Google started Google+ in 2011 as an alternative to Facebook and other social media networks. In a very short time, Google+ has attracted upwards of 400 million people. This is nearly half the number of Facebook users and double the amount of people that use Twitter.
They have also integrated their search engine into this network, making Google+ a force to be reckoned with. As Google+ seems to be the new social media darling, how should your small business respond?
There are great benefits for your small business. Set-up is quite basic and by reading the steps below, you will be on your way.
Creating the Google+ Page
To begin, you will need a Google account, and a personal Google+ profile page. After these have been set-up, you (as the page owner) can create a business page. If you want to involve others in this site, you can add managers.
To create the page itself, log into your Google+ profile and find the ‘More’ on the menu on the left. Click Pages next and then Create a New Page, which is found on the top right.
Select a category that best fits your business.
- Choose ‘Local Business or Place’ if you have a brick-and-mortar business and provide local services.
- Choose ‘Product or Brand’ if you have an online store or businesses that doesn’t rely on a specific location.
- Choose ‘Company, Institution or Organization’ if you are making a page for a non-profit, organization, school, etc.
- Choose ‘Arts, Entertainment or Sports’ if you are promoting a book, brand, movie, show, team, league, etc.
- Choose ‘Other’ if your brand doesn’t fit into any other category.
You will be asked to create a tagline for your webpage. Taglines serve as your page’s meta description and will appear in Google organic search engine results. It is important to use your keywords while adhering to the 10-word limit.
Upload a profile photo. Company logos are the most common choice for business profile pages. The profile photo will have no impact on search results, but it gives your profile a certain recognition and personality.
Technically, at this point, you could be done. Google+ will give you the option to call it quits here or continue enhancing your page. You have only entered information in about a third of the fields, so we recommend you carry on.
Click on ‘Edit Profile,’ and then ‘About’. You’ll want to add information to four areas:
- Introduction: Use this space to share to share information about your small business. Don’t forget to incorporate keywords. Also, consider linking to keyword relevant, optimized pages in this section.
Contact Information: Add as much information as you can.
- Business Name: One of the ways Google evaluates the authority of your business is by noting other places online that it is listed. To avoid confusion, make sure you business name is listed the same every place it appears on the internet. For example, Google doesn’t know Joe’s Pizza and Tavern is the same as Joe’s Pizza or Joe’s Tavern.
- Address: You need to provide Google with the physical location of your business. Therefore, you’ll need to list your street address instead of the PO Box. Again, Google values continuity when it comes to contact information. If your website lists your address as 201 Boulevard A, don’t write 201 Blvd. A in your Google+ profile.
- Telephone number: You want to list a local phone number as it provides further evidence that you are actually doing business locally. If you want to include a toll-free number or other additional numbers, add them by clicking the “Add more phone numbers” link.
- Website: Share the URL of the website that best represents your business. Don’t send visitors to landing pages or a website other than one affiliated with your business.
- Links: This is where you should link to other company resources – your blog, social profiles, etc.
Before You Send Invite
Before sharing your new Google+ Business Page with outside users, you will want to add content to your stream. You wouldn’t invite guests to a dinner party and then fail to provide a meal. Why would you want visitors to come to your page if you have nothing to offer them?
Start with five to ten keyword-rich posts. Give your audience a taste of what you will be posting on Google+. Remember variety is good; post links to stellar blog posts, pose questions, and share videos.
Once you are up and running, promote your new Google+ Business Page by sharing it on your other social media networks or websites. Find creative ways to bring visitors to your sites by using email blasts or newsletters. Your company emails should also contain your Google+ Business Page as part of the email signatures.
Getting the word out about your small business just got a little easier thanks to Google+ Business Pages. Don’t forget to follow us on Google+. Stay tuned!
Guest post by Jessica Velasco who works for a local marketing firm. She recently helped Trim Nutrition, a small business selling weight loss injections, get started with Google+. While they don’t reference their weight loss products or their famed B12 injections from the social media network, just having a page on Google+ has had great ROI. Jessica realized other small businesses would benefit from a step-by-step guide too.
Top Image Credits: AshWorthCreative