Facebook may be the largest online social network in the world with well over a billion users but it is not the biggest website. Knocking Facebook into second place is of course, search engine giant, Google.
That alone should make Google+ (Google Plus) worth a look. It might not have the same impressive numbers as Facebook but its user base is still huge and because of Google’s dominance of search on the web it is incredibly useful for businesses to maintain a Google+ presence. In fact there is no easier way to increase visibility of your content on Google search than to encourage comments, shares and +1’s (the equivalent of Facebook ‘Likes’ on your Google+ account.
Google+ has some unique and handy features to help promote your business. Social media is all about building communities and Google+ has some innovative features to help you to do that. These features include things like video chat in its hangouts and the ability to segment your market and build several discrete communities of interest using Google circles.
What is Google+?
It was launched in 2011 and is building a loyal following. Think of Google+ as the glue that holds all Google products together. It is socialising the whole Google experience. As a business owner, that is the best way to view Google+. It is different to Facebook which is more of a single domination site.
Google+ can look a little confusing at first, but it works in a very similar way to other social networks such as Facebook. The main differences are the terminology. For example:
- Instead of following people, you add them to ‘Circles’.
- Posts are usually called
- Instead of ‘liking’ a story, you show your appreciation with a +1.
- Like Facebook, you can re-share a story.
Why Does Google+ Work so Well For Business?
Google dominates the Internet and it has a phenomenal amount of users. This fact alone makes Google+ an important place to be for your business.
Think about it for a moment. Everyone who has a Google account, for whichever Google product they use, now has a link at the top right of their Google page that notifies them of Google+ updates and allows them to access the profile of whoever they are communicating with.
In addition, many websites now use the ‘+1’ social media button to enable people to post content to their Google+ accounts. It is already embedded in the browsing experience of over half a billion people and you can reach them by having a presence on Google+.
There are some very useful ways that your business can engage with people on Google+, including business pages and topic based communities.
The main benefits for businesses using Google+ are is the way that it makes a huge impact on search results and drives traffic to your website. Let’s discuss these in more detail:
A main benefit of having a Google+ account (even if you never use it) is for the search engine benefit.
Because Google+ is owned by Google, which page is do you think is going to appear first if someone types your name or business name in the search engine? Yes, it will be YOUR business page on Google+.
Google+ works closely with Google to improve its search engine results pages through the information it is able to collect from your business social circle. Not only can Google see what your share with your friends and customers but it can also see how you interact with them. It can promote search results that people have +1’ed for example. So the more interaction you have the higher the rankings for you and your business website.
Google+ +1 buttons appear in Google’s search results and can also be embedded in websites. The +1 count that is displayed on each button refers to the number of people who have +1’ed that specific web page and it helps people to see how popular certain web pages are even without visiting them.
It shows how important it is for your business to use the +1 social bookmaking button because statistics prove that websites who use it get 3 and half times more traffic from Google+ than those that don’t use it.
Follow our Top Tips to Build, Brand, Improve Search Engine Rankings and Form Relationships using Google+
Get a Business Page Not a Profile Page
Just as you would with Facebook, make sure that you create a Google+ business page for your brand rather than a personal profile. Your business will then be assigned a page optimised for your needs.
Upload a Compelling Cover Image
Use your Google+ cover image to express your brand image, tell people where you are, showcase your new products, advertise upcoming events or for whatever else you want to tell your clients. See how your image looks on your computer and mobile devices to make sure that it looks good on whichever device your viewers are using.
Add a Snappy, Descriptive Tagline
In your ‘About’ section, Google+ allows your business to add a tagline to appear underneath your pages main company name. The tagline will appear as the description of what you and your business is all about when somebody shares your page and also as the first sentence when your Google+ page is found in Google search, so make it count. Try to keep it short and snappy as well as being descriptive and using the main key words and phrases that you would expect people to use if they were looking for your business. Or you could use it as a message to explain who you are and what you and your business is all about. For some tagline inspiration search some of the more well-known brands and see what taglines they use.
Make Every Word in Your About Section Count
This is prime real estate for your business so focus on using keywords that you want to rank highly in the search engines. Use words and phrases that people would use if they were trying to search for a business like yours. Use them often in your posts too. It will make you and your business more visible in both Google+ and Google’s main web search.
Google+ Profile Essentials
Ensure that you fill out your Google+ profile completely. Do not leave any field empty. Remember this may be the first port of call for a potential customer so you want them to be able to find out as much as they can about your business so that they will want to do business with you. Your profile photo should be 250 x 250 pixels minimum.
Use the ‘Recommended Links’ area of your profile to add links to your website, blog, social media profiles, local listings and any review sites you want to promote.
As Google+ is linked very closely to Google web search, take advantage of posting links to your business in your Introduction and Contact Info sections of your profile. Every single link that you can create back to your website helps.
Add a +1 Button to Your Blog Posts
If you have a blog on your website be sure to add a +1 button widget to all of your posts so that your readers can share your content on Google+ easily. Just search for “Google + button” and you will find the code.
Add a Google+ Badge to Your Website
The Google+ badge is the equivalent to the Facebook ‘Like’ box that lets readers follow you on Google+ without leaving your site. Again, this really helps with your search results. Because when you embed the Google+ badge on pages within your website, an active Follow widget will show up next to your websites listings in Google search results.
Be Active in Circles
As is the case for all social media networks you need to interact with your fans. The way you do this in Google+ is within Circles. The Circles feature lets Google+ users segment your followers and people that they follow.
What this means for your business is that you can send out specific status updates to specific people. For example, you could organise your Circles into current customers, prospective customers, new customers etc.
For laser targeted marketing to the right people concentrate on creating circles on a micro level. Work on a business-by-business basis, adding names to client businesses and brands, each of which has its own Circle. This will enable to you to send out exclusive content, interact directly and hangout with that specific circle at any one time.
It is imperative that you get people to circle you on Google+. You can’t jump into a person’s circle. They must circle you. To encourage them to circle you refer them to your business page once you have engaged in conversation with them.
Monitor Brand Activity and Get Involved
Search Google+ every day for any mention of your business. Save these searches for quick reference. Make sure that you respond to the mentions and re-share the posts. Interact by commenting on other peoples comments and try to carry on conversations with interested followers. Make you fans feel special by using the +1 tool and promote the friendly followers.
Encourage people to share their thoughts about your product and services and interact with them. All of these things will create brand loyalty and loyal customers.
Link your bricks and mortar business with Google+ Local
As a local business it is more than likely your business has a physical presence on the high street or a place where you want clients to visit you. If that is the case, use the Google+ Local tab on your profile so that users will know where they can find you and what your opening times are.
There are a lot of benefits of having a Google+ Local page. The main one is that Google+ Local pages are indexed in Google search results. Here they display reviews, additional details and photos of your business beside it.
As a result, if you have a well produced Local page that includes all of your most important business information it stands a much better chance of attracting more visitors and customers to your website. It is vital for your business to have a Google+ Local page and to have it set up properly. For expert advice on this please don’t hesitate to contact us as it is extremely important for your business.
Post throughout the Day
Like Twitter and Facebook you need to post regular updates on Google+. Choose times that your target audience is most likely to be online and signed in.
Show That You on an Expert in Your Field
All social media sites thrive on knowledge from industry experts and Google+ is no different. If you have been in your line of business for a number of years or you have a lot of experience and knowledge in your chosen field, share that information with interesting and helpful posts. It will do a lot for your credibility and brand recognition.
Google+ might seem a bit daunting at first but it is worth getting to grips with, simply because Google have invested a lot into it and reward businesses who use it with better search ranking making it much easier for potential customers to find you and your website.
The key to finding out how well it will work for your business is to dive in and experiment with different types of posts and hangouts. See which engages your followers the most.
Time to Take Action – Your Quick Action Plan Is To:
- Create your Google+ business page
- Add people to your circles and think you can segment your market so that you can do laser targeted marketing to the right people.
- Create a Google+ Local page
- Join Google+ communities = and even create your own.
If this all sounds too much for you or you simply don’t have the time to look after your social media campaigns, the good news is that help is at hand.
We are online marketing experts and can look after your social media marketing leaving you to do what you do best and run your business. Contact us today to see how we can help.