There’s been a lot of discussion about Google+ lately, and for good reason.
Not only is Google+ another channel for you to reach out to current and potential customers, it’s a way for you to produce content that will get you and your business to rank higher in a Google search.
Think about it. When you do a search on Google, it’s going to scan its own resources first, right? So it makes sense to be active on Google+.
If you want your business to have a presence on Google+, there are 10 things you need to do to get started.
Note: If you’re brand new to Google+, or are unfamiliar with any Google+ terms, you may find our social media glossary helpful!
1. Choose the right type of Google+ account
As a business, you’ll want to create a business page — not a personal profile — by starting with the Google Business Pages website.
Select your type of business, and then fill out your address and contact information.
Tip: If you have a brick and mortar location that customers visit, like a restaurant, store, or office; you’ll want to choose Local Business or Place.
2. Create a Local Google+ Page
Local Google+ Pages make it easy for your customers to find information about your business’ physical location— they include your address, your contact information, and a map created by Google.
They also give you more visibility when people search for your business on Google. After you create your local page, connect it to your Google+ Business Page.
3. Fill out your About section
Google+ business pages have spaces for your story (a tagline and an introduction to your business), links to products, and links to other social profiles, your blog, and important pages on your website. This gives potential followers a complete look at who you are and what you do. Plus this information is all indexed by Google and adds to your ranking in a search.
4. Add a logo and cover photo
Just like other social networks, Google+ Pages have a logo and cover photo. Be consistent with your other networks and choose images that reflect your brand so that people will visually recognize you right away.
Tip: Google recommends that you use an image that is 270 X 270 pixels for your logo, and 2120 X 1192 pixels for your cover photo.
5. Connect to people and businesses
On Google+, when you follow others, you add them to what’s called a circle. The circles act like email lists, and allow you to organise and categorise the people you connect with. Google+ starts with categories like Friends, Family, and Following, but you can add more circles and name them whatever you like.
Keep in mind that when you add someone to a circle they will be notified.
6. Segment with circles
Once you’ve started building your Google+ circles, you will then have the ability to segment your content for particular groups. If you have a message that’s only relevant to a certain group, you can choose to post content to be seen by the circles you want. If you don’t narrow by circles, your post will show as Shared Publicly.
7. Start posting
To really make Google+ work for you, it’s important to post regularly. Share links to blog posts you’ve written, share information about your business (news or upcoming events), and curated content from other blogs or websites.
Don’t forget about multimedia — the Google+ news feed displays photos larger than you’ll find on Facebook.
Visual content is a great way for you to stand out on Google+.
8. Find the right keywords
No matter what you share, be sure to use keywords throughout – in the post, blog titles, photo names and descriptions, and any hashtags that help describe the post topics. These keywords are indexed by Google, and add to your ranking and credibility on those topics in a Google search.
9. Cover all your bases
Every time you add a social network to your marketing, don’t forget to tell your audiences about it on your existing communication channels. This will help grow your following. Post about it on Facebook, link to Google+ in your email newsleter, and add a Google+ logo to your webpage to drive people to your business page.
10. Join Google+ Communities
Google+ Communities are groups of people who are interested in the same topic. Join a community and show off your expertise by participating in discussions and sharing your knowledge.
Tip: Remember that your goal on Google+, and any other social network, is to provide value to your audience. When joining Google+ Communities, make sure to share content that’s helpful and relevant to the group. Don’t damage relationships by trying to just push your products or services.
Whether you’re looking to build a new marketing channel for your small business, or just want to take advantage of Google+’s potential for helping your business show up in search results — there are a lot of reasons to consider getting started on Google+.
Want more social media advice?
This month we are hosting an advanced social media webinar, From Just Using Social Media to Getting Real Results.
This special event will give you the chance to learn first-hand from a team that has built active audiences and engaged them across all of the top social networks. We will provide step-by-step training of the top five social networks — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.
The webinar is May 22, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Reserve your spot today.