Every month a billion people utilize Google’s search engine, making it the most visited website in the world. So it stands to reason that Google’s latest social network, Google Plus (aka G+ or Google+), will be a boon to businesses that embrace it.
Since the rollout of Google+ last year, it has quickly risen in popularity and is ranking as one of the most trafficked social platforms. Sixty percent of Google+ users log on daily and eighty percent engage weekly. Google+ allows for personal profile pages as well as business pages. For businesses, Google+ pages make it easy to connect with and interact with customers.
As with other social networks, it’s all about the ‘S’ word! Sharing! Sharing doesn’t mean dropping links onto the page once in a while, it’s much deeper than that. In order to lure the public to your business page, you must create relevant, interesting and/or entertaining information; and it must be congruent with your brand’s image. These bits of information can be in the form of links, videos, pictures, ebooks, etc. All posts should have key word rich comments.
Once you make your Google Plus business page, start following other businesses. These can be similar businesses in other areas, businesses that are local to you and/or businesses that compliment your product(s). Since Google+ is relatively new, fellow users will probably follow you back and start engaging quickly. Google+ allows users to make ‘circles’ which is really a folder of sorts and it’s a way to categorize your followers. You can make many circles and label them based on any criteria. For businesses, it might be wise to have a ‘local’ circle in which you place all users that follow you, or you follow, who are local in it. Other circles relevant to businesses may be based on demographics, products etc. The beauty of circles is that you can stream your posts to all of them or just one of them. In addition, you can send your posts out to the public so that anyone can read them whether they follow you or not. In addition, you want to continuously ‘share’ and ‘like’ posts that other users have posted. In general, users are honored that you have shared and liked their posts and often will return the favor and/or start following you. When you share or like other posts as a business page, you want to keep your brands image in mind and remember that customers or potential customers are watching!
‘Hangouts’ is a great tool that is available to Google+ users. In a nutshell it is a video chat; however, it allows up to ten people to meet online from remote locations and it allows the sharing of Google Documents. Businesses can use the hangout feature to collaborate with team members, run demos, hold focus groups, etc. These can be pre-planned or done on the fly.
The ‘Direct Connect’ feature is one of the reasons that this platform should be embraced by businesses! As you build your page, you want to be certain to link your business website to the page and visa-versa. By doing this, people can type ‘+yourbusinessname’ into the Google search bar and they will be directed to your company page. In addition, Google is indexing Google+ profiles and pages quickly and they do show up in search results. This may help your website rank higher in organic search results.
Other tips: build a strong profile utilizing strong key words, use key words in your posts, put the Google+ badge/icon everywhere so that customers can quickly link to your page, think of creative ways to use hangouts, mention other Google+ users in your posts by typing the + sign and then their name, utilize hashtags (they are searchable) as you hopefully already to on Twitter, be sure to use the +1 button on your own posts.
Take the time to explore and utilize Google+ Pages and you will no doubt enhance your brand. Social presence is important to Google as is compelling content. Businesses that embrace this platform will no doubt be rewarded.
Heather Graham is a Certified Social Media Strategist, who will show you how to build your brand, reach your audience, and increase your exposure to the world.