By David Buxton
5 April 2013
We’ve provided some simple pointers to help you get your Google+ business page set up, along with a few tips for how to use Google+ to benefit your business.
Google+ is now the second largest social media platform after Facebook. That’s right, it beats Twitter for number of users. Even more importantly, rumours abound that Google is favouring those with a Google+ page in the search rankings. Even if these rumours prove unfounded, if somebody searches for your business on Google, a Google+ insert into search results is a massive bonus in itself.
Sufficiently convinced that a Google+ page could be good for business? Carry on reading to find out what to do next.
Set up your page
2. Once you’ve created your personal profile, click here to create a business page, following a few simple steps. Google will walk you through picking a category and then completing a few more details about your business.
Personalise your page and encourage engagement
3. Once your page is set up, it’s time to explore the ways that you can customise it. Recently, Google updated the platform to give businesses the opportunity to put large headers on business pages. This is a great chance to really use your Google+ page as a ‘shop window’ and to promote your brand. See how we’ve made the most of our super-sized header on the Simply Business Google+ page.
4. Once you’ve got your business page set up, it’s time to start the all-important and long-term process of gaining followers. It’s important to note that your business page can only follow other pages, not people. Once a business has added you to their circle, remember to add them back.
5. Like any kind of social media activity, patience is key. Don’t expect to gain new followers and customers overnight. Try to promote your page as much as you can: perhaps add discreet mentions or URLS to stationery and business cards, and use your existing social networks to encourage Google+ engagement.
6. Google+ is all about community. Pages that do well are pages that respond to shares, +1s and comments. It’s important that you don’t ignore reactions to your posts – if somebody likes your post and shares it, remember to thank them!
7. Photos, videos and articles go down well on Google+ so if you have a blog, make sure that you update it regularly, and use your social media platforms to promote it and to share interesting articles and content.
8. Consider starting a Google+ community page, especially if you’re a specialist in a particular subject, and are willing to answer questions on it or to discuss aspects of your specialism. We’ll cover communities in more detail in later posts.
9. It’s worth adding the +1 button to your website. You can also add the circles button on your website – this is particularly useful, as customers who want to follow you can also add you to their circle (see below).
Explore the features and tools available
10. Speaking of circling, it’s important to get your head around this concept when you begin using Google+. Circles are similar to the following function of Facebook or Twitter but it goes deeper than just following, as you can add people to different circles.
11. Adding pages and people to specific circles is great for your personal profile as you can “tune into” specific circles such as “friends”, “businesses I like” or “colleagues”. From a business point of view this is very useful as you can begin to compartmentalise different followers – for example, you could have an employee circle where you share relevant information with your staff, and a circle of other businesses, where you might share details of a business proposition (see below). We’ll go into more detail on Google+ circles soon, so stay tuned!
12. Another great tool that you can use in Google+ is the video chat feature Google Hangout. Hangouts are already being used by lots of businesses, both to video conference call and to generate great content. Check out our tips for running a Google Hangout. If you’re a specialist in your field, why not set up a Google Hangout on air and encourage your followers to watch? Try watching a few Hangouts first to get an idea of how they can be used.
Hopefully this is enough to get you up and running. We’ll be posting a video guide to Google+ shortly to guide you through these points in a more interactive way, and we also have lots going on over on our own Google+ page. See you there!