When Google+ creator Vic Gundotra announced his exit from Google, there was lots of speculation about the future of Google+. It’s unlikely that Google is giving up on G+. The more pressing question for businesses is: What does this shakeup mean for us?
According to Phil Penton, president of social media and reputation management platform Social Integration, Google+ is already becoming the underpinning of an integrated “Google search society.” Penton says that unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google+ isn’t a social destination.
“People aren’t searching for businesses on Google+,” he says. Still, with the deep integration of Google+ into other Google properties, content from the G+ business pages will show up alongside the search results. But businesses have to optimize their Google Pages properly.
According to Penton, Google+ can be a powerful way to manage a company reputation, especially when businesses merge their Google Page with Google Local. He pointed to Castle Chevrolet as an example of using this feature successfully. When you search for Castle Chevrolet on Google, the competing ads on the right hand side go away. What you’re left with is the dealership’s star rating, reviews and recent G+ content.
The problem though, says Penton, is that too many business use Google+ to repost content from other news outlets. He says it’s also important to post content about the business, particularly specials, incentives, stories about happy customers and even new product displays.
“Those things are really important in marrying the reputation and social together,” he says. “That’s a win for small businesses.”
As for the change in G+ management, Penton says that with +Post, the integration of AdWords into G+, he sees Google continuing the trend of fuller integration into all of the Google properties. Google+ is already integrated with Maps and Search. He added that +Post is a great way for businesses to post to G+ and then promote that content elsewhere.
“Google is taking the content that’s not getting a lot of eyeballs in the Google+ ecosystem and putting it into these other ecosystems,” he says.