Many business owners are asking themselves if they should be using Google+. Josh Lloyd, chief technology officer of ShopVisible, recently shared an article on Forbes.com with his recommendations of why businesses should use the tool.
Lloyd’s main points for his recommendation were, “Better social search rankings,” “It broadens your consumer appeal,” and “Potential to upsell, cross sell and just sell.”
There are actually a few other important pieces of information that must be included when deciding whether or not to use Google+…
First, it is necessary to distinguish the difference between Google +1 and Google +.
Google +1 is a button you can place on your website that will help you in search if people “+1″ you.
Google+ is a sharing site that allows you to interact with others, much like a social networking site but with the added benefit of using Google’s other shared products (mail, youTube, calendar, docs, etc.) with everyone in your network – much like cloud computing.
“Lloyd’s article is a bit confusing because he does what a lot of people do, and that is cross the streams between Google+ and Google +1,” shared Social Media Strategist Caroline Melberg.
In the article, Lloyd mentions, “Unlike the Facebook Like button, the +1 button is not limited to use within the confines of the social network, but rather it’s open to anyone searching on Google.”
“This statement is true – the +1 button shows up in search results and if people click on it, it will help you in search,” said Melberg. “However, what Lloyd doesn’t’ mention is that the Facebook ‘Like’ button can also be placed anywhere across the web – on any website or blog – so people can Like you from wherever they are…but not within the Google search results.”
Here’s the bottom line: yes, businesses should consider implementing both Google+ and Google +1 into their overall search and social media strategy, particularly if search engine optimization is one of their overall goals.
However, if word of mouth and reaching your audience is a more primary goal than SEO, then it may be too early to jump into Google+, (with 100 million users) as it is a community of early-adopters at this point (not necessarily where your potential customers are spending a lot of time yet).
It may make more sense for businesses interested in driving word of mouth to really maximize the potential of Facebook (with 850 million+ users) for their business before investing the time necessary to branch out to Google+ effectively and strategically.
Should small businesses add the Google +1 button to their website? Absolutely, there is no reason to not do this as it can help with search engine optimization and is a low-time-commitment activity (adding the button to your site is not complex, but you may need your webmaster to help you).
However, if you are going to add the Google +1 button, then you should also consider integrating other social media connectivity (such as the Facebook “Like” button, Twitter “Follow” button, Pinterest “Follow” button) to your site as a part of your overall strategy. You may also need to look at the design of your site and determine where and how you will place these on your pages effectively for maximum usability.