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Social media is the future of search, in one form or another.
Whether as a hub for users actually searching for each other (through things like Graph Search) or as a strong signal for classic search tools like Google and Bing, it’s important.
So, most freelancers understand the importance of using it to promote themselves, drive traffic to their website, spread the most recent controversy they’re brewing on their blog, and build relationships with prospects and clients.
At the same time, most freelancers don’t have nearly enough time to promote themselves on 10 or 15 different sites.
Even if you only focused on the big ones there are between 4 and 6 at any given time that we could argue are “big”.
Facebook.
Twitter.
Google+.
YouTube
Pinterest
The list is long and these are just the big ones. So, when you start using social media as a marketing tool for your business, where do you start? Throw all your energy into one or spread it out across three or four?
I’ve seen strategies for both and I personally do a little bit of spreading these days, though my time on social media as a whole is fairly limited.
That said, Google+ is probably the most important of the bunch when it comes to raw benefits.
Here are a few reasons why.
First, Google+ is a strong signal for the search results. Google is using profiles, shares and content on Google+ to determine social strength, not just because they own it but because they don’t get along with Facebook very well and Twitter is a content mess.
But, aren’t there a lot fewer people on Google+ than Facebook?
Yes, but keep in mind that G+ has been closely linked to the B2B community for some time. Your prospects and clients? They use Google+.
But, population will never be a winner for Google+. That goes to Facebook. And demographics go to LinkedIn.
The sole reason I recommend using Google+ before the others is Author Rank. Google’s new authorship algorithm allows you to claim content you write.
A blog.
An article.
An individual page on a website.
You can claim them with a Google+ badge and a link on your profile. It’s how your picture shows up next to the search results in Google.
Author Rank is a measurement of how valuable and trustworthy the content you create on a whole is for those who read it.
So, the more you publish on Google+ and the more people who read it, the better you’ll perform.

The Other Guys

This post isn’t really about social media as a whole. It’s about why Author Rank and the whole idea of authorship online is changing because of Google+ and why you need to have a profile there.
If you haven’t yet, check out this infographic, published by CopyBlogger.
It’s a prime example of what you can do to improve your content marketing efforts on G+ and get a better audience flowing into your site.
If you’re already using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, by all means keep doing it. If you’re using YouTube, don’t stop.
But if you’re NOT using Google+ remedy the situation as soon as possible because it is going to be the most important social network when it comes to search, at least for the next few years (until something inevitably changes yet again).