Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Real Reason Every Differencemaker Needs to Use Google+

Google's new social network Google+ continues to grow, and analysts are predicting big things for it (One report suggests it will be bigger than LinkedIn and Twitter within 12 months). It's natural to compare it with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but that's not where its real power lies.

Sure, it's less cluttered than Facebook, facilitates better conversations than Twitter, and manages your network of people better than LinkedIn. Those alone might be good reasons for using it, but even that misses the big point.

Here's the big reason every differencemaker needs to use Google+: It helps build your authority.

Authority is not just about what you know; it's about being known for what you know. And Authority Marketing is about using your authority to get business. And Google, through Google+, is uniquely able to boost your Authority Marketing outside the social network itself.

How? Because Google is not just the owner of Google+, it's also the world's biggest search engine. And that means it can use your Google+ information to influence other people's search results. Especially the other people you want to reach.

I'll explain ...

You probably know already that if you and I Google the same thing, we see different results. Google does this already, based on where we live and some other factors. But now, thanks to Google+, it can also do this based on what our friends (and their friends) like - and even based on who our friends are. This is important, because in general this will give us more relevant search results.

For example, if you're a sales trainer, do you want to be at the top of Google when somebody searches for "sales trainer"? Well ... yes and no. It depends on who the "somebody" is. You don't need to be #1 for everybody, because some of them aren't relevant (to you).

For instance, If a bushman of the Kalahari is tapping away on his iPhone searching for sales trainers, you probably don't care whether your name comes up first, because he's not the sort of person you can help. But you do care about people who have used sales trainers before, or who run conferences, or who book trainers in general, or who hang out with people who book sales trainers, or who run a speaker's bureau that books sales trainers, and so on. You get the picture.

Here's the thing: I bet these people are already in your extended network. In fact, I bet everybody who has ever booked you (and everybody who will ever book you in the future) was at most three degrees of separation from you. In other words, they either knew you, knew somebody who knew you, or knew somebody who knew somebody who knew you. Beyond that, it doesn't really matter.

Google knows this, of course. And because it wants to only show the most relevant results for each searcher, it would much rather show the closest connections first. But it hasn't been able to do this until now. It was frustrated at Facebook not being willing to share that information (except with their partner, Microsoft, who does use this information in Bing. But Bing is still a minority player in the search market). So Google decided to build its own social network.

That's where Google+ comes in.

Google+ tells Google who's connected to whom, and how closely. So now Google does know who's in your circles, and who's in their circles. And that means Google can tailor somebody's search results to give you priority, based on how you're connected to them, how they rate you, and what they say about you. I'm willing to bet this will soon become far more important than keywords, META tags, link bait and all the other search engine optimisation stuff.

The catch, of course, is that this only works as long as you're active in Google+, connecting, sharing and demonstrating your expertise. If you're not, that's your choice, but don't expect Google to do you any favours. If you don't participate, Google won't penalise you, but you'll be penalising yourself.

And that's the real reason every differencemaker needs to be using Google+.

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