The Future Of Social Media For Small Businesses, Part 2.

Welcome to the concluding part of our view on the future of social media/emerging trends in social media.

We have seen how Facebook is increasing its reach by acquiring companies. We have also seen Twitters’ first steps to becoming more like Facebook.

What about the ‘ugly’ cousin? I’m talking about the offering from Google. Three years after its launch, Google Plus is still a highly underrated platform. For different reasons, many people shy away from it. I mean, it does seem too good to be true.

A platform that takes the best from every other platform and still aims to make it all better?

It has even been labelled as “…a social network which doesn’t really specialise in anything…”. It is notorious for being a tad complex, but Google Plus actually works. Learning how to maximise your reach and exposure using Google Plus is time well-spent.

  • For small businesses with minimal ad spend, Google Plus has a unique way of giving you more bang for your marketing buck. Apart from being able to create and post rich content, G+ also offers longer post stickiness. When you post long and rich content, your followers have a chance to give you +1’s. These ‘likes’ increase the visibility of your post as they are visible to people that follow you as well as the people that follow them.
  • While it is still almost four times smaller than Facebook, Google + now boasts a slightly larger number of monthly active users than Twitter, 300 million versus 241 million. More and more users are catching on to the power of the communities, called Google Circles.

Apart from being able to target different content to specific people, users can also engage in ‘Circle Sharing’. This involves collating a group of influencers or experts on G+ and sharing their links with your followers.

  • A recent poll showed that on average, 0.069% of a brand’s Google Plus followers engage with each of its posts—nearly twice Twitter’s 0.035% average engagement rate and not far off Facebook’s 0.073% average rate. Can you beat that? Twice the level of engagement on G+ than Twitter.

This may be due to the sheer array of tools you get. From using Google Hangouts for product demos to collaborating with staff in real-time via Google Drive, Google has made itself more of a social media force to reckon with.

  • One more thing, Google treats each Google+ post as its own page and ranks it in the search results. This allows a search query to return multiple instances of your business, if the branding is done right.

The future of social media is one thing. How social media can help your business is a totally different thing. Facebook is offsetting its big bucks acquisitions (1 trillion in 2014 already) with ad spend. This implies that ads will get more expensive.

Your best tactics should involve using Facebook to build  and maintain a targeted customer base here.

Use Twitters’ announcement-centric model to drive traffic to new posts and also drive engagement. Use G+ to create a community around your brand. Use them as a whole to funnel visitors to your blog and possibly to an email list.

While there are many other social media platforms available, this post focuses on the three that you should actually be looking at if you are serious with your marketing. If social media feels like a minefield for you to navigate, let Search and More work with you an create a campaign that will yield results.

Part 1 here

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