At the moment, Google+ is still a network populated by “individuals”. Google prohibits brand pages – and has already asked several news organizations to take down their pages. Still, there are some great ways to promote your business using Google+ and your individual profile page.
Make sure that you completely full out your profile. Keep adding customers and friends and interacting with your network. As you are sharing content and getting to know people, don’t be shy about talking about your business. Announce new services and ventures, share stories about how you go above and beyond, talk about your client successes. There is a lot of ground you can cover without being promotional. Also, make sure that your business is clearly highlighted on your profile – and your websites are listed in the sidebar. You can also put a widget in the sidebar of your website allowing people add you to their circles in Google +
Organize Your Contacts with Circles
Circles are the heart of the Google+ experience. They allow you to control over who sees your content. When you connect with someone on Google+, you add them to a circle such as customers, prospects, friends, family, or roller blading buddies. You can add people to as many circle as you like. Many people are finding that keeping the number of cicrles to a reasonable number helps to avoid overwhelm.
Circles are very useful when you are using your Google+ profile as both a personal and business content sharing platform – because you can easily determine who gets what message. I would recommend allowing some crossover between circles. People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. Divulging just a hint of personal information helps build trust and relationship with your customers. On the flip side, you never know who in your personal network might be interested in learning more about your business and how you can help them professionally.
One of the most exciting parts of the Google+ “suite” is google’s group video chat service – or hangouts. And, many businesses are already seeing the potential. For example, Dell has already announced that it is planning on offering customer service via Hangout.
One way to start to build a community with customers on Google+ is to host Hangouts on topics relevant to your business. For example, if you are a quilting store, you could hold a virtual quilting bee or if you are a dentist you could hold a virtual class on how to avoid a heart attack by taking better care of your teeth. As a social media manager, you could give your introductory class on why social media is important for business via Hangout.
Become A Thought Leader
In this age of information overwhelm, people have no trouble finding information on any given topic. The problem is that there is too much information to digest. One of the most valuable services you can give to your customers is to curate information. In other words, keep on the lookout for what is important, or time sensitive and share it with your audience.
Be careful to go beyond just posting the link and adding to the information overwhelm. Point out the information – and then explain why it is important to your customers and explain how they can apply the new information in their lives. For example, a personal trainer could post the results of the latest 20 year long weight loss study that recommends eating better rather than less on their site and then also post some recipes using healthy foods – or talk about how they’ve seen the study results to be true for their own client base.
What are Your Tips?
In a lot of ways, Google+ is in its infancy – it is changing daily as more users get accounts and start using the service. What are your best tips for using Google+ to promote your business.
Meredith Eisenberg is a GSMMA Founding Expert. You can learn more about her at MeredithEisenberg.com