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We have covered many of the most popular social media platforms so far: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; however we have overlooked the fastest-growing social media platform, Google+. Google+ is a child of the search engine giant Google and offers many valuable reasons why you need to consider adding g+ to your social media suitcase.

Why Google+
First off, your customers are there – being the fastest social media platform to reach 100 million users, it is easy to assume that some of them are your customers. The fast growth may also be due to our society’s acceptance of social media, but no matter the reason, Google+ is growing every day.

While the reported female angling population is growing and currently makes up a quarter of those hitting the water, they still are a minority in the fishing world. These same ladies, though, are in the majority of Facebook users. Google+ on the other hand enjoys a more male-driven audience. This isn’t stated to make you abandon your Facebook efforts, but rather make you realize that your core customers may not be on Facebook.

Your business website will also benefit greatly from being on Google+, not only through an increase in direct traffic from tapping into yet another social media marketing place, but also because of Google’s +1 votes now impacting search results. Google’s +1 votes are similar to a Facebook like, the more +1 votes your business’ Google+ account earns through your posts, the higher your site will appear in a Google search. It appears Google is doing this to not only give businesses another incentive to use Google+, but it also makes sense when you factor in how their search works. A Google search is intended to deliver the most creditable, most timely and best options for your search. A business that is active through Google+ should be able to be considered to have timely information; if their information is accurate and helpful then they will earn more +1s, making their information more creditable as well. Just another reason to look into Google+.

How Google+ Works
Before you can create a Google+ business account, you need a personal account. Take a moment and create an account for yourself and you will see just how easy the process is. From there you can create a business page in just a matter of moments. As you create your business page be aware of the questions the form asks – these are very pertinent and will help others find you on Google+.

Once your store’s basic information is in the system, take a few moments to make your page feel like home. Add your store’s logo, a good photo or two of your exterior or interior with shoppers enjoying themselves. Share photos that make your store look inviting to anglers and shoppers. Once you get the visuals done, start sharing content on your new Google+ page. You can add links to YouTube videos, links to your site, upcoming events and anything else that you currently share or would share on Facebook.

Instead of having “friends” or “Liking” a page, Google+ has circles. People will add your store to their circles and you should pay attention to whose circles you are in. While you’re setting up your account decide how different people will be added to your circles or groups. Employees or close friends or even key customers should get a certain level of their own, such as Google+’s VIP level or employee level; other customers or just followers get yet another. By highlighting certain people it will make them feel better about their role with your store and will also show they are people of influence to your followers.

As you gain followers and your circles grow, you need to remember that like anything, the more interaction you have with your followers the better. Get your employees involved and have them share and +1 your posts. Remember the more +1’s you receive the higher your store’s website will appear in Google searches.

Google+ isn’t for everyone, and if you decide to create a business page there you will still need to keep your Facebook page active as well. Who knows, maybe you will discover that Google+ is a better source of social interaction with your customers than other forms of social media. The key to any social media is to try it and stay active with it.

If you have a Google+ account for your business already, how are you finding the interaction to be with your customers? Are you gaining sales from it? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page or in our retailer-only LinkedIn group.