Why should I as a small business owner be on Google Plus?

This is a question I get asked all the time and the person asking usually answers it themselves in one of two ways:

  • All my family and friends are on Facebook and that’s where everyone says I should be as a small business owner.
  • Or It’s a ghost town right – no-one there but tumbleweeds and strange early adopting tech-heads.

And I usually smile and say those are exactly the two reasons you need to be on Google Plus right now…
Persian cat taking a nap
All my family and friends are on Facebook so that’s where my business should be too.

And that is great. That’s where you want to be spending your time socially, with people you know personally and want in your life. It isn’t where you want to be marketed to, or spammed, or harassed constantly to ‘like’ someone’s business page.

It would be like coming home, settling down with a lovely glass of red wine and a good T.V show (mine’s a Shiraz and Fringe at the moment) only to have a family member or friend ring to give you a hard sell on their latest business venture.

How thrilled would you be by that action? And how likely to buy something from them? Not very I’m assuming.

And that’s what’s happening on Facebook – thanks to the many changes in the way business page updates are displayed – your chances of getting heard without paying Facebook quite a bit of money are getting smaller and smaller. So small business owners are reduced to hitting up family and friends like the worst possible spammers, in order to get attention.

Google Plus on the other hand – very few family and friends are there, and those who are there are less likely to take offence at you trying to sell to them in their social place.

It is also not charging you to talk with your community, unlike Facebook.

If Facebook is your living room, then Google Plus would be the neighbourhood BBQ – you know most people there and can talk about a wide range of topics, both personal and professional, without upsetting anyone.

It’s a ghost town* – what’s the point of being there?

The point is a little something called ‘first (or early) mover advantage)‘ where those people who get in on the ground floor have the opportunity to build communities and trust, before this space becomes too crowded.

Also, and this is something I really like, with fewer people there the ability to experiment and try different things out is much higher. You’ve got less people watching every step you take, so you have the chance to hone your skills almost in private. It is like a stage actor who refines their art in regional theatre productions before heading for the big lights of Melbourne or Sydney.

*over 500 million users worldwide – not really a ghost town is it?

But wait there’s more…

Including but not limited to:

  • Google Plus updates are easily found in Google searches, unlike Facebook
  • Google Plus updates are counted towards Google Authorship
  • Google Plus business pages can have user submitted reviews, videos, maps, and photos – all searchable through Google.
  • Circles mean you can segment / target your updates.
    • Got a super secret offer for just a couple of special customers? Put them into a circle, and let them know when these offers come up. No need for a separate email list!
    • A great way to test ideas and concepts – sometimes known as A/B testing. You can create different circles of random customers, and send them out content written differently – test which one does better.
  • Google Hangouts
  • Hold virtual and physical events, allow users to upload their own photos, ideas and status updates.
  • Hold free polls – put a question in an update, put the answers (Yes, No, Maybe) as three separate comments and ask people to + the comment that they most agree with.

So have I convinced you to give Google Plus a go? If so, yay! I’ve got heaps more posts coming up all about Google Plus – so why not subscribe via email or RSS to make sure you don’t miss a single one?

And if I haven’t convinced you, why not? What are your major objections to starting your business’ online journey at Google Plus?

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