Image: Bloomberg
Image: Bloomberg

Google+ is quickly becoming one of the most important places for your mortgage industry brand, as a lender or otherwise, to be highlighted. This has absolutely nothing to do with following a trend. It has everything to do with the visibility and prominence of your brand when searches are conducted since Google+ is the brainchild of the most popular search engine by far. Therefore, leveraging Google+ will help your rankings when searches are conducted by your target audience to discover published information that can help them learn and make decisions, or simply when they’re trying to find a company like yours.

Many still believe Google+ is just another one of several social media sites they need to get involved with…someday. Many even view it as something like Facebook. Despite the similarities, the two are quite different, especially when it comes to internet search visibility and search ranking opportunities for your content and your brand. It’s important to note that many in the mortgage industry are venturing into Google+ because they’re starting to “get it.” Don’t be left behind. Adopting Google+ as part of your strategic communications plan provides great benefits to the visibility of your brand.

Why is Google+ important for your brand? The significant importance, and opportunity, comes down to search visibility. For those of you who have done some cursory research in the past, maybe you’ve heard it’s much like Facebook. Sure, the similarities are there, however since Google has a direct stake in the success of Google+, you can be sure that significantly more weight will be given to content posts in Google+ over Facebook when it comes down to search engine rank and visibility for your content (blog posts, videos, etc.) and brand. Google has 900 million unique visitors monthly as of November 2013 according to eBizMBA. In case you’re wondering, Bing is a distant second with only 200 million.

Here are four key reasons to leverage Google+ for your brand:

  • Search rankings: Whenever you post, Google+ gives people who read it the opportunity to +1 your post, similar to a “like” on Facebook. The difference? A “like” doesn’t translate to enhanced search ranking.
  • Circles: Google+ allows a very simplistic way of organizing your networks and sharing information with them.
  • Form communities: The “community” function is somewhat similar to groups on LinkedIn. However, the added benefit is, again, the search value since now your posts and discussions reside on the Google platform.
  • Content posted on Google+ will be highlighted in search results with your picture and by-line to stand out even more!

Once you’ve joined Google+, uploaded your photograph and named your circles, then it’s time to look up some of your peers, friends and companies and start adding them to your circles and posting content to share. If you’re looking for some additional help to learn how to get around Google+, here’s a great article called Getting Around Google+ that I recommend. It is a bit overwhelming at first, but after a bit of investigating and experimenting, you’ll quickly see how easy it is to use.

Explore Communities

On the upper left hand side of your home page, glide your mouse over “Search” and then scroll down to “Communities.” Once you click, you can enter “mortgage” into the search bar to explore all of the mortgage industry – related communities currently on Google+. Select the ones you wish to join and explore posts, comment on them and even add some of your own. A couple I’d recommend includes Real Estate and Mortgage Network. Depending on what the service is you offer, you can simply search for a group that works for you.

This action will help you establish you and your brand in the communities of interest to you. You’ll quickly find that some of the more “forward thinkers” you know from your involvement in LinkedIn Groups are also active in the communities on Google+! If you like what they post, use the “+1” feature liberally as the favor will be returned when you post as well, thereby boosting your own visibility in Google searches.

Explore “Hangouts” Feature

The Hangouts feature is a free video chat service from Google that allows you to connect with up to 10 people at a time. These meetings can be pre-scheduled and can be great for product demos to prospective clients, having meetings with your employees or just to engage in a conversation one-on-one.

The Bottom Line

The features and benefits of Google+ are robust, so it will take time to get used to them. By doing so, you’ll be well ahead of many of your peers.

There are many more great reasons to adopt Google+, so if you’re a user please share your thoughts, experiences and the features you’ve found useful!

Click here to download “How to Build Your Corporate Online Brand” for mortgage industry communications professionals.