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Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Squidoo, WordPress, Delicious, YouTube…dang! There are a lot of websites you have to deal with if you are trying to promote a website! Social media has been on a tear the last few years, with various marketing experts saying you’ve got to be on Facebook, or you’ve got to be on Twitter, or you’ve got to be on the latest and greatest social media platform. But I have to tell ya, I have yet to see much ROI from any time spent on Facebook or Twitter. Google+, however, may be a different story. It’s too early to tell what kind of long-term impact Google+ will have on business, but Google made one shrewd move that has moved Google+ to the front of my list of social media platforms: it let Google+ start affecting search rankings! Google+ is now a critical part of the search engine optimization toolbox.

Being on Google+ can help my rankings? Now you’ve got my attention.

But just being on Google+ is not enough. You’ve got to work it. What you want to happen is for lots of other people who are also using Google+ to plus your web pages. Just promoting your business and doing updates with links to your own site ain’t gonna do it. I hate to say it…but you’ve got to interact! You’ve got to be social!

The first thing you have to do is decide who you want to be in your circles, so that they will hopefully put you in theirs. Who do you think that should be? People who are possible sources of business or referrals! Whatever type of business you have, find people who may be interested in that, or interested in other things somehow related to your business, and add them to your circles. Some of them will add you to their own circles by default. However, many will have to be prodded into it by seeing that you are interacting with their updates.

For instance, if someone in your circles says something interesting or publishes a link that is interesting, plus the comment or link, and then add your own comment. You want them to see you! Sometimes it is difficult to comment on someone else’s post. Don’t just fake it if you really can’t comment intelligently. Just keep your eyes open for those opportunities when you can.

So as people in your circles see you responding to their updates, they will be much more likely to add you to their circles. That’s when you can expose them to your own content and hopefully get them plusing and commenting on your own updates. Now here is where the real value comes in. As people in your circles plus your website, your website will appear more prominently to them, as well as people in their circles, when they do a search related to your business. Not only that, it can affect search engine visibility outside of the Google+ network, as Google identifies that people in Google+ are plusing your links.

You need to be systematic with your use of Google+. You want people who have you in their circles to see your name often, if not every day. Through your updates, they will know what it is that you are selling, and when the time comes that they need your product or service, they will think of you. All the while, you will be using your updates (and links to content you publish) to establish your authority in your area.

The ranking effect is one very good reason to be using Google+. That is the thing that can draw a straight line from using social media to generating a positive return on your time invested, unlike just about every other social media platform. That is why it has become the social media site of choice for Work Media.