Google+ can be a powerful marketing tool for boating businesses to get more social media traffic and improve Google search results for their website
Google is committed to growing their relevance in social media, and they are using their valuable search engine as an incentive to get involved with social media site Google+.
Surprisingly, many businesses in the boating industry – both large and small – are not yet even on Google+ to begin to build social or search engine traffic from the tool. In fact, there are so few businesses in boating on Google+ that I am personally finding it hard to expand pages that I manage for boating.
On the other hand, my page for small business marketing on Google+ is taking off nicely with over 1,000 people and businesses adding the page to their circle. It is to everyone’s advantage in boating to get “on board” with Google+ so we can all expand our networks together.
Understanding How Google+ Works
While Google+ has much of the same basic functionality as other social networks – make connections, post status updates – the ability to create “circles” on Google Plus is a targeting functionality that makes it unique.
With Google+ you can create an individual account and then a business page (much like Facebook). But Google+ gives businesses more control over posts and status updates by giving them the ability to better define who receives communications.
Google+ lets you create “Circles” or smaller groups within your account. As people or businesses get added to your circles – if created with the right strategy in mind – you can effectively turn this social network tool into a direct marketing tool by promoting products and services to very specific audiences.
SEO Benefits of Google+ Accounts
Much like Bing is integrating Facebook into their search engine results (giving preference to showing results friends from Facebook may have liked), Google is doing the same thing with their Google+ social media site. The big difference is that many more people use Google for search than Bing. So the effect on your search engine results has much more potential with Google+ integration with Google.
As you grow your circle (or number of connections) within Google+ the impact will increase for your business. Each time you post on Google+, comment or +1 a post it will influence search engine rankings for people within your circle. And then each time people within your circle comment or +1 your Google+ posts it will influence search engine results that their circle sees on Google.
The key to influencing Google search engine results, and ultimately traffic, is creating a large circle of connections on Google+ and remaining active as well. The example to the right shows how my +1 activity is shown in search results, and then how my post on Google+ also comes up in the search results.
Social traffic also gets a bump from within Google search results because the actual posts you make on Google+ are indexed on Google as well.
Creating a Google+ Circle Growth Strategy for Boating Businesses
With Google+, a good growth strategy is expanding your circle as much as possible… but also to create defined circles of target contacts.
For example, I have created circles that have meaning specifically for my pages. For the SureShade Google+ page I manage, I have circles for boat builders, boat dealers, boating industry and boaters. This gives me the ability to send out targeted communications to each segment as needed in the future… or I can simply submit my posts as public.
As you build your circles it’s important to note that you have to maintain both a business Google+ Page and a personal Google+ Profile because with your Google+ Page you can not add individuals to your circle until they have added your page to their circle. Google Plus Pages can add other Google Plus Pages to their circle… even if those other pages did not first add your page. However, as an individual on Google+ you can reach out to other individuals and add them to your circle. Once they see you have added them to your circle, they typically add you back.
Other strategies for building your Google+ circle for business pages include:
- Build your personal circle and then promote your Google+ Page from your personal profile
- Post on other Google+ Pages with large following
- Add other Google+ Pages to your circle
- Add a Google+ badge to your website
- Fill out your profile with business details, proper keywords so you can be found
Be sure to focus on building your circle with pages and individuals that are relevant to your business in boating so that you are attracting individuals who closely match your target audience. This will give you the best influence on future search engine results and increasing traffic to your website.
And if you are thinking… how on earth am I going to manage yet ANOTHER social media site? Yes, it is overwhelming, but Google+ cannot be ignored. Try using a social media management tool like HooteSuite to automate your postings more… it will make adding yet another site a bit easier!
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