Business Insider’s mid-2017 look at the world’s most popular social media platforms features some familiar brands: Facebook, Instagram, Weibo, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat. All but Weibo are household names in the U.S.; Weibo is uber-popular in China.
One powerhouse that’s not on this list is Google Plus. This is somewhat surprising in light of the fact that Google is the world’s best-known search engine.
Does this mean you and your business should stick to using Google for search, email, documents, and web video? No. Just the opposite, in fact. Google Plus is a formidable social media property for independent entrepreneurs, small businesses, and enterprises alike — particularly those active in niches friendly to the medium, like photography.
Here’s why you should consider creating a Google Plus profile.
It’s a Great Image-Sharing Platform for Serious Photographers
Most discussions of social media image strategy gloss over Google Plus, or ignore it entirely. It’s true that Google Plus is not the world’s most popular social media property — nor, by a considerable margin, it is the most mobile-friendly.
That said, Google Plus is useful for serious photographers, including brands aiming to show off products in great detail or candid settings. This Google Plus profile for Street Photographers is a great example of what’s possible.
It’s an Effective Business Directory
Even for business owners without photographic proclivities, Google Plus is an excellent business directory stand-in. If you’ve already listed your business on Yelp, LinkedIn, Better Business Bureau, and other high-visibility sites, create a Google Plus profile for it as well. Better still: Create Google Plus profiles for top company leaders, like this Google Plus profile for Miami entrepreneur George Otte.
Its Lack of Flashy Features Is Actually a Selling Point
Google Plus is simple, direct, and easy to use. For some social media users, these attributes might underwhelm. But the very usability and clarity of Google Plus’s interface make it an effective tool for communicating ideas and providing one’s audience with basic status updates. One of the best use cases for Google Plus involves crisp updates with single images and 100 to 200 words of text: just enough to get high-level ideas across.
It’s Tight-Knit and Community-Oriented
Google Plus is very niche-friendly, as its enthusiastic photographic community makes clear. Before you start your Google Plus profile, search through the site and make sure there’s an active group in your niche. If that’s the case, work hard to connect with the most active members.
It’s Useful for Off-Page SEO
Though the correlation between search rank and social sharing is rather opaque and not necessarily direct, research indicates that it’s nevertheless quite strong. In other words, the more social shares a given piece of content receives, the more likely it is to rank well.
As a social media property backed by the world’s most popular search engine, Google Plus is in an enviable position. If you’re looking for an easy way to earn a positive, high-visibility search result for your company name, create a Google Plus profile.
It’s Great for International Outreach
Google Plus is more popular in the U.S. than many realize. However, few disagree that its growth prospects are far more rosy on the international stage than in North America. In some countries, notably India, Google Plus adoption is far higher than in the U.S. If your business markets to international consumers, then, it’s essential that you develop a Google Plus strategy.
Nothing Lasts Forever
It’s prudent for business owners not to write off Google Plus just yet. As this list indicates, there are plenty of compelling reasons to use the medium.
That said, it’s impossible to predict the future. There may come a time when Google Plus is no longer useful for those who use it today. Until then, it’s up to you to get the most out of your Google Plus presence.