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Why You Should Be on Google+

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The first name that comes to mind when you think about social media might not be Google Plus. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest enjoy greater buzz. Why then should your small business use Google Plus?

Eddy Galeotti /

There are some very compelling arguments in favor of including Google+ in a social media marketing strategy.

Google Plus has a huge user base. With more than 540 million active monthly users, Google Plus sees its number of users increase daily. Facebook continues to be the social media behemoth with the most users. But the increase in web traffic via this site indicates that businesses can choose to ignore it at their own peril. Besides, the value of grabbing the first mover advantage over one's competition cannot be overstated. Google+ users are often early adopters and technology lovers. Your customers will be on it sooner rather than later and many probably already are.

Related: 4 Ideas for Hosting Google+ Hangouts 'On Air'

Make use of Google Hangouts. With Google Hangouts, free live video conferencing can take place for as many as 10 people. The benefits for a small business are obvious: You can reach out to customers, dealers, vendors and social media contacts at no cost. You can also participate in Hangouts initiated by others and communicate with thought leaders in your niche.

Be cognizant of the Google connection. Google is at the epicenter of all search engines. While Bing is also a player, Google is still the big daddy. There is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that profiles that do well on Google+ get indexed quicker on Google. Add to that the fact that Google Plus business pages are beginning to show up on search engine results pages, and you have two very strong reasons to work on establishing a presence here. Integration of Google's many services with one another, such as Google+ with Youtube, search, etc. is perhaps inevitable. Be there to take advantage of it.

Related: 10 Signs You're Using Social Media Wrong

Take advantage of Google+ reviews. With Google+ reviews showing up on search results, potential customers might be influenced to choose your business if they come across positive reviews. Therefore, provide great service and proactively solicit reviews on Google+. Nothing beats a favorable reference from one human being to another. Along the same lines, searchers looking for local businesses, particularly those on the move and using mobiles can find your store if your Google+ business page carries the relevant information with Google Maps embedded, office hours and your phone number. This is truly a requirement for any small business.

Explore Google+ Ripples. Google Plus is a feature-rich social media platform; you can leverage Circles, Hangouts, Hangouts on Air, Communities and Ripples. The latter category can be particularly useful for small businesses. It is a data visualization graph that lets you take in at a glance the manner in which your content has been shared. You can easily learn about your more enthusiastic and influential followers. Ripples is also a fun tool to use and worth checking out.

It's highly likely that your customers are already on Google+ and your regular activity on social media can be a valuable signal to others and it will help boost your search engine ranking. Google+ has a gold mine of worthwhile content that you can draw inspiration from and curate. If you're not already on Google+, it's time to start using one of the most powerful tools online.

Related: 6 Steps to Take Today to Improve Your Google Search Results

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