Google+ for Business: A Beginner's Guide

Posted on September 17th 2013

Google+ for Business: A Beginner's Guide

Google Plus Business

To use or not to use Google+? That is the question.

Many people are still on the fence about whether or not to incorporate Google+ into their social media marketing strategy. Are you a little overwhelmed with where to start and how it works?

You’re not alone.

This is a very simple breakdown of how you can get your business up and running on Google+ and start raising brand awareness and generating leads. 

Why use Google+?

There are two main factors that make Google+ a worthwhile tool to use:

1. According to a Global Web Index study, Google+ has 359 million monthly active users.  That’s a market with huge potential to tap into! Furthermore, this makes the social network the second largest of all the social platforms.

2. Google+ activity directly affects SEO.  While the latest Google algorithm update did reference the importance of all social network activity as a factor in determining your Google search ranking, Google treats your Google+ content like another website page. Basically, when it comes to SEO and social media, Google+ content trumps content on any other social platform. 

Who is on Google+?

While these two factors may be reason enough to get on the social network, it is essential to have an objective for joining any social media platform i.e. getting your target market to visit your website and become leads.

Personally, here at the ad agency, where I manage our social media strategy, we’ve seen a significant increase in traffic to our website from Google+ since the platform received a major facelift back in May.

To offer some specific demographic statistics, Google+ users are:

  • Predominantly male (63%)
  • Primarily in the United States
  • A tech savvy audience 

If you’re a B2B company in the United States, the importance of the tech savvy audience becomes a key factor to consider.  Is your target market tech savvy? For many B2B companies, like our ad agency, the answer is yes.

How do you start?

Now that you’ve decided whether or not it would be worthwhile for your business to be on Google+ here are some starting guidelines:

1. Complete your profile.  All the way.  The more information you fill out in your profile the more transparent you become.  Make sure you correctly fill out all the contact information, hours, address, etc. of your business. Also, make good use of the description section.  Here is a good place to utilize some keywords, describe the prodcuts and/or services your business offers and highlight what makes your businesses unique. 

The photo space allowed on Google+ is also quite expansive compared to other platforms. Try to capitalize on that retail space.

2. Take a look around. When Google+ updated their platform they put user accessibility and content sharing at its core.  Find some similar industry experts to follow and add them to your circles.

Explore the different ways in which you can share and review content so you become familiar with the way the platform is mapped out. If you have something very unique and specific you are writing about, Google+ is the perfect place to share it as there are many ways for people looking for niche content to find it. 

3. Immediately start segmenting your circles.  Put those industry professionals you are following in one circle. Put individual influencers in another and put clients in yet another. However it makes the most sense for you to categorize your circles, do so. 

Think as specifically as possible to determine who you could share the same content with and who you need to have in a different group. You can send content to multiple circles at a time if the content is appealing to more than one circle.

4. Join some communities.  Along with the circles feature, there are groups dedicated to very niche topics on Google+.  Look for some.  Check them out.  Do they have a lot of followers?  Has content been posted in the community recently? Are there good levels of engagement on content that’s been shared? If the answer to all three of these is yes, then that’s generally a good community to join.

What do you share?

Once you are familiar with the ways in which Google+ operates, you are now ready to share content.  There are two ways in which you can do this: with your circles and the relevant communities you have joined.

Before sharing any piece of content, ask yourself will this add value, help or entertain the group I’m sharing it with? Whether they are in your circles or an industry community group, make sure the answer to that question is in someway, yes.

Posting Best Practices:

  • Remember to delete the link in the copy.
  • Add relevant hashtags. (Google+ will even remind you if you forget this step!)
  • Always post with a comment or question encouraging further engagement.
  • Respond! When people do further engage with your post make sure you engage back.
  • Avoid sharing the same piece of content with the same context in a community and with your circles.  What you post in communities will show up on your Google+ company profile page already.

These are the basic guidelines you need to understand to get your business up and running on Google+.

As mentioned earlier, make sure you have an objective for the platform in mind. What do you want to gain? Create a strategy and make sure you are measuring whether or not you are reaching it! The Google+ dashboard provides great analytics to assist in this effort.

Have you seen benefits for your business using Google+? How? What other ways do you find beneficial to use Google+ for your business?

Photo Credit: Google Plus/shutterstock

mleiter

Melissa Leiter

Melissa is an Inbound Marketing Consultant with a specialty focus in social media strategy. Her professional blog, which aims to help small businesses looking to ehancne their inbound marketing efforts, can be found on the Melissa Leiter Marketing website.  She is also the Inbound Marketing Consultant and Social Media Strategist for the Palmer Ad Agency in San Francisco, CA. 

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Comments

Why do I want to Rember to delete the link in the copy?  Just curious... 

Hi Tad- I like to delete the link in the copy after Google+ detects the article I'm sharing, because 1. it's unnecessary; Google+ will display the link and the link image (if applicable) below the post you are sharing anyway. And 2. Often links are long and contain a variety of characters.  By deleting the link you are cleaning up your post and making the message seemingly shorter and appearing cleaner. 

Hi Tad- I like to delete the link in the copy after Google+ detects the article I'm sharing, because 1. it's unnecessary; Google+ will display the link and the link image (if applicable) below the post you are sharing anyway. And 2. Often links are long and contain a variety of characters.  By deleting the link you are cleaning up your post and making the message seemingly shorter and appearing cleaner. 

 

thanks for sharing this info. Using a Google+ is very important your engaging to the people that can help you.

Great article thank you still trying to wrap my head around Google+. Just had a quick question will Google+ effect your SEO ranking just for your Google+ business page or will it help boost your main website's rank as well. Hopefully there are no silly questions for people new to this:) Thanks again for your post very informative...

Hi Jeff- From what I have read and understand to be true, Google+ activity will effect your main website's rank as well.  Check out this blog post I wrote recently about content creation: http://bit.ly/1dKZagy. It briefly touches ont hat and offers some link to other helpful sources. Hope that helps!

Thanks for the article, Melissa!

I continue to be amazed that more people don't utilize Google+ given its SEO benefits alone. Add in authorship and the fact that it's still under the radar enough to be slightly less spammy than the other social networks and I think Google+ is a slam dunk. 

I actually posted a similar piece to yours on my blog awhile back: http://www.catecosta.com/why-how-to-use-google-for-business/