In June 2011, Google+ was launched. Since then, this newcomer to the social media scene has gained a following of over 343 million users. You can use Google+ to join discussions, post images, share information with others in your Circles, and take part in Hangouts (video conference calls).
You are probably wondering how Google+ is any different from the other social media sites out there. After all, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have more active users. Well, there are a couple of compelling reasons to get involved with Google+. First, Google+ business pages offer good marketing opportunities through social networking. Second (and arguably most importantly), you can improve your search engine optimization by posting updates and content with valuable keywords. Why is the SEO potential so much better than Facebook and Twitter? Google indexes your Google+ posts, giving you a great opportunity to optimize your business page and updates to increase your rankings. While Facebook and Twitter are great marketing tools, they limit Google’s access to data. Good for privacy-bad for SEO.
Setting Up Your Google+ Business Page
The easiest way to set up your Google+ account is by using your Gmail account. Ideally, it would be helpful to use a Gmail account that can be accessed by multiple employees (ex. email@example.com) for more convenient access. If you don’t have a Google account, you will be prompted to set one up, which is a fast, simple process. If you already have a Gmail account and Google+ personal profile, skip to step three and click the link to set up your business page.
1. Sign in to your Google account. If you don’t have one, you will need to set one up.
2. Create your personal profile. This is required in order to set up your Google+ for business page. Fill out the information and click “next step.” You will be prompted to add a profile picture. (You can skip this step.)
3. Click “Continue to Google+” to get started on your Google+ business page. Already have a Google account and profile? Click here to get started on your business page.
4. Choose your business category from one of five options-
- Local business or place
- Product or brand
- Company, institution, or organization
- Arts, entertainment, or sports
5. Fill out the required information and follow the prompts until your Google+ page skeleton is complete and ready to go. Be sure to include a keyword-rich tagline that describes your business and add a logo as your profile photo.
6. Post a few updates before you begin promoting your Google+ Business page.
7. Don’t forget to have your “+1” icon added to your website, blog, and other marketing materials.
Use Google+ to Generate Leads
Now that you have your Google+ business page set up, how do you use it to generate leads? By creating valuable, interesting updates for your audience…preferably updates that include links back to your website. Here are some general suggestions to help you get started:
Distribute your awesome content-To accomplish this, be sure that the content you are creating, be it a webinar, article or blog post, infographic, video, or other piece of content that you put on your site, is something that will benefit your audience. In other words, how does your content help them solve a pressing problem or improve their quality of life in some way? If your content doesn’t matter to viewers, they will never bother to click-through to your website.
Space out your Google+ Business Page Posts-If you plan on posting more than once a day, be sure to space out your updates so they don’t all show up at the same time. Consider your audience. When do you get the best responses from social media posts? Hubspot, an industry-leading inbound marketing company, suggests that the best times to post on Google+ are between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Be consistent-Use a consistent, conversational voice for your social media posts (this applies to ALL social media). If Bob down the hall has a writing style that is as dry as week-old bread, consider a staff member with a more conversational tone to handle your updates. After all, part of social media is being able to interact with your followers in a professional and friendly manner.
Include mentions and hashtags-Hashtags and mentions are a great way to involve others, increase your reach, and personalize your updates. To mention specific people in your post, use the ‘+’ or ‘@’ symbols followed by the person’s name or email address (ex. + Bill Germino). Note: While you can only mention people who are on Google+, you can share with others by entering their email after the symbol. To create a hashtag, simply start the keyword phrase you are targeting with a “#” (ex. #openvine). Don’t use spaces with your hashtags.
Don’t be stingy with the links-Add links to your images, videos, and updates whenever possible to lead your audience to key areas of your website.
Check your Google+ Business page daily (if not more)-Be sure to check and post to your Google+ page frequently. Also, respond to any comments or questions provided by followers. This gives you the opportunity to form a relationship and build trust with potential customers.
Optimize your page and updates-Use your targeted keyword(s) for your business page tagline and updates when appropriate.
Now that you’ve got the Google+ basics, you can begin leveraging this powerful social media tool to increase your online reach and improve your search engine optimization.
Want a Google+ Business page but not the hassle? We can help with that. Our Boston marketing experts can help you set up, optimize, and update all of your social media sites to improve your inbound marketing capabilities and grow your business. Contact us to find out how we can increase your online presence.