Google+ is run by Google, the best search engine, and the key to success for your business. Isn't that reason enough to use it? Google are really committing themselves to this platform so it can be a meeting point for all of the services it has to offer - this will help your business grow, if it is used correctly. When to start? Now. How to do it? Here are a few tips.
1. Connection with your fans
Have a Google+ Hangout once a week with a fan - some sort of interview or a conversation for 10 to 30 minutes. Robbie Williams and Rafa Nadal do it, and the other day, Josef Ajram had a Tweetcam with a very well-known newspaper via his Google+ profile.
If you're going to organize events, search for the people who are interested in your brand and organize it by location or by industries and areas of interest, and always with discipline, having in mind the different types of people that could attend. You could then distribute the information, details, offers, promotions, material and accreditations to the right people.
Tell your story. Use Google+ to talk about what happens in your business, agency or brand, and even tell some life stories of those who work there. What happens on a daily basis - anecdotes, new projects, visits to and from clients, development of projects, learning curves, what happens on the way to a conference, the way that each integral part of your team sees life and how to affront each project. The Google+ design is ideal for these type of things.
Everybody can take part on the same Google+ page, as there can be more than one administrator. You can use the posts, links, galleries of photos and of videos, as well as starting Hangouts and receiving compliments depending on what you're doing. You can also create a community to unite yourself with your audience.
4. Bringing value
You're most likely to receive e-mails from your community asking for help, knowledge or experience. It would be a great idea to do a public Hangout once a week, or every two weeks, or even every month to give an answer to all of those doubts, explanations and to all of those questions that you thought were the most interesting after receiving them over a period of time. You could make public the questions that you're going to answer one or two days before, as well as the name of those who asked the questions, so that those who asked the questions can be made relevant.
Hangouts allows you to have multiple conversations with four to nine people at the same time; this is a big help when it comes to organizing your projects. You can also record that conversation and import it to YouTube so you can save it privately and go over it whenever you want, as well as sharing it with other members of your team through a personal link. Also, you can import to GoogleDocs all of the documents and conversations from that chat.
6. Personal branding
A lot of people don't like the idea of having a website "about me" online that you can find on any social network. Most of them just don't put in the time to do it.
Create a simple presentation about what you do. After that, in the introduction, expand a bit more what you do and who you are, in a way that those who read it have a reason why they should get in touch with you. Make it even easier for them; create a link for your own personal contact page (so that they don't have to look too much for it). Write a list of what you do for people - your work - and how you help them, this way every time that somebody goes onto your profile only the most important things are shown after you have commented, participated or published something.
As well as completing your profile with key words, I would recommend you to explain the way you use Google+; this way you can clarify your objectives, which shouldn't be the same as your Facebook or Twitter objectives. Otherwise, why should they get in touch with you here?
All of this doesn't just help your personal brand, it also makes it easier to be found and it improves the SEO of your brand.
7. Content curation
If you're a magazine, blogger or content curator - and the audience are interested in your content - you will know that your they have different interests. You could use different topics designed to attend to different sections or areas like culture, sports, breaking news, international, etc. For example, if you have a section called technology, you want the circle of techy followers to be able to identify the stories that are going to interest them, instead of boring them with content that might not interest as much.
8. Work opportunities
You can create circles where you can gather people who are looking for job opportunities and share with this "target" exclusively the type of news, resources or offers that could interest them. You could also create another kind of circles, but with suppliers, collaborators, clients and people who you trust, so it will help you to create a private network.
Through Google+ communities you can create a crowdsourcing community with your team to develop projects, sharing information or resources and putting on the table the different ideas that you have in common. Or even for recruiting talents.
10. Conferences and webinars
You can set up your own conference or course through Google+, invite the users you want through circles of interest and even make it public at the same time on YouTube. You have your way of publicizing, marketing, promoting, distributing and even reviewing stats. Now you need an interesting idea - or course or speech - a group of engaged people, value to offer, and launching that conference or webinar. Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki do it really well.
These are just a few ideas that I have used for my business, personal projects and brands, and a few for myself as a brand. The door isn't shut, but wide open for anybody, the key relies on trying new things out. Here's a great book by Chris Brogan about Google+ for your business, very recommendable.
How do you use Google+? What other ideas would you share here?
Photo credit: cvrcak1.