Google+ Marketing for Dummies author Jesse StaySince its launch in 2011, Google’s social media network has steadily grown to its current high of over 400 million members. Facebook boasts over a billion users worldwide, but Google+ has a number of unique value propositions for marketers.

Early in October, we shared important Google+ marketing benefits, including the ability to appear in Google Search results relevant to your industry or geographic area. In this post, learn why social media authority Jesse Stay, author of Google+ Marketing for Dummies, says Google+ is a social network marketers simply can’t ignore.

The author recently sat down with SocialMediaExaminer.com’s Michael Stelzner to tape an episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Stay shared his insight into Google’s strategy for their social network and what it means for marketers.

You Can’t Compare Google+ to Facebook

“Facebook, in many ways, is a destination site,” said Stay. People go to Facebook.com or use the mobile app to get information from close friends and family. “Google+ has a destination site at Plus.Google.com,” he explained, “But it also has much more than that. It’s intended to be a layer on top of all of Google’s products.”

What does that mean for marketers? Google is working to integrate Google+ into all of their other products, to make it an integral part of the entire Google experience. It’s a powerful concept, says Stay, that you have to think of differently. People are using Google properties such as YouTube, Gmail, or Calendars; Google Plus is the glue that connects all of these products together, exposing users to the social element of the network on each of these sites.

“By going to Google.Plus.com and establishing a presence there, starting to build relationships through there and getting endorsements on the content you share, you’re increasing your search ranking,” said Stay.

Don’t Let Past Experience Color Your Opinion

Google Plus is the social network marketers can't ignore.

Perhaps you tried using Google+ sometime in the last year, or have heard of others using it without great results. Try again, said Stay. “Some people are seeing great results and I’m one of those people,” he shared. “My audience on Google+ is just as big as my audience on Facebook.”

Understanding your audience is important, he said, but at the same time, you have to understand that using Google+ to build and connect with your audience lends to your company having an edge in Search. Endorsements and social sharing help content build authority, which helps it get in front of the right audience when they’re seeking information.

If you’re thinking this sounds like it would work for content-based businesses alone, Stay says Google+ has massive potential for product-based companies and retailers, as well. As Search becomes more personal and social recommendations carry more and more weight, it’s important to get your products and services on Google+, to earn those social endorsements.

Focus on the People Within Your Brand and Your Customers, More Than the Brand Itself

Google is trying hard not to let their social network become an attractive dumping ground for spammers, says Stay. It won’t be a good experience for social media users if the site becomes brand-heavy; it should be about the people on the network, not the advertising.

On older networks like Twitter, spam occurs in the form of automated direct messages, fake profiles, and tweets scheduled to publish at regular and often too frequent intervals throughout the day. Google is trying to reduce the possibility of this happening on Google+ by limiting automation through third-party software. This is a very good thing for marketers, said Stay, as the relationships marketers are building are more authentic.

Try to spend a bit of extra time and effort on audience building, he said. Take advantage of being one of the “early movers” in the space; down the road, it will pay off with a more personalized, loyal audience.

Eager to learn more about Google+ and how to use it to build your business? Check out 15 Google+ Tips from Social Media Expert Chris Brogan on the Dell Social Business Connection blog.