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October 18, 2013
I Can’t Get No Respect: Google+ Is One Social Media Site You Must Use
 
Often forgotten for its social-media influence, Google+ might just be the most crucial social network for businesses and professionals who want to solidify their positive online reputation. Both a Google+ page and Google Authorship should be a critical aspect of your online reputation management.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are known forums for success, but Google+ has gotten short shrift. When you develop a Google+ page, people will be able to +1 your page. It’s the same as a Twitter follow or Facebook “Like.” Google determines the popularity of you or your business based on these +1s.

Here are a few other key facts about Google+ and how it can influence your success in the marketplace:

Authorship
Google+ is a significant part of Google Authorship. Authorship allows the user to link content, indicating that the content originates from you. If you publish a significant amount of quality content, with that content regularly shared online, your Author Rank on Google will increase dramatically.

Circles
Circles will allow users to organize followers based on interests or any other set of criteria. Examples include prospects, current customers and competitors. This capability means that you can group users to further target your messaging.

Hangouts
Creating a hangout will allow users to schedule online events. For example, multiple users can participate in your live Q&A session.

Communities
Google+ Communities allow you to participate in and even create focused groups of both companies and individuals. Participating in existing communities is a terrific way of maintaining brand awareness, developing trust, and drawing feedback from customers. Creating a group allows you to start a community, closely aligned to your own brand values. This can help to improve your brand awareness, helps to position you as an authority, and helps you nurture relationships.

Events
Google+ Events has a similar function to Facebook Events. Events are an excellent way to promote things such as free webinars or on-site open days. However, the Google version encourages a more enhanced level of interactivity. Any user on Google Calendar or Gmail can add an event to their invitations and calendars that will automatically be sent to selected groups or individuals. Events are a particularly effective way to promote things like free

Business
Google+ Business performs like Facebook Business pages. You must be a regular Google+ member before you can establish a business page. The Business Page is highly regarded by search engines and will conveniently showcase you and your business. You can post regular updates to your wall and link this page to any content that you’ve created.

Places
Google Places are business listing pages that provide local businesses the opportunity to display photos, reviews, and other important information such as contact details and store hours. Google Places also have a location map. This outlet offers users another page to enhance search results and educate the audience about their products or services.
 
As an added benefit, Google+ has rolled out analytical insights for users to see vital statistics on their dashboard. The statistics includes how many times a user has been viewed in local search, how many views obtained by your business listings, and how many people are engaging with you.
 
In most cases, you’re unable to delete negative reviews, ratings, or comments that have been posted about you or your business online. However, having full control of your social media accounts — especially your Google+ profile — will help them reach the top of your Google search results.

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Blake Jonathan Boldt has contributed effective and educational content to a variety of businesses and organizations. He provides writing, editing, social media and content strategy services for both domestic and international clients. His articles have been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers, and digital media outlets.
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