It’s obvious that Google+, despite having the backing of the largest company on the Internet, is not anywhere near as popular as Facebook in terms of number users and the time they spend on it (so far). Some might see only defeat in its future, but a closer look at Google’s social network yields some interesting options for the small business owner.

Google+ presents many unique features and opportunities for promoting your business. While it surpasses Facebook in usability, stability and intuitiveness, it obviously doesn’t have the critical mass of active users: 100 million compared to Facebook’s 955 million active users. Despite this, it’s important to consider the following about Google+:

  • It’s backed by the biggest ad network on the Internet.
  • Its content has significant weight in Google social search, a functionality increasing in relevance with every Google algorithm update.
  • It’s linked to a service (g-mail and Google accounts) that many people use daily.
  • It’s now merged with Google Places accounts, housing business place pages and social profiles under one roof.
  • It works great on mobile displays.

Ignoring Google+ in promoting your business online just doesn’t make sense anymore. Here are some tips on how to approach this network in a way that will build a solid community of customers:

1. Create a business page with professional graphics for the profile pic and banner. Upload quality content: pictures, videos, maps and so on. Keep mobile in mind at all times with design.

2. Use Google hangouts: hold press conferences, Q & A sessions and seminars with your audience and build yourself as an authority in your field.

3. Identify tastemakers and influencers in your field and interact with them, using comments and +1s strategically to reach out and make connections.

4. Use extended circles to get your message out to people that you are not directly connected with.

In addition to contributing to the building of a community, Google+ social efforts enhance SEO services that might be part of your marketing campaign. A multi-faceted approach, consisting of social community building, local and organic SEO and PPC ads is a powerful combination, as proven by Blue Hat’s Hybrid SEO solution. Google+ is yet another important tool in refining the efficiency of your online marketing strategy. It’s not to be overlooked in your arsenal.