As we’ve said around here a few hundred times, smart social media marketing is actually content marketing.
Because people love to share content on social networks.
If that content is yours, you’re being introduced to new people with every share … to people who now have an opportunity to know, like, and trust you enough to buy from you.
People on Facebook and Twitter have been providing free exposure to smart marketers who build their businesses with online content. But there’s a new player in the game that may just become the content marketing platform of choice.
Let’s talk about Google+ (since everyone else is).
In case you’ve been incarcerated in a Turkish prison for the last few weeks, Google+ is the new social networking platform from the search engine giant.
It’s been more accurately called a “sharing” platform, and I think that distinction alone means everyone producing online content needs to take a serious look at Google+.
Here are 3 things to think about when considering whether to hop on Google+ to drive traffic back to your site:
Based on initial reports, Google+ is the fastest-growing social network ever, despite a limited-access, invitation-only launch.
That’s in part to its better design and functionality, but also because of the integration of Google+ across the Google network. Google already has hundreds of millions of users in general, which gives Google+ an “unfair” advantage that Facebook and Twitter didn’t have at this stage.
Takeaway: Social networks are powered by people, and it looks like Google+ is off to a great start. If the growth rate continues, there’s a good chance the people you’re trying to reach will be on Google+, which means you should be on Google+.
As noted above, Google+ has been built from the ground-up as a content sharing platform.
It takes the good things about Facebook and Twitter and makes them better. More importantly, Google had the luxury of watching what Facebook and Twitter did wrong, and made it right.
There are plenty of other articles that explain why Google+ is shaping up to be an excellent content sharing platform. Down to brass tacks, Google has solved the inherent privacy and “over-sharing” issues that make Facebook problematic, while providing a rich multimedia and discussion environment that Twitter simply can’t match.
Takeaway: Google+ has been put together in a way that encourages, rewards, and protects content sharing. Content marketers have every incentive to participate since Google knows that content sharing drives social networks.
Google’s search engine was built on the premise that content with links pointing to it deserves to be ranked higher than content with fewer links.
With the emergence of social media, the Google algorithm has evolved to include sharing as an additional indicator of content quality for ranking purposes.
Google has been effectively locked out of the walled garden of Facebook.
Twitter tweets and retweets have been shown to influence Google rankings, and my bet is they still will going forward.
But now, Google has its own content sharing platform that provides direct access to “the voice of the people” when it comes to quality content.
Takeaway: This is the big one. Building an audience on Google+ may be the smartest thing you do as a content marketer when it comes to improved search rankings. You still need to understand the language of your audience and reflect it back in your content, but Google will now have direct indications that you’re putting out quality stuff.
It’s Still Early …
Despite the early fascination and impressive growth rate, this thing is barely out of the gate.
If you want to get your feet wet, sign up for Google+ and add me to one of your circles. I’ll be sharing content and observations from my own use of Google+ to help you out.
And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t clearly state that Google+ is not a replacement for your website or blog. You share content that resides on your property, where you make the rules.
Being a digital sharecropper is never cool, no matter who owns the plantation.
About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Google+.