active on Google+, and we kindly asked them to share their views with us. Let’s have a look at what they’ve said!
Google+ provides a powerful impact on personalized search results. In short, if someone follows you, OR, follows someone who shares/reshares/+1s your content, that content will show up significantly higher in the search results than it otherwise normally would.
When logged in, I regularly demo for people content ranking in the #2 spot in the results, and then show it drop to position 12 when I log out. This is a very important benefit of the platform!
A word of warning – this does not mean that G+ drives ALL SEO. The impact is tied to personalized results as outlined above, and there are many people out there who are confused about this subtle point. Nonetheless, the impact is a powerful one!
The circles functionality provides a great mechanism for grouping your contacts into the relevant categories. When you are sharing content you can share to relevant circles or all of the circles and when you are viewing content you can filter by circles.
One other really great piece of functionality is being able to share circles with colleagues and they can then create a circle based on these contacts. Overall it’s extremely powerful functionality and it’s a pity it’s not available in other platforms.
Google+, better than any other social network, serves as a learning tool to users, at least those who choose to use it that way. No where else have I found such a wealth of knowledge and information.
But most importantly, if you circle the right people and businesses, every time you log into Google+, you’ll have a veritable University at your fingertips.
I’ve been particularly careful and specific about who I circle, and to what circles I put them in. I pay close attention to the volume levels assigned to my circles, and only put the most knowledgable and authoritative people into my highest volume circles (All Posts or Notify Me).
Google+ is a social network that is interest driven. It is much easier to find others that share similar interests there and when you connect with them, you’ve already got things in common that can move your relationship building process along much more efficiently.
Plus you end up with the power of Google.com search assisting your social media efforts, and if you use the built in tool called Hangouts on Air, you end up with the power of Google Search & YouTube helping you get found online.
I’ve personally found that I’ve been able to grow a following much easier on Google+ than the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Pinterest. One of the key reasons for this is because there are features you can use to engage with your audience easier.
– There are less distractions from ads which puts the focus on content (Facebook, in comparison is covered with ads in the sidebar and newsfeed).
– You can write longer posts than on other networks, allowing you to create exclusive G+ posts with a lot of value.
– Google+ is more visual – you can display larger images which attract more attention.
– There are plenty of formatting options to add some style to your posts.
One of my favorite tools in Google+ is the ability to format posts, as most social networks do not have this functionality.
Being able to format posts gives you the opportunity to draw attention to important sections of your post you want to highlight to your followers. In this way, your message is conveyed to your network and they don’t miss what you think is important.
Additionally, by organising my network into circles, this allows me to reach more of the people who are interested in the topics I write about and not clog up another users’ stream with something they aren’t interested in.
Google+ is Google! Every Google+ post is indexed by Google and available to appear in Search, which is now personalized by default for e.g. Google.co.uk). This not only makes it easier to find the right content, but as you grow your network (i.e. people start to add you into circles) you can get your content in front of the right people in Search – this is what Social SEO using Google+ is all about.
Taking it one step further when you build relationships with the authorities from within your niche, or related niches, you will find their authority starts to rub off on you too. This enables your content to surface wider afield, i.e. beyond personalised/private results into Global ones too.
Google+ actually crosses the boundaries of many social media platforms, so I think the benefits are actually many. For example, Google+ posts are more visible and are less prone to being lost in the noise, when compared to something like Twitter.
Also, the Google+ audience are usually more interested in a specific subject (which is why you connect with them, I hope) and so more likely to care for your post. Compare this with Facebook, where the focus is family and friends. And this attention can of course be amplified if you share to specific circles, especially if your account covers lots of different interests.
We hope that you found all these insights useful, and if you haven’t given Google+ a chance yet, perhaps you’ll consider giving it a try this year as part of your social media strategy.
We’d love to hear what you think! Is there anything in particular you like and find beneficial to your business about Google+? On the contrary, are there any aspects you would like to change? Let us know!
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