Google+ is shaping up to be the ultimate platform to share content, showcase your expertise and connect directly with your audience.
But even with 20 million-plus users already signed up, most of us are just starting to figure out how to fit Google+ into our social media strategy. Here are 5 major reasons Google+ should become an integral part of your marketing strategy—and resources to help you get started.
#1: Google+ Isn’t Just Different, It’s Better
Google+ isn’t just another social media site. It’s one of the best ways to share your content and increase your social proof. Why?
- It’s integrated with Google—the largest search engine in the world.
- It improves on what DOES work on other sites (and dumps what DOESN’T).
In “Is Google+ the Ultimate Content Marketing Platform?”, Copyblogger’s Brian Clark summarizes the site’s advantages for content marketers like this: “Google has solved the inherent privacy and ‘over-sharing’ issues that make Facebook problematic, while providing a rich multimedia and discussion environment that Twitter simply can’t match.”
In other words, it beats Facebook for targeted sharing―and the format, built-in comments and ability to embed photo and video let us share MORE (and better) than Twitter.
#2: You Can Target Your Messages to the People Who Matter Most
In real life, you communicate with lots of different people. Best friends. Family members. Clients. Potential business partners.
Imagine being at a party with ALL of these people at once. Would you talk to them all the same way? Probably not. You wouldn’t tell a competitor about a new client you’re trying to land. Likewise, you probably wouldn’t give your best friend a handshake and a business card! Google+ understands this. With Circles, you can put all these different (and sometimes intersecting) groups in your life into their own Circles. This lets you filter both your content AND theirs when you’re sending or reading updates. And when you’ve got a big idea, you can also go public—all from the status update area of Google+.
This is huge for content marketers. So much of content marketing depends on getting your content in front of the right eyeballs, not to mention as many of them as possible. Google+ has made that possible with just one click. When you share the right kind of information with people who are ready to eat it up and share it with their own Circles, you have the perfect recipe for maximum social proof exposure.
#3: What’s a Google+ Post Most Like? A Blog? Newsletter? Status Update?
How About ALL OF THE ABOVE?
A lot of big-name marketers are already “switching” to Google+, using it as their main social hub (check out Chris Brogan’s Facebook avatar). But if you’re just getting started, it might be hard to understand why it’s inspiring so much passion.
Tech writer Mike Elgan wrote a Google+ post recently that cuts to the chase on why this option is so powerful. Basically, even with a dead-simple interface, Google+ lets us communicate differently to different people—all from one feed:
“Instead of saying, ‘I’m going to write a blog post now,’ or ‘I’m going to send an e-mail’ or ‘I think I’ll tweet something’ you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you’re going to say it to.
If you address it to ‘Public,’ it’s a blog post.
If you address it to ‘Your Circles’ it’s a tweet.
If you address it to your ‘My Customers’ Circle it’s a business newsletter.
If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.”
The ability to customize the format and function of your content puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to sharing content and expertise with different audiences.
#4: You Can Show Off Your Know-How in Pictures & Video
With Google+, there’s no barrier between you, your reader, and the media you share. No more squinting at tiny thumbnails or waiting for a photo to load. Images and videos are THE focal point of your Google+ posts! You can now grab your readers’ attention with images and video that show off your expertise, right in their news stream.
And the Google+ integration with Picasa has another advantage: SIMPLICITY. Picasa makes photo uploading a breeze. If you have Google+, you have Picasa, even if you haven’t used it yet! For step-by-step instructions, including detailed screen captures on how to upload, share, edit and create albums on Google+, check out “How-To: Get the Most Out of Google+ Photos” by MarkZ.
BONUS: Did I mention you get unlimited photo storage on Picasa, too?
#5: Google+ is a Powerful “Instant Blogging” Platform
Forget 420 characters, or 140—there’s no limit on Google+. If you have expertise you’re ready to share with the world, this is a great way to get more eyes on your ideas. Just treat it like an instant blog, inserted right there into your friends’, colleagues’ and clients’ feeds.
For an excellent example of this idea in action, check out Facebook expert Mari Smith’s public post on a topic that always gets people talking: yet another Facebook feature rollout. Thanks to her clear, knowledgeable rundown (pictures included) she got a ton of comments, shares and +1s from others on Google+. No RSS reader required!
BONUS: Unlike ANY other social media site, on Google+, you can format your posts. Just add *bold* and _italics_ for emphasis—and then, just like a blog post, you can go back in and edit your posts if something changes or you spot a post-publication typo. Embed photo and video too, and look—you’re blogging!
Want to Learn More?
If you’re ready to start tapping into Google+’s enormous content marketing potential, here are some insightful articles to get you thinking about all the possibilities:
- How to Get Started With Google+, Your Complete Guide – Social media expert Kristi Hines breaks down everything you need to know about Google+, from filling out your profile to making Circles work to your advantage. Detailed videos included!
- The Google Plus 50- Chris Brogan brainstorms some provocative ways this new social platform is going to influence our worlds—and our business marketing strategies.
- For a totally different take on Google+, check out Reality to Soon Set in on Google+ by Jason Falls. Jason doesn’t think we should leave our other social media tools behind. Instead, he reflects on how Google+ might fit in with your existing social media strategy, and what business owners should do to stay one step ahead.