Are you one of those people who is already sick of hearing about Google+? Do you not quite understand why you should start using Google+ when you are already on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and all the other social media sites? If you are, I don't blame you. Social media is always changing and it's quite difficult to keep up with everything.

In this post, I will make the case why you should pay attention to Google+ and use it right now.

Most people think online reputation management is one of those things people in a crisis or after a crisis have to deal with and forget that they should be working to control the dialogues and search results now as preventative maintenance. Working with the social media sites that rank well in Google is part of online reputation management as the company can gain more branded search results and subsequently reduce the number of negative listings. Social media and Google+ can help you control the conversation and...

1. own your search engine results page

Google+ content is now penetrating the search engine results page.

Imagine for instance, that you are ABC News or Toyota. Try Googling those terms. You don't need to be logged in to Google+ and in addition to a few sitelinks under the main listing, there is a link to the Google+ page and 2 Google+ Page posts! The real estate you can occupy is tremendous and is all above the "fold." This makes it pretty easy for users to click on content you own/control without even scrolling down the page.

ABC News SERP

2. promote positive content

While not all sites are seeing these results yet, the companies that have Google+ page posts displaying in the SERPs have an opportunity to share fresh content about the company or organization on the search engine results page. Share information you want to rank well in the search space. If users find it interesting, they may +1 or link to it, recommending that content to Google and helping its rank.

3. google+ direct connect

Google is slowly rolling out a new feature of Google+ Business Pages, Direct Connect, to those who have linked their website with their Google+ Page.  These Google+ Pages can now be found through Direct Connect in Google Search. Google indicated this will happen for any business Google deems relevant for a given search that is searched with a + symbol in front of its name. If people select the Google+ Page, they'll be taken directly to that Google+ Page, completing bypassing the SERP that may have negative listings.

Google+ Direct Connect

Q: Why in the world would a company want users to land on Google's website over the company's website?

A: Direct Connect takes users away from the search engine results page and lands on the official Google+ page. Direct Connect only gives one result instead of the potentially negative or competitor listings that appear in regular brand searches. In a crisis situation, Direct Connect may be just what you need to get users to a place where you are controlling the dialogue.