9 Ways Google+ Can Help Your Business

Google+ hasn't exactly taken the world by storm. However, with features such as free videoconferencing and the capability to share and promote content with customers and colleagues at a touch of a (+1) button, Google+ is making a concerted effort to court businesses. We look at nine ways it can help you succeed in business.

By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff
Tue, February 21, 2012

CIO — This month, Google+ passed 100 million users. And analyst Paul Allen (Google+ unofficial statistician) predicts that by the end of 2012 the number of Google+ users will exceed 400 million. Who are these people? Many of them are your customers, partners and media professionals. And now with Google+ Your Business, Google is attempting to make it easier for you to connect with them, for free.

So why should you try Google+ — especially if you are already using Facebook and Twitter for social media marketing? Following are nine ways Google+ can help your business.

1. Improves your search engine ranking. Which company do you think is going to get ranked higher on Google's search engine, the one using Google+ or the one just using Facebook? (That would be a rhetorical question.) "When you Google our company name — Brandignity — the Google+ profile appears right at the top of the search results, which really helps," says Maciej Fita, SEO Director, Brandignity, LLC, an SEO and social media marketing company. "Clients and potential clients will often search a company name before inquiring further, so this has helped us spread our digital voice that much more efficiently."

2. A plus for collaboration. "Google+ is a must for CIOs trying to encourage collaboration," states David Politis, founder, BetterCloud, which provides third-party products for Google Apps. "In a flat world, social tools like Google+ support fast and easy domestic and cross-border sharing [of documents, images and so on], enabling productivity at a fraction of the price of conventional meetings" or videoconferencing.

3. Video chat with customers, colleagues and media — for free. Speaking of collaboration, one of the most buzzed about features on Google+ is Google Hangouts, Google's video chat tool. "Google Hangouts works well for video conferencing with members in your circle," says Kenneth C. Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax, a search engine optimization (SEO) company, who has used Google+ to video chat with up to six people (the service can host up to 10 parties currently). "The 'screen share' feature works great," he notes. However, "ensure you have a secure and fast internet connection, otherwise the video can be low quality and lower resolution."

Google+ Hangouts is particularly useful for those organizations with workers in different offices. "I manage employees and freelancers in North America, Asia and Europe," explains Casey Armstrong, partner and COO, webbROI, an online marketing business. "Through Google+ Hangouts, we are able to collaborate in real-time through screen sharing, on Google Docs, and via video chat. In addition, even if I'm on the move, I can video chat through my iPhone on Google+. Talent is everywhere and Google+ removes the location barrier."

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