Naturally, Google+ has been the topic of discussion for the past three weeks. Mostly because of its blatant challenge to Facebook’s social network supremacy. But that’s not why it should matter to you.
As business owners and purveyors of eCommerce, Google+ has much greater implications than whose circles you’re in and who is in your circles. I won’t blame you for thinking these things are important because it is all that has been talked about since the network launched. But, the things we need to be worried about have little to do with those aspects of Google+.
The popularity of Google+ (user totals will approach 20 million this weekend) is not inconsequential. In fact, it is tantamount to discerning Google’s imminent dominance. It won’t be Circles and Hangouts that determine where Google+ goes; instead, it will be in its Profiles, mobile payments, and content authorship claims.
Profiles will be important, not so much to individual users because Facebook will likely continue as the major social network, but to businesses. Businesses will flock to Google+ because of the other two factors: mobile payments and the ability to claim one’s own content. First, mobile payments, through Google Checkout, allows users to shop hundreds of different products, brands, and stores all from one convenient location. Shoppers can complete their purchases faster, easier, and with more security because s/he only has to enter credit card information once. The service also offers great discounts and coupons available exclusively through Google Checkout.
In addition, Google has the search engine upper hand because of their commitment to authorship. According to Google, claiming authorship of content helps Google provide better results. Once a business has a Google+ profile (as soon as Google allows it), and Google detects content that is marked as belonging to the business, Google will list that content on the +1 tab of their Google profile. It is only logical that Google will reward business users for incorporating the Google +1 button on websites, blogs, etc. Eventually, claiming authorship for content will be a necessary step in search engine optimization (SEO) because Google will likely integrate the +1 votes of confidence into their search ranking algorithms.
The best thing you can do is get started with Google+ right away. Don’t create a business profile yet because Google will just shut it down. Today is the deadline for submitting the application for your business to be part of the beta testing for including brands on Facebook. If you cannot get into that (there’s likely some stiff competition anyway), make sure to get your employees on Google+ as individuals right away so that they can begin building spheres of influence that your business can tap into as soon as they’re allowed.
Remember, it isn’t just about a social network anymore. It’s about being on the social network of the biggest search engine ever. Oh, and by the way, Google had a record-breaking quarter in Q2 this year: $9 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in net income. We should all try to stay on their good side.
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