The pluses (pun intended) and minuses of being on Google+ as a small business are still debated amongst social media industry leaders. Most say it’s not worth it, that Google+ is a ghost town, etc. The fact of the matter is, Google+ isn’t going anywhere. Google has been building and connecting a multitude of services for its users and making it easier for users to be apart of the big picture: Google’s seamless experience. Google is the world’s most used search engine couple that with Google’s other amazing products like Gmail, Google Drive and YouTube and you’ve got a wheelhouse of incredibly powerful tools…. that are all connected. In fact, if you’ve claimed and set-up your Google Places profile as a brick and mortor business (you know, so more people can find you) than you will eventually get a Google+ page by default.
The fact of the matter is that Google is slowly pervading your online experience and people who join and are active on Google+ will only be rewarded. What you do while you’re logged into Google is connected via Google+ so if you’ve got a presence and a potential client or searcher is connected to you – or is also logged into Google+ then they are going to find you over a competitor that is not.
Here are the basics – the best practices of managing a Google+ account.
The first thing you want to do is create a personal Google+ profile. Make sure you add both a profile picture and cover photo and fill out your profile 100%. You should also make sure that you set-up your Google Authorship. To do this, go to plus.google.com/authorship and follow the instructions.
Setting up your Google Authorship is important because it links your Google+ profile and shows your picture in anything you author across the web. The more people who see your picture next to the content they find, the more you establish yourself as an industry expert. In the future, Google may begin using authorship as a factor in their search algorithm.
Once your profile is set-up, go to your home screen, click the home button and select pages from the drop down menu. From there you can create a page. Now here’s the important part, if you’ve already claimed the business and set-up a places page, you should go to Google.com/places, log-in and set-up your page from there. If you haven’t claimed your places page and you are a local business, then make sure you select “local business”.
Fill out your profile completely and then start adding people and businesses to your circles. This isn’t like Twitter – you don’t have to circle people who circle you, and it’s not as private/personal as Facebook so you can follow people you don’t know. Also, as a business, you can follow people OR businesses.
Verify your business
Once you have enough followers, you can verify your business. You will get a verified checkmark on your page to certify that you are the official Google+ page of that business.
Get a badge
You can add some code to your website to show your “Google+ badge”. This will definitely score you more points with Google, but will also allow people to +1 or follow your page from your website.
Hangouts and Hangouts on Air
This is one feature that sets Google+ apart from the other social networks. Hangouts are live chats you can have with up to 10 people. You can share screens or live stream all 10 attendees. Lots of businesses do hangouts with celebrities, or to demo a new product. People have even done cooking shows!
Another option is to do a Hangout on air. This is a live-streamed hangout that broadcasts on your YouTube channel and on your Google+ page. People can log-on and watch the hangout happening without being in the hangout. Once the hangout is completed, a video of it will appear on your YouTube channel and on your Page.
Now that you know the basics, I’m sure you’re wondering what to post. Google+ users tend to share longer status updates rather than short updates with links. They also look for content that is more original. Blog posts are a must, photo albums are great and GIFs are popular as well (you can’t upload GIFs to Facebook).
Keyword rich photo albums
Make sure when you upload photos that they are named properly (think keywords). You should also put a business URL on the bottom of your photos so people can find their way back to you.
Use hashtags so more people interested in your industry can find you. The great thing about Google+ is that it will suggest a hashtag to use when you are composing posts. Take the hint and use the hashtag. You should also use industry and location hashtags.
Google offers is in its early stages, but if you are a business that does offers, it’s definitely something to check out.
Google+ is a very robust social media platform that is going be harder and harder to avoid as Google continues to build and connect its services. Need help setting and/or managing your Google+ account? Give me a call or send me an email!