Following on from an article we wrote a few months back on Google+, a brief introductory guide, what was once not allowed, namely business pages, has now been given the official go-ahead.
Just last month, Google announced that businesses now have the freedom to create pages on the Google+ social network.
In this article, we will guide you through the process on how to set up your very own Google+ page and share some tips on how you can increase the exposure of your business page to fully maximise your social media marketing activity.
However, before you dive straight in you’ll need to create a personal Google+ profile for yourself, as you cannot setup a business page without one. When you have your personal Google+ profile, here’s how to create a page for your business.
To start, visit the Create a Page on Google+, and then follow our guide below to get started and unlock the potential that is Google+.
Pick a Suitable Category
When you get started creating your business page the first thing to do is to choose from the following five main categories:
- Local Business or Place
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution or Organisation
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports
When you have chosen your category you will then have to choose whether your page’s content is suitable for any Google+ user, users 18 or older, users 21 or older or specifically note that the content will be alcohol-related. Then you will have to accept Google+ terms and conditions to continue and make sure you read Google+ Additional Terms of Service to view their notes on Authority, Access, Content, Data, Contests and Suspension & Termination.
It is important to note that Google+ does not allow businesses to run contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or other such promotions directly on your Google+ Page.
Customise Your Page’s Public Profile
Now you have chosen your businesses category and accepted the terms and conditions, you can now start customising your page’s public profile by choosing a tag line, and adding your business logo. Then click the ‘Continue’ button to proceed with the page creation.
After continuing you will need to edit your page’s information.
To do this you will need to go to your page’s profile select the About tab and press Edit Profile. Here you will be able to click on everything from your page name to your links to enter relevant information about your business such as Introduction, Hours (for local businesses or places), Website and Contact Info (phone, email, Skype, etc.).
Also be sure to enter additional links to your page in the Introduction section using the Link button and under ‘Recommended Links’ to link to your other social profiles and blog.
After editing your page’s information you can now start thinking about what images to use in your page’s photo strip.
Here’s the Digital Visitor Google+ page to show you how a completed profile could look…(while you’re there, feel free to add us to your circles!).
Congratulations! Your company’s Google+ Page is ready
Now your profile is ready, you can start posting to your profile by adding status updates, links, photos and videos just like you do on your personal Google+ profile as many of the features of a page are the same as a normal Google + profile….but, as with all social channels, the challenge is how to increase your followers beyond your own staff?
Although you are able to separate your followers into different Circles ie customers, suppliers (good for B2B brands) and share content to these different Circles, you can’t add someone to your brand’s Circle unless they’ve added you first.
Some Tips on How to Grow your Community?
Here are a few tips to help get your Google + followers up;
- Although you’re not specifically allowed to run competitions on your page, you can get creative and offer a ’non-tangible’ prize. For example, Macy’s ran a competition using Video Hangouts offering the chance for 9 ‘trendsetters’ to chat to their Fashion Editor. So Hangouts is one of the features offering a whole range of new opportunities to engage with your customers. For example, Hangouts could enable any experts in your organisation to share knowledge with interested customers in a live Q&A style session. Hangouts could also be an excellent way for businesses to conduct technical support.
- We all know the frustration of having to phone a call centre to resolve any technical issues, so businesses could also use this feature to pull customers into a hangout to talk through any issues they are having, or even to demonstrate new features and share skills and best practice.
- Add a Google+ badge to your website to get more recommendations for your site in Google Search and grow your audience on Google+. Including a Google+ Badge on your site allows people to +1 and add you to their Circles directly from your website. It also consolidates +1’s from your site and your Page so you can keep track of all your fans and followers.
- It’s also possible to hashtag content, see #BurberryAcoustic, so use where possible to help people find your content.
- Try whenever possible to post publically, not just to one particular circle (unless of course the message is specifically for a particular group). This will make it easier for others to find, and posting to the public of Google Plus is one of the best ways to get that accomplished. Not to mention the perks of Google Search optimisation.
- Tag users in your update to help spread the word. When you tag someone in your update, they will see the article directly, and hopefully interact and share it with their communities. Every time your post is +1′d or commented on, it stays high up in the news stream. So the more people interact with it, the more new people will see it.
- Use multimedia as much as possible. Like Facebook, Google + rates pictures and video highly (read our recent post about Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm and how to maximise your exposure). So instead of just posting the link to your article and letting the predetermined post preview show up, be different. Upload a picture that is relevant to your post, and then explain its relation with a shortened link to your post. There is more likely to be curiosity in clicking the link this way.
- Ask questions to drive conversation around a post. When you pose a question about your post, lead them to want to read it first and then come back and join the conversation.
What’s your Google + profile? Do you have any other tips to share?