Google+ (also called Google Plus) is the latest social media platform to hit the internet, and it comes with many bonuses for small business owners. Search engine giant Google created + as a rival to Facebook, but it includes numerous features that make it more of a hybrid of business communications suite, social media site and search engine optimizer. Let’s take a look at the pluses of using Google+, and some drawbacks.
The Pluses of Google+: Benefits for Small Business Owners
As a small business owner, I’m always looking for free and low-cost ways to promote my business online. Social media provides great opportunities to network with potential customers and business partners.
Like many business owners, I first had a Facebook business page, with a growing community of followers. However as time went by and Facebook became a publicly traded company, it changed its free model to a pay-to-play model for business owners. Fair, perhaps, but now my businesses’ reach was limited as a free page.
Google+ offers no such restrictions to businesses or individuals. You can set up a page for yourself or for your business online. When you set up a business page, it also links to local search efforts, which boosts your website’s power to reach a local market – a plus for small business owners.
Google+ operates a little differently from similar social media sites. Instead of merely connecting with potential followers, you can add them to your “circles” and group circles by category. Friends, family, customers, clients, colleagues or other circles can be created so you can send customized messages to each circle rather than blast mass messages out to all.
Like most social media sites, Google+ enables users to share both links to web pages and articles as well as videos and photos. If your products are services benefit from visual marketing, that’s a plus.
Lastly, Google offers a neat feature called “hangouts.” Hangouts connect up to 10 people at a time in a sort of online video conference. You can share videos or even screen captures. Like the rest of the services offered by Google+, it’s free.
Drawbacks to Google+
For all of these wonderful features, are there are any negatives to using Google+? The two biggest drawbacks cited by users include slow adoption (also awareness) among their customers about Google+ itself, and the sheer amount of social media accounts most businesses juggle these days.
Google hasn’t done a lot to promote Google+. Sure, it’s online, and if you have gmail or other Google services you can’t help but notice it. Yet many people still don’t know what it is or why it’s a good idea to be on it. Until more of your friends, customers and acquaintances are using it, it can be hit or miss as to its effectiveness.
Many people are feeling social media burnout these days, and that feeling often extends to businesses. Small business owners juggling several social media profiles can feel overwhelmed posting, liking, sharing and managing their pages.
From a search engine perspective, anything Google does is worth noting – and participating in. While the company is mum about how much, if any, credence is given to companies using their platform for social media; most business owners are playing it safe and hedging their bets, setting up accounts on Google+ to cover their bases. Since it’s free, it’s a good idea to have a Google+ account. Be sure to manage it just as you would any other social media platform, and actively participate as often as you can to cultivate those all-important networking contacts.
Web Design of Palm Beach provides webhosting services, web design and more. Visit us online or call 561.262.5886.