Many business owners are curious if Google Plus is worth the time, “I’m already feeling maxed with Twitter and Facebook I don’t think I have time for another social network” they say. Can it really make a dent in the social media landscape for businesses? These questions from businesses of all shapes and sizes are fair especially given the failures Google has had in the past. With the recent launch of Google Plus business pages, businesses are asking these questions all over again.
What we know is that Google is one of the most powerful companies online. While Facebook is the behemoth of social marketing platforms, Google is mounting what some view as a formidable offering for small business. In this post, you’ll learn why Google Plus pages are important, as well as ideas of what you should be doing to build engagement once you have one.
Google Plus Pages – Why?
- Social is Key – Google is committed to being social. They know that traffic from social sites converts better. One of the many integration points you’ll begin seeing is on the search result pages. This type of social “loyalty building” for Google Plus users has the potential to gain traction as Google’s social initiative moves full steam ahead. Shown below is a Google search engine result page (SERP), which includes proof from thousands of other Google Plus users, endorsing a given piece of content.
- Traffic – There is substantial SEO value to Google Pages. I’m a fan of being found everywhere, especially by and with Google. Creating a Google+ profile means you have an inbound link to the website the page represents, from a Google property. It’s also a good idea to link your website to the Google Plus page.
- Easy – Creating pages is a simple process. While not required, it’s important to have a logo, image, or avatar that represents your brand when creating your page. Also, be sure to use “http://” when setting your URL. For more specific information see how to create Google Plus business page for online businesses here.
Google Plus Pages – What?
The question you may have is what can I do once I have a Google Plus page for my business?
- Build a loyal and engaged following – Share on your social media networks that you created a business page on Google Plus, and invite them to circle you to receive updates there. It would also be a good idea to send a friendly email to your customers encouraging them to ‘Circle’ you on Google Plus. Google Plus ‘Circles’ allow you to segment your followers any way you’d like.
- Engage with others – By using Google Plus Pages, you can send updates, links, photos, etc, but more than that you can engage with other people and pages on Google plus as your brand. People will have to circle your page back in order for you to comment on their stream updates, and other pages currently allow you to comment if they have comments enabled on stream updates. As you and your brand engage in meaningful ways, you will find others will add you to their circles and create more brand awareness.
- Host a Hangout (live video chat) – This is the feature that makes Google Plus stand out as a social network. Hosting a Hangout and inviting customers to join in is a great way to engage with your target market. The point isn’t to be heard, rather to listen, and provide meaningful feedback to those on the Hangout. Some ideas for Hangout topics, pick and choose as you see fit:
- Customer appreciation hangout
- News and happenings in the industry hangout
- New Customers this Month, Questions Answered hangout
- New Product Preview hangout
- Tools of the Trade hangout
In the end, while Google Plus business pages aren’t perfect, you can be sure they are here to stay and will likely improve. Google knows its social initiative must succeed to propel the company forward in the coming years, and small businesses are key to its success. The potential upside is worth the time invested creating a page.
Get started on your Google Plus business page here: http://www.google.com/+/business.
This is a guest post from Travis Campbell, who is an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant and operates MarketingProfessor.com. He’s an early adopter of Google Plus and has recently published a course designed to help marketers make the most of Google Plus with more traffic and sales — find out more at GPSecrets.com.
[Image credit: © Google; Chris Lang]