At this point the evidence is clear that both Google+ personal accounts and brand pages are affecting Google search results in multiple ways. +1 buttons and Direct Connect are also having an impact and YouTube is displaying signs of Google+ integration. So whether or not Google+ ends up with as many users as Facebook, Facebook's closed world and Google's ownership of search and video (via YouTube) ensures the necessity of bands getting involved in Google+. In other words, you will be assimilated!
Early Adopters Double Winnings With Google+
With most new social networks that attract large numbers of users, the primary reason to get involved early is to take advantage of the network effect. As an early adopter one can establish a base of followers that then helps one's follower rate increase much more rapidly than those who join later. This process is facilitated by people looking for accounts on topics of interest as they join, checking to see who their friends follow and getting recommendation from the network based on connections and who's hot.
Google's frontrunner status in search gave early adopters of Google+ an additional reason to join given the likelihood that Google would eventually find ways to forefront Google+ members in search just as they've forefronted members of such services as Google Places (google search for static age records) and YouTube (google search for adele rolling in the deep).
A similar process is now being documented for both Google+ personal accounts and brand pages, a likelihood that was widely predicted in the SEO community when Google+ launched this summer, though I only discovered those predictions in retrospect.
Google+ Personal Accounts
I was actually alerted to a positive impact on Google search engine results by Robert Scoble who mentioned that he was seeing an SEO affect from posts on his personal Google+ account. Though I can't find it now, Scoble tends to be a good source for shifts in social media and is currently posting more on his Google+ account than on Scobleizer.
From what I can tell, Google+ is not stopping spidering of links in one's profile or posts, except for certain internal links. In a post about these developments, WebProNews confirms that links are spiderable so that optimizing one's profile is a smart move. They also mentioning seeing Google+ results appearing in Google search results as have a number of other sources. In fact, Bill Hartzer already has tips on getting your Google+ posts indexed by Google.
Chris Brogan has also observed positive results in searches while multiple writers, including Kristi Hines at Search Engine Watch, have noticed personal Google+ profiles moving up in rankings on individual names.
On a related note, use of the +1 button is also having an increasing effect on search results in Google.
Google+ Brand Pages
A similar but somewhat delayed phenomenon is also happening with Google+ brand pages which is probably the bigger news for bands who are not allowed to use personal pages. I first heard about Google+ brand pages quickly ranking highly in Google searches via Madalyn Sklar and found this also documented in the SEO community.
If you've been having trouble getting your content about your band at the top of Google's search results, Google+ brand pages will clearly help with that based on additional observations by Melanie Phung at All About Content. Tips on using Google+ Brand Pages are starting to appear though it's a bit early in the game for real analysis of how they're affecting results especially given that Google+ is a work in progress.
Related Effect on YouTube Videos
Given that Google is still the top search engine, that YouTube is still the top video site and that YouTube users watch a lot of music videos, bands cannot ignore the Google empire no matter how much stumbling and liking and tweeting people are doing these days.
Like I said back in July, Resistance is Futile!
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.