In this post, I am not going to discuss about the social networking aspects of Google+ at all, but I want to share how small and large businesses can gain immensely from Google+.
Google+ came to being with much fanfare and with speculations to kill Facebook, but it ended up becoming a big ghost town! Over time Google has looked into much deeper integrations of its current products with Google+ and this is a trend which is going to continue in future. It is this integration that you can leverage very strongly by simple use of Google+.
Get more from emails!
60% of people who own an email account have a Gmail account. In October 2012, Gmail surpassed Hotmail to become largest Email Service Provider. What’s more, 5 million businesses use Gmail for their official emails through Google Apps.
There are some neat ways that Google+ is integrated with Gmail, and now you can use it to your advantage.
I sent a test mail from my official id to my personal id, and see how it looks on web:
There are two specific ways you can benefit:
1. Your profile photo: Human photographs increase responses. You might have heard and read a lot about it from website designers and A/B testers – and it’s true for emails too! If you have a profile photo in your Google+ account, your photo would be displayed alongside the email. This gives the reader a sense of connect and familiarity with you.
2. Recent Updates: I see this as a free advertisement I get to place right next to the person reading my email. It is a great way to send additional information to users, something which might not have been suitable to include in the email. It could be the latest customer testimonial, your white paper, your discount offer etc. Try this consistently, and you will see results.
And here is how typically an updates folder looks at one of my client’s mobile, who gets emails from me and others:
Now which are the emails which would catch your attention if you are browsing through emails on mobile?
In short, if you are emailing your customers or clients, spend just 10 minutes a week to get the right post for the upcoming week on Google+!
Get more from Search!
I don’t think I need to convince you about the dominance of Google’s search engine and the importance of getting more clicks from search results.
Now see this search result, which story stands out?
Even though you might not have the first rank for a search term, you can still stand out and get more traffic from searches. The photo here is picked from your Google+ profile, and you need to “Verify Authorship” for this to happen. (Read how to do it here: https://plus.google.com/authorship)
There is another way you can use search to standout from the rest. Your business page on Google+ is also shown alongside the search, and just like in emails, you get to showcase your recent posts here. See some examples below:
For this to work you need to complete your Business Page on Google+ and keep it updated. (Note: This is a Business page on Google+ and not Google Local Business Listing. Google Business Listings and Google+ is currently undergoing deeper integrations, and it may change in future). With a clever update you can gain a lot.
Lastly, add the +1 button to your page. It’s okay to be shameless and get your friends to click on it. The +1 button sends social signals, which are embedded much more widely in the search results/ While I can’t pinpoint the exact effect, one thing that is sure is that it doesn’t hurt to get +1.
When I search, Google shows my other friends who +1 the website as well.
I hope you try these hacks and have a greater impact from your existing efforts of marketing. Do you have any inputs, comments, or questions? Do share in the comments below.