Why You Should Be On Google+ in 2012By now you’ve no doubt heard the buzz about Google+. Google has vast resources and reach to promote this nascent social network, so whether you currently have an account on Google+ or not, it’s a good idea to pay attention to this platform.

Do you have an account on Google+? Does your business have a Brand Page? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, here are some compelling reasons why you shouldn’t wait any longer — and why you should be on Google+ in 2012.

Rollout of the New Facebook Timeline

Facebook Timeline

What does the rollout of the new Facebook Timeline have to do with Google+? Well, like it or not, the new Facebook interface is forcing individuals to start thinking about themselves, or at least their personas on social media, as “brands.” In order for you to make the most of Facebook’s new Timeline, it requires some thought and preparation. People are considering how to use photos, updates, and supporting content to present themselves in the best light to friends and followers.

In fact, many people are using these changes to Facebook as a catalyst to evaluate how they’re represented on other social media networks. Some people are now thinking about how the re-organization of their content on Facebook may be “multi-purposed” for Google+ as well.

In many ways, each move that Facebook makes is being monitored (and often mirrored) by Google+. Leverage some of the time and resources you’re spending on your Facebook Timeline to make it easier and more efficient to create an account on Google+ in 2012.

Integration With Google Search

Integration with Google Search

It’s official — some Google+ Brand Pages are now showing up in organic search results on Google. If your business has a Brand Page on Google+ it may increase the chances of your business being found, whether someone is searching for it on Google+ or not. This has potentially huge implications for your search marketing strategy.

Although the inclusion of Google+ information on organic search results is still limited to brands that qualify for Google’s “Direct Connect” initiative, it’s likely that this benefit of Google+ branding will be made available to more businesses and brands in 2012.

Many Top Brands Are Already There

Big Brands Are Already There

According to SEO company BrightEdge, 77 of the top 100 global brands now have Google+ Pages. This statistic has at least two immediate repercussions for your business.

If you are not already on Google+, many of the world’s largest brands (some of which may be your competitors) have already beat you to the punch. Depending on your business, it might be a good strategy to compete on the same playing field as your competitors — and sooner rather than later!

Looking at the same statistic in another way, it means that phenomenally large global marketing resources are being committed (and likely more resources will be committed in 2012) to brand marketing and generating consumer interest on Google+. Your business can leverage the marketing, advertising and PR from global brands as they attempt to attract consumers over to the Google+ platform.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons for getting on Google+ in 2012 is one that we’ve reiterated in many articles on Sprout Insights: get your feet wet before you “go live.” If your customers are not currently on Google+ in numbers significant enough to affect your business, all the more reason to get on the platform now and work out your marketing strategy before your customers show up.

Practice the functionality of Google+ Circles or Hangouts from a personal Google+ account before you create a Google+ Page for your business. Use this time of relative quiet on Google+ to organically build your network. That way, when your customers begin to arrive in larger numbers on the platform, you can help show them around and be their guide to this new platform.

Are you already on Google+? Does your business have a Brand Page? If so, feel free to connect with Sprout Social on Google+.

[Source: Mashable; Image Credits: Ed Yourdon, Arne Hulstein, Renato Targa, Matt, tokyo ayano]