Google+ isn’t large. It doesn’t have very good engagement. And it is not nearly as powerful as Facebook.

But I’ve never been more excited about any other social media channel. Why?

Because nearly every C-suite executive knows that social media is important, but they don’t really know why.

According to a study from SHRM, a stunning 79 percent of businesses that use social media do not track social media ROI. I suspect that’s because social media ROI is difficult to track.

It is for this reason that the C-suite has been very reluctant to fully embrace social media: Who cares if our Twitter account has 1300 followers or if 800 people like us on Facebook? What does that mean for our bottom line?

That’s the problem with social media. The benefits are so vague.

This is why Google+ makes me so excited. The benefits are obvious.

The C-suite gets SEO

Senior executives may not get social media, but they get SEO. They understand that better rankings = more traffic = more revenue.

Better rankings = more traffic = more revenue. Image by epSos.de via Flickr.

That’s why they will get Google+.

We all know the folktale about how to boil a frog. If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water the frog will jump out. You have to place the frog in a pot of cool water and then slowly heat the water to a boil.

Google has done that with SEO. Three years ago, if you had told internet marketers that social media would be integral to actual search results, and that the preferences of your friends would actually impact SEO, they would have called you crazy.

But because Google has done this piecemeal, it doesn’t sound so crazy.

First, shortly after launching Google+ last year, Google announced that the preferences of people in your circles would influence your search results. So if someone in your circles “+1s” something or shares something, that impacts what you see when you search.

This development shook the SEO world, but it only applied if you were a Google+ user and were logged in to Google+ at the time of your search.

Then, in the spring, searchers started to notice that Google+ was influencing results regardless of whether or not someone was logged in to Google or was even a Google+ user.

Think about that: organic search results changing because of +1s and shares on a social network – a social network the searcher might not even belong to.

But the biggest coup came this summer. Google announced that Google Places would be slowly phased out and that Google+ Local would take its place.

That means that tens of thousands of local SEO companies were forced to become Google+ experts overnight. In other words, Google+ is now local SEO.

And based on the progression of our little chain of events, I don’t believe Google is done yet.

Here’s the point: Google+ has made SEO and social media the same thing. There is no difference. That’s why I care about Google+. And that’s why your CEO will too.

Google+: the gateway drug

Google+ is the content marketer’s gateway into the CEO’s world. Maybe he or she hasn’t cared about social media in the past. Maybe he or she doesn’t want to hire someone to manage social media.

Maybe he or she has been hesitant to hire someone to churn out content to share via social media. Or, maybe your CEO just refuses to create a Twitter account or Google+ page and actually post stuff on it.

If any of these things sound familiar, listen to what I’m about to say: This is your chance to show him or her, clearly, that social media does count.

Once you’ve got your CEO to see that Google+ = SEO, you can sell him or her on other social media channels.

That’s why I care about Google+ and why you should too.

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