Google+ can be quite confusing. That’s a given. But one of the most confusing things for brands right now, and those who follow them, would have to be the ‘+1’ and ‘Follow’ functions. Why are there two of these things instead of just one ‘Like’ type function, like Facebook has?
Which is best?
The short answer is both.
To break it down into why both are necessary functions, I’ll explain each one.
The +1 Button
The +1 button is far more than just a ‘like’ button. Facebook’s ‘like’ button is confined to Facebook. Sure, practically every website that’s built half decently will have a Facebook plug in allowing them to ‘like’ something outside of Facebook – however, that ‘like’ is only shown on that specific site, and within Facebook itself – nowhere else.
With Google’s +1 button, you can build your online reputation. You can also publicly recommend articles, posts, brands – any content you find useful – and this is extended over all Google’s products, i.e. Google+, Google Search. One of its biggest advantages is that you can +1 something directly from the results when you’ve run a search on Google.
You can also manage your +1’s right from within your Google+ account (business and personal) so that you can view them down the line and, should you wish to do so, revoke them at any time:
When you +1 something, you’re recommending it to your followers.
Not only that, your +1 button also enables you to get your metrics from Google Analytics. The data within your Webmaster Tools will help you to better understand your audience by seeing things like gender, age, and which demographic have +1’d your posts the most. This then helps you to redefine the groups you wish to target.
In fact, your +1s affect what you see in your search results too. For example, if I’ve +1’d something ROARlocal have shared on Google+, and then type in words contained in the title of what they’ve shared into Google search, that post is going to appear in the top results.
Google will also index authorship of that result:
Which is great for building your online reputation.
The Follow Button
The follow button on your personal/ business profile is so that others can follow you. It’s like following someone on Twitter.
The thing is, people get this confused and all too often, think that if they’ve +1’d your page, they’re now following you. This is not the case!
To follow a company on Google+, you MUST click on the ‘Follow’ button!
All brands should add the ‘Follow’ button on their websites. Especially on the pages which have the most traffic.
To see how to add the ‘Follow’ button to your own website, click here
Here’s an example of a profile badge Google Developers have used, which enables anyone visiting that web page to both ‘Follow’ and +1 them, right from that page:
Hopefully you’ll now have a much clearer idea of the +1 and ‘Follow’ functions, the difference between them, and recognise the need for both, but if you have any questions, let us know in the comments.
Want us to sort out your Google+ profile and business pages for you? Then get in touch!