On the hunt for a Google+ (also called Google Plus and G+) alternative? It may be easier than you think!
Since the social media platform closed its doors in 2019, consumers have been looking for another option to match the features, traffic, and SEO benefits.
Luckily, there are several replacements you can use.
Here are the best Google Plus alternatives and how you can use them to grow your business online.
What Was Google Plus and Why Did It Shut Down?
Google Plus was Google’s fourth attempt at building a social media network. Its predecessors included Google Buzz, Google Friend Connect, and Orkut.
For years, you had to have a Google Plus account to use features like Google Photos, Hangouts, and YouTube. So, most consumers created Google Plus accounts to use these other apps—not the social media platform.
Then a data breach happened. Google discovered a glitch that allowed third-party apps to access the private information of 500,000 Google Plus users.
So, when Google announced its decision to start phasing out Google Plus due to low usage in 2018, it made sense.
5 Social Media Platforms That Replace Google Plus for Local Businesses
There is no one-size-fits-all replacement for Google Plus.
Depending on your business and where your key audience hangs out, you might choose to use one or all of the platforms listed below, which may help you recover some Google Plus features.
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a snippet of information about your business’ operating information, reviews, and so much more. Getting on GMBcan help you appear as a business profile and on Google Maps, both on desktop and mobile, when users search for brands like yours.
Business Profiles on Google Search look like this:
Business Profiles on Google Maps look like this:
Business Profiles on mobile searches look like this:
While all this information is likely on your website, GMB helps you index the content and share it with a broader audience.
The result? A potential boost in search result rankings, revenue, and valuable insights about your customers.
Why Google My Business Is a Good Replacement for Google Plus
Google My Business is more than an online local business directory. It comes with “social” features, making it a suitable replacement for Google Plus.
People can tap the “+ Follow” button under your listing on their mobile devices and receive updates from your business. You can use the feature to send out a special “Welcome Offer” when someone opts in to help incentivize people to shop at your store.
Lastly, Google My Business comes with interactive features like reviews and a Q&A section. With 91% of younger customers using online reviews to make purchasing decisions, engaging and monitoring brand sentiment can help you build a stronger “know, like, and trust factor” with your audience.
How to Use Google My Business:
- Highlight all the information about your business, such as opening hours, your website, products, menus, location, and other essential details.
- Use the GMB dashboard to see which search queries people are using to find your business, a breakdown of actions (calls, clicks, bookings), and how your profile performs compared to others in your category.
- Boost your local SEO by optimizing your GMB profile with keywords to help you rank higher in local search results.
Facebook for Local Business
Facebook is the largest social media network in the world. On average, 1.82 billion people log into the site every day, and it boasts a whopping 2.7 billion monthly active users.
While the platform started to keep in contact with friends and family, it’s morphed into a powerful and lucrative business tool.
Why Facebook Is a Good Replacement for Google Plus
Building an online community that loves your brand is one of the keys to success.
The only problem?
Starting from scratch is a challenge, and it was a problem the Google Plus community solved well.
Fortunately, you can replace it with two Facebook options: Groups and Business Pages.
Over 1.4 billion people use Facebook Groups every month, and the feature comes with a ton of tools to help you provide value to your audience and encourage engagement.
With Facebook Business Pages, you can replace your Google Plus page and get features like reviews, instant messaging and automated replies, special offers, and analytics.
Plus, if you have the budget, you can access these 2 billion people via targeted Facebook Ads.
How to Use Facebook:
- Create a Facebook Group to build a strong community and help people connect.
- Share exclusive offers on your Facebook Page.
- Share important business information like location, contact details, website, and menus.
- Create and promote events.
- Provide instant customer support.
- Direct traffic back to your website.
- Use reviews to build your brand credibility.
- Get feedback directly from your audience.
LinkedIn for Local Businesses
By now, many of us have created a LinkedIn personal profile to keep up with colleagues, apply for jobs, and promote our brands.
When used correctly, LinkedIn can take things a step further and help you generate leads and establish yourself as an industry thought leader.
Why LinkedIn Is a Good Replacement for Google+
One of the best features on Google Plus was circles.
You could create different ones and then add people to them. It was a way to segment your updates and keep your professional and business lives separate.
LinkedIn helps you keep this balance. You can connect with co-workers, ask for introductions to potential clients, and share content to boost your business or personal brand.
How to Use LinkedIn:
- SEO optimize your profile with keywords potential clients could use to find you.
- Join industry or niche LinkedIn groups to connect with like-minded people and establish your brand.
- Share regular updates and opinions related to your business or industry.
- Ask your 1st-degree connections for introductions to 2nd or 3rd-degree connections who fit your ideal consumer profile.
- Publish articles on LinkedIn Pulse with actionable content for your dream clients.
Pinterest for Local Businesses
Do you own a visually appealing e-commerce brand?
Then it’s time to tap into the power of Pinterest.
Why Pinterest Is a Good Replacement to Google Plus
While Google Plus was good for sharing updates and creating a community, it didn’t have a way for you to boost sales.
Pinterest, on the other hand, has exploded its e-commerce capabilities.
First rolling out buyable pins and then promoted pins, the platform encourages users to take action on their feeds’ inspirational content.
However, before you head on over to Pinterest, know the site is not for everyone.
As the site is a visual search engine, your brand needs that element to succeed. If your brand doesn’t appeal to the platform’s niche interests and demographics, it might not be the best Google Plus replacement for you.
How to Use Pinterest:
- SEO optimizes your profile, boards, and pins to boost your brand’s visibility in search results.
- Create visually appealing pins to get users to click-through.
- Activate Rich Pins and make your pins shoppable to increase conversions.
- Use a Pinterest scheduler tool like Tailwind to pin at the best times for engagement.
- Invest in Pinterest ads to reach your ideal customer.
Instagram for Local Businesses
Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for relationship building and showing your customers the humanity behind your brand.
This is especially true if you want to target Millennials and Gen Z. 13-17-year-olds are the largest demographic on the app, followed by 18-20-year-olds and 30-49-year-olds.
Why Instagram Is a Good Replacement for Google Plus
Google Plus could upload photos, multi-person instant messaging, text and video calls, and location tagging. Instagram has all that and then some.
While savvy coaches and entrepreneurs use the app to sell in the DMs, Instagram has released more shoppable features and ads since being acquired by Facebook.
For e-commerce brands, it’s a potential gold mine.
How to Use Instagram:
- Create a content calendar for your feed posts, IG Lives, IGTV, and Reels.
- Show up daily on Stories to stay at the top of your followers’ feeds.
- Do your hashtag research and figure out which terms your ideal customer is using.
- Run targeted ads to boost your exposure and sales.
- Collaborate with other brands and creators in your niche.
- Use your bio blurb to entice people to click on the link in your bio.
- Use storytelling techniques in your captions to touch on pain points and bring in sales.
- Learn how to take better photos or hire a photographer.
- Create highly shareable pieces of content.
How These Alternatives to Google Plus Can Help Your Local Business
Still not convinced these social media platforms can benefit your business?
Here are some of the ways these Google Plus alternatives can help grow your audience and boost sales:
Create Brand Awareness and Recognition
Using one or more social media networks to replace Google Plus will help you spread the word about your business.
The more you show up online, the more you expose people to your brand, and the more people will remember who you are and buy your products or services.
Increase Your Local Business Traffic
Content marketing is king. It’s a free way for you to get in front of your ideal customer, solve a problem, and get them onto your website.
Using your social media platforms to promote your latest blog post or YouTube video may increase the number of eyeballs on your products or services and lead to more sales.
Use Data to Improve Your Marketing
With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offering in-depth analytic reports, you can deep dive into what is resonating with your audience.
You can also use features like polls to survey your followers and find out what products or services you should release next.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
People expect businesses to handle their customer service questions and complaints through social media quickly.
Using apps like Facebook, you can solve complaints ASAP, avoid sales from falling through the cracks, and build meaningful relationships with your customers.
As you can see, there is no duplicate for Google Plus. Each of the networks we have looked at is similar but doesn’t offer the same features.
When it comes to finding a suitable Google Plus alternative, what features are most important to you?
The post 5 Alternatives to Google Plus for Your Local Business appeared first on Neil Patel.