Google+ is Forcing Small Businesses to Care about Social Media
If you’ve been fighting against the social media wave or have even just been avoiding it altogether…you just lost the fight. Social media won. Social media knocked you out and is forcing you to get involved.
Because Google just forced every small business in the world to care about social media. You no longer have an option.
How is Google+ Forcing You?
For several years, the best way for small businesses to appear on a Google search was by claiming their Google Places listing and optimizing that listing. It simply worked better than almost any other SEO method. Most small businesses at least understand the importance of Google Places.
But then last week Google dropped a bomb.
Google announced last week that they are phasing out Google Places and replacing it with Google+. That’s right, in order a local business to be found on Google, it will have to be on Google+.
They just forced you to care about, and use, social media.
How Google+ Works for Small Businesses
If you have a Gmail account you can quickly sign up for Google+. You just click the +You button in the top left hand corner of your browser. Follow the instructions and create a business page.
There is now a ‘Local’ tab on the left hand sidebar of your Google+ profile. Users can search for specific businesses or browse through businesses within Google+ itself. Clicking on a listing will take the searcher to the Google+ page of the business (not the website). Additionally, Google has included an entire scoring and rating system for every type of business. They even bought Zagat for over $200 million to help them with reviews.
And here’s the key: Google + Local is now also integrated with Google organic search, Google Maps and Google Mobile. So, if you search for a local business anywhere, on any Google platform, the Google+ page for the business will show up.
Literally, if you do not have a Google+ page you will not exist in Google search.
Step-By-Step: What to Do
- It means you need to set up a Google+ page for your business today. Like right now.
- Add people, businesses and influencers to your Google+ circles
- Engage with them by sharing articles, thoughts, comments or deals via Google+
- Optimize your Google+ page with pictures, information and reviews
Google is literally merging your Google Places listing into a Google+ page. They are literally forcing every small business onto Google+. So, again, if you’ve ignored or neglected social media so far, you can no longer.
Jason Wells, CEO, ContactPoint
Jason Wells is CEO of ContactPoint. Prior, Jason served as Senior Vice President of Sony.