Google+ is a completely different experience. It’s a different way of relating to your business world as well as personal network. Speaking of personal, it is entirely possible that you looked into Google+ but weren’t impressed. You think it feels a bit like a ghost town but this is not true.
Google+ is not the answer if you want to spy on your ex boyfriend or dig up dirt on your old college mates. But if you want to discover new people based on your interests, passions and common interests, if you are looking for kindred spirits then this is the perfect platform for you. This allows for both personal as well as business growth.
Intrigued? Allow me to explain.
Set up your Google+ business page
Here’s what you need to do to leverage the power of Google+
#1 Claim a custom URL. Now you don’t have to have a long ugly URL, you can use a custom URL (plus.google.com/+username) so you can brand yourself and it is easy for people to find you on the web.
#2 Claim Authorship. Although there are some changes happening with the Google Authorship, it is still worth getting it done as it enhances your visibility in search results and gives you more authority. First you need to include a link to your Google+ profile in your author bio of the blog post (with a ?rel=author tag attached to the end of it). Then add a link to this blog to the contributor section in your Google+ profile.
#3 Invest in professional photos. With the bigger cover photo option, you can use this to your advantage. Get professional photos done or ask a graphic designer to create a cool banner for you. You can use anything from physical product images, customers and clients images, to any major upcoming event. The possibilities are endless.
#4 Optimize your profile for search A personal profile is different from a business page and you should optimize both. Complete your about page basics for both. Your tagline shows up in the search so pay attention to it. Make it clear, concise and add relevant keywords.
#5 Cross promote your profile and page. Use your business profile to share personal content and vice versa (when appropriate).
#6 Add a badge to your website. Link your Google+ profile to your website by adding a badge on the sidebar. When you do this, an active follow widget also shows up next to your listing in the search results thus making it even easier to follow you on Google+.
#7 Segment your audience. Unlike any other social media platform, you can segment your audience and place them in different circles.
#8 Curate your circles strategically. Circles are a great way to manage different interest groups. Create your own circles around themes and use keywords to identify new people to add to them. Circles are invaluable for maintaining current relationships but a great tool for discovering new ones. You can create new circles for people you would love to connect with so you can remain in the know about them without having to run searches every time.
#9 Interact with others as your business page. Just like you can act as your business page on Facebook, you can do the same on Google+. Interact with other pages as your page and use them to connect and +1. To switch to your business page, simply click the dropdown arrow next to your picture on the top right on your Google+ screen and you will see your page listed for selection.
#10 Be personable. Don’t become a robot or a faceless corporate identity. Show off your personality, act like a human and you will encourage more people to circle you.
Build awesome relationships with Google+
Looking to connect with more people on Google+? Here are some ways to get more followers for your Google+ business page.
#11 Share content with your personal Google+ profile. Share excellent content on your business page then switch to your personal profile and share your content again. Anything you choose to share or +1 can show up in your follower’s stream. This gives you a great opportunity to get in front of more people.
#12 Use hashtags. Hashtags (#business, for example) are a great way to tag and track conversations so add 2-3 hashtags to your posts and they will appear when people search for these specific hashtags. Most people overlook them on Google+ so do that and you will stand out but don’t go overboard. Anymore than 3, and you will end up looking like a spammer.
#13 Discover new engagers. Create new circles to keep track of people who clearly engage with your content such as leave a comment or +1. There are also other people who are sharing your content but not necessarily mentioning you. Use Google Ripples to find those interactions so you don’t miss the new connections.
#14 Be helpful. Make relationship marketing your number one goal on Google+. This means you should engage with other people and help them out. It is fine to promote yourself but if this is all you do, you will have trouble creating meaningful relationships. Shift your think from it’s all about me to it’s all about them.
#15 Participate in hangouts and communities. Join communities and hangouts on topics you are interested in and you are bound to find interesting, like minded people to connect with.
#16 Host hangouts. Hangouts on air are a great alternative to webinars as they are free. And if you are new to online broadcasting world, this is a great starter option. Using video you can present to 10 people at a time but you can stream this video using YouTube to an unlimited number of people. You can use hangouts to conduct interviews, present live webinars with screen sharing, do panel interviews, private talks and more.
#17 Create a community. If you can’t find a community on your topic, create it. When you start one, you will naturally attract some spam but don’t worry too much about it. Google+ has an excellent spam management system and will hold it for moderation before making it public. You can create a private community if you wish or you can make it public but approve any requests to join.
#18 Take the time to connect with a key influencer. Want to connect with the thought leaders and the influencers in your industry? Get in line. You are not alone. But don’t worry, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Add value to these people before you ever ask for anything. Comment on their updates, share them, mention them (+username) and generally be of service. Get yourself noticed and your relationship will become mutually beneficial and will go a long way. You can use a private message, a chat message or a private hangout to take your relationship to the next level.
#19 Reach out to one new person every day. Building your network on Google+ takes time but do it consistently and your efforts will pay off.
#20 Ask for follows. Don’t appear desperate but make a strong call to action.
Market your business
Google+ is invaluable when it comes to marketing your business and getting your products and services in front of new audiences. Here are some tips to supercharge your marketing efforts.
#21 Make your Google+ profile findable. You can easily do this by adding a badge for both your personal and business profile on your website. This allows for people to connect with you on Google+.
#22 Use +post ads from Google. Give yourself massive visibility with +post ads from Google. You can pay to promote your Google+ plus content and get them in front of third party websites in the form of advertisement. You can handle them through Google Adwords account. You can promote any form of content: blog posts, video, images, hangouts etc. People who are logged in to Google can interact with your ad. They can share it, +1 it or comment in it right in your ad. Combine +post ads with Facebook ads to get even better results.
#23 Optimize your content. You want to use great visuals and post high quality stuff especially if you want to promote it using ads. Format your posts using bullets, bold, italics and numbered lists. Use captivating headlines and strong calls to action. Use rich media within your content to maximize the reach and engagement of each piece. Integrate YouTube videos directly on Google+. Use animated GIFs and cinema-graphs (images that move). Use audio, video, infographics and Google+ stories.
#24 Use Google helpouts to generate leads. This is a service rolled by Google where people can seek assistance from others via video. You can set yourself as a true expert and build your credibility by helping people through helpouts. If you need to hire people, you can ask them to demonstrate their expertise on a helpout. For tutors and trainers, it is a great tool to add to their arsenal. You have complete control over how much you charge for your live video or if you want to teach for free. Get in the game early by delivering helpouts. You will start getting reviews and get rewarded for early participation by getting indexed for better placements.
#25 Integrate it with YouTube. If you have a YouTube channel, integrate it with Google+ and you will reach a wider audience. Any comments on your video being viewed on Google+ will show up as comments on YouTube.
#26 Use hangouts on air. Use this free broadcasting service for delivering webinars without having to use the clunky software that often comes with a high price tag.
#27 Embed posts on your blog. Increase the life of your content by embedding it on your blog. Not only will you get more out of it, when people who are logged into Google accounts comment or +1 it, it will count as if it was done on your Google+ rather than your website.
#28 Create video with pictures. Videos are usually more engaging than any other forms of media. Using Google+’s Awesome Auto feature you can convert your photos into video. You can download the Google+ app on your smart phone, take photos and upload to Googe+ and it will turn it into video for you.
#29 Use images without having to resize or crop them. Google+ won’t automatically do it for you or ask you to it. If your brand is highly visual or if you take pride in your professional, high quality images, you can flaunt them on Google+ with minimal modifications.
At the end of the day don’t forget to track your social media marketing efforts. There are a number of tools you can use to do this for example SumAll, CircleCount, or Steady Demand’s Brand Page Audit tool.
Final thoughts Google+ isn’t just a social network. It is part of Google and you should take advantage of this fact to reach even bigger audiences.
Do not try to replace your website with Google+ but use it as a complimentary platform to meet your business goals. Keep your website as the hub of all activity but invest time and effort sharing content on Google+. Not only are you building a strong social media presence, you can get better results on Google search when you use Google+ strategically.