5 Key Reasons Google Plus is Important for Your Brand
Google+ is quickly becoming one of the most important places for you and your brand in the mortgage industry to be highlighted. This is true for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business entities. Why? It has absolutely nothing to do with following a trend. It has everything to do with the visibility and prominence of your brand when searches are conducted for products/services that you offer or your company name.
Many still believe Google+ is just another one of several social media sites they need to get involved with…someday. Many even view it as something like Facebook. Despite the similarities, the two are quite different, especially when it comes to internet search visibility and search ranking opportunities for your content and your brand. It’s important to note that many in the mortgage industry are venturing into Google+ because they’re starting to “get it.” Don’t be left behind. Adopting Google+ as part of your strategic communications plan provides great benefits to the visibility of your brand.
Why is Google+ important for your brand?
The significant importance, and opportunity, comes down to search visibility. For those of you who have done some cursory research in the past, maybe you’ve heard or read that it’s much like Facebook. Sure, the similarities are there, however since Google has a direct stake in the success of Google+, you can be sure that significantly more weight will be given to content posts in Google+ over Facebook when it comes to visibility of your content (blog posts, videos, etc.) and brand in search engines. Google has 900 million unique visitors monthly as of 11/2013 according to eBizMBA. In case you’re wondering, Bing is a distant second with only 200 million.
Here are 5 key reasons to leverage Google+ for your brand:
- Search rankings: Whenever you post, Google+ gives people who read it the opportunity to +1 your post, similar to a “like” on Facebook. The difference? A “like” doesn’t translate to enhanced search ranking and post visibility.
- Circles: Google+ allows a very simplistic way of organizing your networks and sharing information with them. Therefore, you can label your circles according to different audience types like “business referrers,” “employees,” “prospects” and so forth so you can send specific messages if you wish to each audience.
- Form communities: The “community” function is somewhat similar to groups on LinkedIn. However, the added benefit is, again, the search value since now your posts, comments and discussions reside on the Google platform.
- Your Google+ profile can be linked to the content you create: This is what the Google+ authorship feature is all about. It means that whenever you publish content, it will appear in search results with your by-line to give it a more personal feel. Plus, the by-line links directly to your Google+ page. This is great for personal branding!
- Google+ Publisher: Especially great for a local brand that drives local traffic, like a mortgage company, Google+ Publisher connects a Google+ Local page to your website so that when people conduct a search for company-relevant terms, they will see what’s called a “knowledge graph.” This knowledge graph is a box on the right side of the search results that includes your picture or a picture of your locations, contact information, some profile information and other pieces of key information like your hours, location and ratings if available.
Once you’ve joined Google+, uploaded your photograph and named your circles, then it’s time to look up some of your peers, friends and companies and start adding them to your circles and posting content to share. If you’re looking for some additional help to learn how to get around Google+, here’s a great article called Getting Around Google+ that I recommend. It is a bit overwhelming at first, but after a bit of investigating and experimenting, you’ll quickly see how easy it is to use.
On the upper left hand side of your home page, glide your mouse over “Search” and then scroll down to “Communities.” Once you click, you can enter “mortgage” into the search bar to explore all of the mortgage industry – related communities currently on Google+. Select the ones you wish to join and explore posts, comment on them and even add some of your own. A couple I’d recommend include Real Estate and Mortgage Network. Depending on the service you offer, you can simply search for a group that works for you…or even start your own!
This action will help you establish you and your brand in the communities of interest to you. You’ll quickly find that some of the more “forward thinkers” you know from your involvement in LinkedIn Groups are also active in the communities on Google+! If you like what they post, use the “+1” feature liberally as the favor will be returned when you post as well, thereby boosting your own visibility in search.
Explore “Hangouts” Feature
The Hangouts feature is a free video chat service from Google that allows you to connect with up to 10 people at a time. These meetings can be pre-scheduled and can be great for product demos to prospective clients, having meetings with your employees or just to engage in a conversation one-on-one.
The Bottom Line
The features and benefits of Google+ are robust, so it will take time to get used to them. By doing so, you’ll be well ahead of many of your peers.
There are many more great reasons to adopt Google+, so if you’re a user please share your thoughts, experiences and the features you’ve found useful!