I feel adamant that one of the most important social networks for any business to be active in is Google+. Here's why:
First is search. What's synonymous with "search"? "Google," of course. Google+ is a Google product and Google is to search like Kleenex is to tissue. Google+ directly impacts a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy by increasing the chances that the content a business's people write will show up in search results.
Second is reach. Mark Traphagen, Director of Digital Outreach for Virante Inc., said recently at SMX West 2013:
“It [Google+] extends your reach far beyond the social network itself into the SERPs. With G+, you’re influencing all of the people who follow you, and everyone connected to their circles as well.”
Getting a business's content onto Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is a key tactic in an online business strategy. Posts on Google+ are included in search results. Local businesses receive an additional benefit of being included in the local search results as well. Content that appears in SERPs reaches all of the people you follow as well as everyone to whom they are connected.
Third is Google Authorship, i.e. that fundamental business principal, "It's who you know." Google Authorship is an effective way of creating "It's who you know" connections by getting pictures in search results and identifying the author of the content. With Google Authorship and Author Rank, you get a boost in your industry as a thought leader. Not only are you creating a name for yourself, but your content sets you apart from your competition. With your picture displayed next to your content, you should get more click-through rates from the search results and an increase in your site's traffic.
Update 4/10/2013 - Thanks to Patsy Stewart for sharing this related post with us from Marketing Profs: Google Authorship and Author Rank: Big for SEO in 2013 and Beyond.
In business, "It's who you know." Handshake 2.0 reminds us that in business online, "It's still who you know." Google+ offers businesses a way to help get their people known for who they are and what they know and that's always been a great strategy for doing great business.
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For additional information on Google+ business pages, Patsy recommends checking out Google’s user guide Getting Started with Google+ for Business.
Patsy Stewart is a social media practitioner and owner of The Social BUZZ Lab. Her posts for Handshake 2.0 generate top ten buzz. You're invited to read more from Patsy Stewart on Handshake 2.0 and more about Google + on The Social Buzz Lab Blog.