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Google+ Your Business Page

11 November, 2011

Google Plus LogoThis week has seen the launch of Google+ business pages – just what we’ve all been waiting for!  I wrote about Google plus back in July, talking about how to make google plus work for your business. But until now, Google+ has focused on rolling out services to individuals who want to use this powerful new social media tool for connecting and networking.  However, many of the early adopters have been eagerly anticipating the release of the Google+ Pages function.

Most businesses that use social media will already have a Facebook Page and are probably aware of the benefits that it brings to communication, search engine optimization and community building.  Using a Facebook Page has proven to be an effective means of promoting businesses and developing excellent brand awareness.  You can use the analytics tools to view key demographics and track interactions to gain a valuable insight into the Page’s “fans”.

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<p>Now Google+ has released a similar feature that promises to be every bit, if not more, powerful than the Facebook Page.  I created a <a href=Google+ Page for Ltd but, obviously, it will be a few weeks before I can make any realistic comparisons with the Facebook Page I have.  It will be interesting to monitor both over the next few months in order to see which one is the most effective as a business tool.  I found an article on Mashable that looks as if it’s offering a comparison, but it’s actually quite a short piece that comes to the same conclusion as I have – namely that “it’s still too early to tell”.

However, as an early adopter of the Google+ page, Mashable, as usual, has published a host of How To Guides and Tips and Tricks that will be useful in setting up your own Google+ page.

Mashable has also published an interesting report on the fact that Google+ is not planning to allow businesses to run promotions directly on a Google+ page – the Google+ content policy doesn’t allow coupons, offers, contests or sweepstakes.  Facebook policy does allow promotions on the condition that they’re administered within the Facebook apps and that participants agree to release Facebook from any responsibility.

Create your Google+ Page

However, none of that should put you off creating a Google+ page for your business, and reaping the rewards of a powerful new way of building relationships with your customers as well as promoting your brand to the right people.  Google+ is one of the best places to start for advice on creating and using your Page effectively.  As well as sharing posts on Google+, you can use the Hangouts feature for video conversations with both customers and colleagues and the Circles feature means that you can target messages at different audiences – you will be able to use Circles to divide customers/clients into separate groups and ensure that your messages/posts are relevant to those who view them.

The Google+ page doesn’t create too much extra work as it can be used pretty much the same way as I use the Facebook Page (probably with some minor tweaks here and there) and it’s always quite easy to add one more thing to the list of social media tasks that I need to do.  It’s pretty much a case of “if you use one, you might as well use lots of them”.  The major task is always in building the page/profile to start with – once that’s done, adding this task to the social media to-do list doesn’t really add a great deal to the workload.

Make it Interesting!

When you create your +Page, it’s important to make it visually interesting – this will help you to stand out from the crowd.  One of the best ways of doing this is to use the space at the top of your page to display some interesting and original images.  The images that display here are the ones in your Scrapbook Album (Photos tab) – so make sure that you only add images there that you want to display at the top of the page.  This is how I’ve set mine up:

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<p>As with Facebook, there are some pretty creative ways of using this space across the top of the page.  To keep it interesting and keep people coming back to your page, you could change the images on a daily or weekly basis.  There’s an article <a rel=here on how individuals have done this on Facebook and another one on some of the profile hacks on Google+.  Most of these are quite witty and this is the sort of playful content that could attract regular followers.

Get Direct Connected

Another thing to consider when setting up your page is to link the page to your website.  Not only will this encourage visitors to the site, it makes you eligible for Google Direct Connect – a feature designed to make it easier for users to find and follow brands on Google+.

Make your About section on the Page interesting and relevant – you can add links here by clicking on “Edit Profile” then clicking on “Recommended Links”.  Don’t forget to use the option to say something about each link you add.

The next step is Circles – you can use the default Circles and add some more that will give you control of who sees what when you share posts.  As I said earlier, this means that you can divide your contacts into groups so that you can target them specifically with posts/messages.  A really useful option here is a Stored Stuff/Read Later Circle that you don’t actually add anybody to.  This is a great tool for when you come across useful posts on Google+ – whether it’s useful How To Guides, information that may be relevant to your business or ideas that you may want to use in the future.  Just share the post to this Circle and you will be the only person who sees the stream coming from it.  It’s like a private storage collection of content that you may want to access later on – it will all be there without you having to spend ages searching for it.

Building a Following

You can add other +Pages to your Circles, but if you want to add individuals, they need to have added your Page before you can do this.  This means that you need to share your Page with the relevant Circles when you use Google+ as an individual.  Flipping from using G+ as a Page back to using as a person is pretty easy – you just click on the Home button and then use the toggle next to the profile pick to change.

Get a Badge for your Website

To get the Google+ Badge for your website, click on Get Started (below the profile pic), and click “Get Badge”.  You can choose from five different styles – just choose which you prefer, then copy and paste the code into your website.  You can also choose to “customize” your badge here.

Now Say Something!

These are the very basics of creating your Google+ Page – no doubt there’ll be more advice to come as businesses get more and more creative with +Pages.  For now, you’ll be ready to go so get on your Page and start using it.  The more you use it, the more you say, the better the chances that you’ll gain plenty of followers.

Let me know if you have any creative ideas for using +Pages and if you need some help or advice – you  can contact me for a free consultation on 01133 20 21 21 or drop me an email.

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