Google Plus As A Business Tool
Google Plus for Mortgage ProfessionalsThere is no doubt that Social Media is here to stay.
Facebook has over 750 million users and Twitter reports that over 1.3 billion tweets go out each week.
Large brands are using Social Media to grow their customer’s awareness, share offers and entertain millions of followers.
Yes, social media has become an important part of the online vibe.
So, why would I use Social Media as a mortgage broker?
Of course you don't need to at all. If you're not interested in exposure to hundreds of millions of potential clients and business associates, then just move on. It's not for everyone. But...if you are here to learn about how and why to use Social Media, read on.
A quick look at my Facebook page and the updates that are posted, and I’m not really seeing much more than an online chat party. Most people are only sharing personal blather and what seems to be each and every dull thought that flows through their mind.
Twitter appears to be a bunch of odd looking links pointing to lord knows where. How do I grow my network in 140 characters?
So, I’m supposed to be adopting social media as a legitimate place to market to customers and more importantly grow my network.
Social Media experts are everywhere, they all have goatees and from what I can see almost everyone I know that understands computers is suddenly a Social Media Consultant.
What to do?
There is more to social than serving as a reminder for birthdays. Somehow for years I was able to remember all the important birthdays in my life but, suddenly it appears as though I have 9 friends with birthdays this week……really?
I certainly could care less that a guy I went to high school with, and haven’t talked to for years, just got home from backpacking in Istanbul. The sad part is, this is the most interesting update I’ve seen in months. I still could care less.
I need to understand from a very realistic point of view how and why I will make more money if I spend 25 minutes a day on this new-age media channel.
A quick search, in Google of course, leads me to a guy named Chris Brogan.
I spent some time and read a number of his articles both current and past on the topic and I found some really interesting information.
Mr. Brogan has been a blogger and social media expert forever.
Brogan explains that he has pretty much abandoned Facebook and claims he spent years building a network into the thousands on both twitter and FB, only to wake up one day and come to the realization that…..
He hasn’t ever been able to directly attribute a single solitary dime made on those mediums.
Social media, and all the people selling their knowledge on the topic, is starting to look like one of those charge me money, to show me, how to show other people, how to make money, and the only monetary remuneration is all in the showing, and none of the actual making money part.
This is starting to have a Tommy Vu feeling.
How am I going to actually benefit commercially from Social Media?
By leveraging the most important and influential company on the net and their desire to take over social media in a brand new way….literally.
Who is that company? Google.
Google dominates search. Search is how the entire world discovers information and finds new people and companies to buy things from.
We use Google every single day to discover information and make more informed decisions on where to spend our money.
Why do we use Google? Pretty simple, because it returns the best and most accurate information on the topic we’re searching.
How much do we use Google?
A lot! Try 35,000 times. Not per day, not per hour but….35,000 times per second and that is just in the United States.
So, the real question is": How many times per second is your service showing up in these search results? You don’t need to grab a large percentage of these in order to become very, very successful.
So, what does that have to do with Social Media?
Google’s answer recently is... everything.
In February of 2012 Google launched a brand new way to display search results. It’s called “Google Plus Your World”.
You may have noticed these new personal results on the results page recently and wondered what the heck they were.
Below you will see an example of personal results at work.
Here you can see that I am logged into Google, as many people are, approximately 24% of the internet is logged into Google whether they know it or not. This number is growing all the time as Google continues to integrate all its products into one massive personal search extravaganza.
I have Chip Poli in one of my "Circles" on Google Plus and, when I queried "Massachusetts Mortgage Lender", look who shows up first (the results before Poli Mortgage are paid results).
Believe it or not, your past clients can and will forget about you. A Realtor you worked with a year ago may have forgotten about you too. How many times have you called a client out of the blue when interest rates dipped, only to hear a very embarrassed person on the other end explaining that they just went to othermortgagecompany.com and refinanced?
Yes, it happens.
Well, Google is trying hard to make sure that it never happens to you again. If I had somehow forgotten that I had used Chip Poli to refinance a few years ago and I hear a news report that interest rates dropped and I jump online to search for a mortgage lender, there he is. Google has politely reminded me that Chip is in my social network and that he is a Massachusetts Mortgage Lender.
Thanks for the help, Google!
For a period of months, Google was showing social media results on the results page in its own area. Now they are integrating the personal results right into the regular search results.
They used to show people in your FB network but, they aren't anymore. They are drowning out FB and Twitter and the like, and it isn't a mistake or an oversight, it is by internet domination design.
A game Google has ruled on high, for a long time.
So, why fight Google? Fighting Google would be a fool's game right. Of course it is.
Here is the breakdown of search traffic to one of my sites for the last 30 days. As you can see Google sends the overwhelming majority of organic search visits with over 78%:
Knowing this, why would anyone who is trying to earn money in the online vertical concentrate their efforts on any other online traffic source? They wouldn't. Google owns the net and in order for you to own your little portion of the net, you need to understand how Google works and exploit that to every extant that you can.
This starts with diverting your efforts to Google Plus.
I'm not suggesting that drop your FB account, there is a place for that, how else would you find out your uncle Charlie just bought a new propane grill for his motor home? I know you love your Facebook, I'm only kidding!
So, other than the fact that jumping on board and working with Google to be found online, what are the other benefits?
Google spent years and billions of dollars studying and extracting information about how users interfaced with FB, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Digg, Wordpress and the other hundreds of Web 2.0 outlets on the internet.
The result was what Google considers the perfect Social Media platform for building a network and sharing information.
Unlike FB where you invite people to be part of your network and then they can decide to add you or not, on Google+ you can add anyone you wish to your Circles and then watch their updates.
You can choose at any time, which circles you want to view in your update stream.
You can also set any number of Circles you want. You can segregate your Circles by group or category, at work you can have a group of other mortgage professionals all in one Circle and only view and comment on their updates. At home you can switch over to your Friend Circles and only view those.
FB is much different, it is impossible to ignore Cousin Eddy on FB without shutting Facebook down altogether.
Interest rates for instance are a very fluid market. Interest rates is your lifeblood and sharing a change in rates is vitally important in order to gain new business.
A customary website and Facebook only get indexed by Google and the other search engines periodically. Sometimes once a day and sometimes only once a week.
Google+ is indexed and added to search results almost in real time. So, you post an update on interest rates to your Google+ stream and there is a strong possibility that it can and will be found by those not just in your network, but also by the outside world.
Kind of a non-commercial term for sure but, companies everywhere are leveraging Google Hangouts to its full extent and generating business from it.
A "hangout" is basically free video conferencing. A Google+ user can request a hangout with anyone in their network and set up weekly training events, seminars, sales meetings and so on. The quality is excellent and it can easily handle numerous attendees, who can be involved or just watch.
Social media has an influence on your ability to be found online in general, not just seen by your network. Google+ packs far more weight than the other channels. As you post and share on Google+, you are far more likely to be put in other people's Circles.
The more Circles you are in, the more authority you are seen to have in the eyes of the major search engines. As Google sees your information and sharing activity grow and build a following, the more likely it will be to send your service to everyday search results.
This will have a direct correlation and positive impact on your income.
Search Engine Optimization and Visibility:
The more you interact with Google+ and you build relationships with other users, the more information about you and your service will be shared. Both on Google+ and other places on the internet.
As your profile is built, Google will notice and consider you and your service more important than those that are not involved.
A link to your personal web page in a share on G+by someone else will have a massive impact on your organic search-ability.
There is far more to this than we can discuss here but, believe me, a Google+ share by others is becoming as important as a link to your page from other major pages on the web.
Google+ has grown to over 90 Million Users in just a short period of time. The platform was only opened to all users on November of 2011. So, in just about 4 months the network has grown pretty large and it continues to grow every day.
It enjoys far more interaction than most other social media sites as well. LinkedIn is only used daily by 24% of its users and Twitter only gets daily visits from 50% of its users.
Google+ is visited daily by over 60% of its users.
Let's face it, Google is pretty good at diverting traffic to where it wants traffic, we can agree there right?
Would you think it makes sense to concentrate your online business efforts anywhere but a Google product?
Google has a pretty clear goal of being #1 in Social Media and it is very likely they will succeed.
Become an early adopter:
Becoming involved with G+ today is far better than waiting for tomorrow.
If you are evaluating social networks as a business building plan, get in early on Google+, you won't be disappointed in the future.
How Do I Sign Up?
Set aside 20 minutes and visit https://plus.google.com/
You will need a Google Account which you can set up simultaneously. All the Google tools and such are available under one password so, you won't need to remember a bunch of user names and passwords.
What Do I Do Once I'm There?
First of all it's important to understand what Social Media is all about.
It isn't about immediately posting "how great you are" at least, not quite yet. You would never walk up to someone at a cocktail party and introduce yourself by saying "I'm the best, buy from me".
You wouldn't barge in on other conversations without listening first would you?
You would first listen and then engage right? Social media is no different.
First you want to create a couple Circles, you can name them whatever you want and then add anyone you want to any of your Circles, they will be notified that they were added but, they won't know what you named the Circle.
You can name them: Friends - Moronic Friends - Realtors - Business Associates - People I Can't Stand
It doesn't matter, they won't know where you put them.
Then you want to invite new users to Join Google+, this is how social networks are built. Introduce new people to this channel and they will join. They were just waiting for someone else to join before they did, so go ahead and encourage them to.
As you cruise the internet simply share interesting things you come across, it's a pretty simple strategy.
G+ makes it very easy to share things online. You will start seeing little +1 buttons on most websites.
When you click the Plus One Button a small box will open that looks like this:
The article title and a quick "snippet" will be all filled in for you, as will the picture thumbnail from the article and you can add a comment as shown. Then just hit share.
As you share things from others, they will reciprocate and share things from you.
At first people will re-share items you have shared from others and then they will start sharing your own items like your website and you profile information.
How Will I Find People To Add?
You will fill out basic profile information about your industry, employer and other items which you can choose to, or not to, add this information, it's up to you.
Google will suggest people to follow based on your interests, company, industry and such.
To Sum It Up
Social Media is here to stay, this is impossible to argue.
The most internet savvy businesses are actively using Google+ and other social media channels to make customers aware of what they have for sale. Watch what they do, how they use the platform and simply duplicate their tactics.
There is no point in reinventing the wheel.
If you're investigating a social network as a business tool I believe, as do many experts on the topic, Google+ is the one that will have the biggest impact in the future.
It just wouldn't make sense to fight the Big G machine!
Good luck and happy sharing.