Google, the almighty of search-engines today, was kind enough to host a session on how to utilize Google Plus during Social Media Week in Chicago. Our host was Amy Ravit Korin, Google Local Regional Community Manager Lead for the Midwest United States. Korin plays a key role for the tech-giant. One of those roles is to promote Google on a local level, and Google Plus is the avenue to connect businesses and people on a local level. The amount of people on Google Plus (and other social media sites) is worth your attention, especially if you own a business.
There are250 million users of Google Plus, and rising. Most users are on Google Plus for an average of 12 minutes per day. These numbers rival other social networks, arguably due to the interactive features Google provides for businesses. One of these interactive features is ratings company, Zagat, which Google recently acquired. Zagat is a company that has been thriving as a public, local rating community. For instance, you want to find the best Mexican restaurant in a certain location – Zagat will have this information (generally in order by ratings of the business). So what does this have to do with Google Plus?
Above is a screen grab of Google Plus (in the local tab). This particular search showed up when I clicked on “local” on the side. As you can see lists of local restaurants are geo-targeted to my location (Google determined my location to be Milwaukee, WI). You can search by location, type of stores or food. This really opens up the door for local businesses to compete!
Make sure your page is listed, and with a completed listing – full descriptions, pictures, links, videos, contact info etc. You have the ability to create a page for your business to interact with your fans. Korin informed us that there are over one million brand pages on Google Plus. In order to stick out, take a hyper-local approach. Keyword your phrases for the location you are in. For instance, imagine that your business sell apples just outside the city of Milwaukee, WI. You would probably want to include city information in your business description – i.e. Apples Milwaukee, Caramel Apples, Caramel Apples Wisconsin etc.
Once your profile is updated and listed you are ready to go. This will only help to be found on Google searches more clearly. It will take some time to get to the top. Getting reviews is a great way to help your cause (Google really wants to beef up Zagat’s reach – the more reviews of your business the better). For utilizing Google Plus as a tool, search for “Public circles.” There are lots of circles that you can share and join upon approval from others (Circle owners need to add you to the circle). You may also create your own circles. Google Plus is more or less a web of connections, whereas Facebook is one-way (a friend), and Twitter is every which way (a whole pool of people).
The presentation for Social Media Week in Chicago was a crash-course on how to use Google Plus. Here are some main points to take away:
• There are people on Google Plus that you can reach.
o There are a lot of targeted people you can reach – not just sheer numbers, but there are ways to connect with a specific group (circle) of people.
• Make sure you claim your page on Google Places.
• Google is still in the process of refining Google Plus, so be a little patient. Their support is aware of flaws that the system currently has – or lack of fully desired functionality.
• Start being active on these sites. Social Media sites, especially Google Plus, might be able to help you to appear on Google searches more often (after all, they are all connected).
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Why are you on Google Plus? Inversely, why are you not utilizing Google Plus?