It’s no secret that Google wants everybody using Google Plus. At every turn, Google is urging you to get onto the network. You might not know much about the social networking service quite yet, but if you want to stay competitive online, you need to be using Google Plus as part of your overall search engine marketing strategy.
First, and most importantly, posts made to Google Plus feed directly into Google’s search engine results. Secondly, your activity on Google Plus can reach new audiences that are usually difficult to engage via social networks. Finally, your competition is already using Google Plus, and you’re missing out on the branding opportunities they currently enjoy.
We’ve compiled four easy steps to get your business on Google Plus. While there is a lot more to the service than the four steps below, these tips should help you to start engaging with new audiences and to increase your overall presence on Google.
1. Learn the Basics of Google Plus
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many businesses jump into social networks without properly understanding them, and Google Plus has a lot of functionality that can be easy to overlook. Spend some time browsing through the different types of pages on Google Plus. Sign up with a personal account of your own and start learning the differences between Profiles, Pages and Communities. Observe how conversations play out and what types of content and comments attract positive reactions, such as +1s or re-shares.
The better you can familiarize yourself with the way Google Plus works, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to create and share your own content.
2. Setting up the Google Plus Page
In order to set up a page for your business, you’ll first need to create a personal profile to manage the page. Think of this as the owner of the page, similar to how pages need an administrator on Facebook. You might want to create a new Google account to manage the page if you don’t want your personal profile tied to the business page. Many companies will set up a new Google account that can be shared by key members of the marketing and management teams. Once your Google account and Google Plus profile for that account have been created, you can move on to create your page.
Upon creating the page, you’ll need to define the correct page type for your business or organization. Most businesses will click on the Company, Institution or Organization option. Additional pages can be created later for individual brands or products.
When choosing a name for your page, it’s ideal to use the name by which the general public best knows your business. For example, if your business name is “Cool Things and Ideas, Inc.” but everybody in the public and your industry simply knows you as “Cool Things,” go with the latter for your page name. This is how most people will be searching for you, so make it easy on them.
When linking to your site in your page info, make sure to link to the root domain, not to an individual webpage. This is important for both usability and SEO purposes.
Once your page is set up, make sure to choose attractive and brand-relevant images for your header and profile photos. The profile and header images are the first thing that a visitor to your page will see—so make them count.
Now that your page is live, assign managers to the page and get them up to speed on how to create content and share on the network. Having multiple managers for a page is a good way to collaborate and consolidate ideas to ensure a good flow of shared content. Keep in mind that any manager of the page will also need to have a Google account (a Gmail address works just fine).
3. Optimize Your Google Plus Page
Getting the page live is only half of the initial workload. Your page needs to be found, and proper optimization is vital. Start off by verifying your website and contact email address. Verifying your website will require access to the site’s Webmaster Tools or the ability to add some code to the site. You can also verify the site by making a special type of post on the site, but the first two options are preferable.
To verify your email address, you’ll simply need to send a verification link to the email address and click on that link from the inbox. Verifying your website and your email address through your page is important, as it increases your chances of Google putting links to your page and site into the search results on Google.
If you are running PPC campaigns in Google AdWords, you’ll want to enable Social Extensions. This will give your ads more real estate in the search engine results pages, as extra data is included about your Google Plus page within your ads. You can also pick up more page followers through your ads without any extra cost.
The next step is to claim your vanity URL on Google Plus. This will replace the long string of numbers and letters with an easy-to-use URL that you can choose for yourself.
You will also need to fully complete your page’s information and link sections. Make sure to treat these fields as opportunities to tie your brand to keywords and phrases that are important for your marketing strategies. Don’t keyword-stuff these fields, but a sensible use of keywords has proven to help pages rank better in search.
4. Engage Your Target Audience
By now your page will be ready for sharing content. If you use a platform like HootSuite, you can have it auto-publish RSS feeds, such as your blog or a news feed, to your Google Plus page. This will help you put some content onto your page, but you should look to share unique content as well to give your visitors a reason to visit your page regularly.
The content you share should be more than just links to your website’s individual pages. You should create content specifically for Google Plus, and it should encourage feedback, opinions and conversation. Instead of posting a picture of a new product and announcing simply that “it’s here!” you will get more traction posting the same picture and asking for opinions on its design or function. Use Google Plus as a communication channel with your customers and fans.
Building content that elicits responses will help you capture more traffic for your Google Plus page and raise your brand’s influence in your industry. The most successful pages on Google Plus have active conversations taking place and display content that is re-shared often.
To increase your page’s visibility on Google Plus, make sure to add influential people from your industry to your circles and engage them in conversation. Be responsive in discussions and be active in answering and asking questions. Thank people for their time and feedback.
Your Business On Google+
At every turn, Google is urging you to get your business onto the Google+ social network, and with these four simple steps you can. Discover how to further utilize and integrate Google+ into your social media marketing strategies by reaching out to our socials media marketing experts today. To learn more about Google+ for business, visit our other blog posts including, “Eight Reasons to Add Google Plus to Your Business’ Social Strategy.”