Written by Scott Gordon, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

We all have to decide which social media platforms we are going to use and how much time we want to commit to them. Many originators avoid Google Plus because they aren’t sure what it is or why they should bother using it. Allow me to jump to the punch line and say, “You need to be using Google Plus!”

Before I explain what it is or why you should use it, let me remind you of a simple truth: People use social media to be found, become known and gain the trust of potential clients. The key piece of that is being found. If potential clients find you on the Web and reach out, you are given the opportunity to interact with them, educate them about your services and earn their trust. But in order to initiate any of that, you must first be findable.

Google Plus (G+) is a social networking site very similar to Facebook, and yet very different. On G+, users create a profile that shares who you are with the world. On G+ you can post comments, photos, updates, links to articles, etc., much like on Facebook. One difference is that on Facebook, when you connect, both people see each other’s posts. On G+ you don’t connect with someone, you follow them. You see the posts of people you follow. In this sense, it is similar to Twitter.

G+ has “circles,” which are lists of people you follow who all have something in common. When you follow someone, you place them into one or more of your circles. For example, I have a circle called “Open Mortgage” and one called “Motorcycles.” If I follow a fellow employee of Open Mortgage, I would put them in the Open Mortgage circle. If they were also bike nuts like me, I’d put them in the Motorcycle circle too. Circles allow you to group your connections so you can post to specific groups. Circles allow you to be more relevant to your connections.

Do you need G+ if you already use Facebook?

Yes. Different networks have different types of people, and not everyone is everywhere. If you have already done a profile for Facebook, it’s easy to do one on G+, so why not?

Also, the network’s user base is growing rapidly. With Google behind it, you know it will be huge. And finally, the people who first adopted G+ are techies and professionals—that’s a great group to connect with!

Now, the real reason you should be on G+ is to help you be findable by potential clients looking to engage a trusted professional in a discussion about reverse mortgages. To be found, you need to have a website or blog. Your blog is your “home base.” It’s the place where YOU control everything that is said about you. It’s where you show the world your picture, your contact info and your hometown, so they know who you are and where to find you. You want the world, or at least the world of your future clients, to find you. Google has search algorithms it uses to decide who to show in the results when someone searches. If you are a loan originator in Austin, Texas, you want your blog to show up when someone in Austin searches for “mortgage.”

Here is the most valuable part: Having a G+ page identifies you to Google. It gives you a base level of “authorship” since you are the author of the G+ page. You can then make your G+ identity the author of your blog. Then Google knows and trusts you, making you more likely to show up when someone does a relevant search in your city. We can talk a lot more about the power of authority in future articles. But for now, get out there and create a G+ account if you don’t already have one; it’s a key part of being found!