Google+ is a new social network that started in June 2011 as a personal network and not one businesses could participate in. Within a few months, there were more than 40 million users. To put this in perspective, Linkedin, which was started in 2003 has about 135 million members. About a month or so, Google added business functionality with Google+ Pages. These pages are similar to Facebook Fanpages or Facebook Business Pages. The idea with Google+ is the same as with the other social networks, connection with your target audience.
Before we talk about how to set up your Google+ Page, let’s discuss why you would want to do this in the first place. Besides the rapid growth rate among users, here are four other insights into Google+ :
- Google+ allows businesses to create pages and develop relationships with clients and prospects on multiple levels. User can add a brand to a specific Google+ Circle, share a Google+ page with their network and interact with the content that is posted by the business. There is a feature called Hangouts were businesses can engage with fans, prospects and clients through video conferencing, much like Skype. Users can post photos and comments as well, similar to Facebook.
- There is also a feature called Ripples where you can measure your reach. It allows you to visualize how your posts are being shared as well being able to see who your biggest advocates are and what content is getting them to respond or engage with you.
- The Circles feature allows you to target specific markets. You can create different groups within Circles by the demographics you define. Then, you can send market specific messages just to these Circles. This is a very cool feature.
- The +1 button is a feature that allows users to recommend something to their friends. You have probably noticed these buttons already appearing in search (hint: you probably want to set up a Google+ Page!). Getting people to +1 your business page or your website gives your business more credibility and can attract new prospects to you.
Seven Easy Steps to Setting Up Your Google+ Page
- Create a New Gmail Account. from which to create your page. Suggestion for your account name might be firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Go to http://plus.google.com/pages/create
- Select the category that best describes your business. You will choose from Local Business or Place, Product or Brand, Company, Institution or Organization, etc.
- Customize your public profile. Keep this descriptive but concise. Upload your profile pic (could be your logo) and any other images.
- Start sharing a few updates and once you have something more than a blank page, let people know about it. Promote your page.
- Get the Google+ badge for your website (https://developers.google.com/+/plugins/badge/). This will link your visitors to your Google+ Page.
- Add the +1 button to your website to allow visitors to recommend your pages.