When it comes to social media, what are the first names that come to your mind? Most people will rattle off Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Considerably fewer will include Google+.
That’s not necessarily surprising. Despite its Google pedigree and the fact that (depending on what statistics you believe) the network has up to 250 million users, it can seem like an afterthought.
That can be a mistake. In fact, there are good reasons why law firms should seriously consider Google+ as a marketing tool. Here are four to start with:
Reason #1: Local visibility
Here’s an illuminating stat, courtesy of Google: 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. In other words, potential clients are looking for firms like yours via the Internet. Google+ can help raise your visibility. The search giant recently revamped its free Google Places platform that allows companies to claim and edit their local business listings. In its place: Google+ Local Pages. The functionality hasn’t changed dramatically — Web surfers still can see your firm’s description, address, contact details and the like — but they also will see your Google+ page (if you have one). The upshot: Increased local visibility and opportunities to connect with potential clients.
Reason #2: SEO Benefits
More powerful benefits here. For starters, Google indexes Google+ business pages, which boosts them in search rankings. That’s not all, however.
- If you regularly post to Google+ — and if your posts feature the type of content that search engines crave — they can show up in search results and drive traffic to your law firm’s website.
- Another new Google feature, Search+ Your World, allows Google+ users to merge their search results with content shared by others in their Google+ network. Any content that your law firm shares on its Google+ page will show up in related searches by other Google+ users.
- The Google+ equivalent of Facebook’s “Like” button is the “+1.” One key difference: Google factors +1 endorsements into its search algorithm, using the rationale that content which has been recommended by multiple people within a network must have significant relevance.
Reason #3: Segmentation
Where Facebook and LinkedIn have Groups, Google+ has “Circles.” They’re all similar, but Circles currently offers more robust segmentation options, allowing you to target individual posts to specific groups of people within your Google+ network. It also features sophisticated analytic tools to identify who clicked on your posts, which posts were shared, what posts received +1 endorsements and more.
Reason #4: Staying power
While some Google offerings such as the Wave online collaboration service and Buzz, its original social network, died quick deaths, the company appears committed to this one. In fact, you can make the case that Google+ is not so much a social network as it is a far-reaching plan to revamp the search experience. And this is only the start — the company recently added new video chat functionality and announced that it will incorporate Google+ features into the enterprise version of its Google Apps suite. No doubt that there will be more additions to come.
While it will be fascinating to watch the service evolve, you probably won’t want to sit on the sidelines for long. Google+ already has a range of tools and features that make it extremely valuable for attorney’s online marketing efforts. Taking advantage of them now can give you a jump on the competition.