Google Plus is growing rapidly and second only to Facebook in usage. This past year alone, Google Plus has grown 33%. That number translates into 343 million people are plus 1-ing, sharing, and recommending on this platform across the globe. Signing into Google + links all Google products, making your experience connected and in turn connecting your followers to others.
Why Use Google Plus for Your Brand
Google Plus provides brand visibility. Searchers interested in your services interact with your brand directly from the search engine results pages. They can plus 1 your pages, maps, blog posts, and any other content that shows up there. Once they push that plus one button, your brand is opened up to that person and all of his followers, widening your audience beyond your current followers.
Google Plus also provides brand engagement. Unlike Facebook, there are no character limits, so your blog can live on Google Plus. Adding engaging content will increase your following and encourage others to share your brand’s message. Communities, groups of like-minded followers, are a great way for your brand to be found, as well. Hanging out in a local community sympathetic to your message is a subtle way to share your brand, increase your engagement, and to show off your skills and expertise in that area. And, if you’re having a special event, adding it to your Google Plus page will share it with Google’s event calendar, spreading the word even farther than traditional means.
How to use Google Plus as a Service Area Business
Google Plus will help grow your service area business with these strategies.
- Urge employees to create a Google Plus profile to add images to the business page when they are out in the field. Encourage your staff to +1 your content.
- When owner and/or staff find industry-related information, sharing it with the page is important to show industry knowledge.
- When linking a relevant blog, article, etc., ask a question to increase the likelihood that someone will respond.
- Post timely, fresh and engaging content at regular intervals to increase brand interaction.
- Respond to posts to keep the conversation going and your followers engaged.
- Poll your audience about industry-related issues and concerns and have them plus 1 if they agree.
- Promote others industry leaders you follow, share and +1 their content.
- Comment regularly on posts to increase your interaction. Encourage your staff to comment as well.
- Hold a customer service hangout session to share industry information at a specific time each week. Customers can ask questions, share concerns, and find out useful information.
- Find Google communities that suit your business niche and join them. Respond to them as your business. Encourage those in your organization to join these communities too.
- Join local communities, such as: local events, government-related communities, education-related communities (colleges), niche-specific communities (security and safety organizations).
- Use Events to your advantage. If you are going to be in the community, share this information on the Events tab. Take pictures of the event and add it to your business page.
- Run exclusive promotions or share exclusive content on Google Plus.
- Cross promote your Google Plus page on other social media platforms.
- Using keywords in your About section, helps with search rankings.
Knowing the Google Plus Lingo
Knowing the Google Plus terms will help you to develop your strategy to use this platform. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, Google Plus has it’s own lingo.
- +1 Button – similar to a like button, click on this button to show that you like the content, link, video, etc. You can +1 a shared item or a search engine result on Google search results.
- Chat – a user sends a short message to other Google + members.
- Circle – organizational structure of connections on Google +.
- Comment – responses to something a user has posted on Google +.
- Communities – a place for Google + users with common interests can gather to share.
- Events – A customizable page where users can invite others to participate. Google + will add these events to the calendar of the user who has committed to going to the event.
- Google + Page – A page where a business or organization can share content about its brand.
- Google Profile – a personal page for a Google + user that allows you to share your personal information with other users.
- Hangout – video chatting and collaboration platform with a maximum participation of 10 users. Hangouts are automatically recorded to YouTube.
- Share — allows someone to share a message from another user, similar to a retweet on Twitter or share on Facebook.
- Stream — Messages in real-time displayed on a users home screen.
Next Steps to Setting Up a Google Plus page for My Service Area Business
Now that you know why to use Google Plus and how to use Google Plus, it’s time to get started. Create a business page for your brand that is attached to your Places for Business page (formerly known as Maps). Doing so will add all of your reviews and content to that page and increase the likelihood that you’ll be found online on Google Maps and the search engine result pages. Once this page is 100% optimized, you’ll be able to invite people into your circles. Now’s the time to pull out that customer email list you’ve been compiling and share your new page. You’ll also want to follow leaders in your industry to be able to share and interact with them. Joining communities in your area will increase your ability to interact with everyone.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post, your successes and challenges with using Google Plus. Good luck and here’s to a successful Google Plus Page for Business.