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At the end of last year, one more social media/networking group was introduced to the “digital gene pool”. The new kid on the block that you have undoubtedly heard about in at least a small way is Google+. Google+ combines the power of the “Google Empire” with the social media feel of Facebook. Currently, a little over 60% of the nation’s top brands are using Google+ brand pages. I’d say it would probably behoove you to get in there as well, don’t you? One of the best things about Google+ is if you have a Google Mail account you are almost there. In fact, you are so close you probably can smell it.
Are you possibly thinking that there are already more than an adequate amount of social media outlets? Enter Google+. Think of all available social media platforms like you do traditional clubs, associations, and service organizations. All of the outlets, social media and traditional, exist because we aren’t all the same. Not a surprise I know. We all differ from each other in a variety of ways.
These outlets provide an avenue to pursue places where we may congregate with people of the same mindset…not to mention all offer fantastic environments to promote one’s business. Granted, social media platforms like Google+ are not quite as personal and intimate as traditional groups, yet these platforms have proven to be just as, if not more effective in bringing large amounts of individuals together in a cohesive and collaborative environment with similar interests, objectives, goals, and strategies. This factor makes social media platforms a powerful promotional tool for businesses to utilize. You know your competition is using these tools…are you?
How To Start Using Google+
Come on, take a deep breath…we’re going in! Let’s assume for a moment that you are registered on Google Mail. If you are, this is all you have to do to take advantage of the world of Google+.
1. Log into your Google account – if you don’t have one, get one!
2. Click: http://plus.google.com/pages/create
3. Select which category under which your page should be associated – your choices are:
- Local Business or Place
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution or Organization
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports
4. Fill in the fields with pertinent information about your page on the following screen. The black bar that indicates you are able to surf Google+ as your branded page is similar to the feature found on Facebook’s branded pages.
5. Announce your newly-created page to your “circles” – “circles” are similar to groups on Facebook. Your “circle” includes your friends and business contacts.
Make sure when you’re surfing Google+ as your page, that you create “circles” of your friends and business contacts. Your “circles” from your Google+ profile do not automatically import over into your Google+ branded page profile…hey, baby steps I guess.
Conventional-wisdom claims your company needs to accomplish 4 tasks to successfully implement Google+.
- Encourage all of your employees to have active accounts, and syndicate a link to your business’s Google+ page.
- Ensure that the tone and language on your company’s Google+ brand page mirrors your website.
- Create a concise, creative and descriptive tagline that exemplifies your firm.
- Post videos and photos that reflect your firm’s core values and personality.
5 warnings regarding Google+ are:
- Pages need to be created from an individual’s account. Therefore, additional administrators cannot be added to the same account. This is why your employees have to create their own account connected to the company’s Google+ brand page.
- Facebook and Twitter are still the social media leaders. Unfortunately, most of your customers and/or potential customers engage regularly with Facebook and/or Twitter, and may not use Google at all.
- Many social media dashboards do not integrate Google+ into their products. So, many social media dashboards services do not enable users to post on Google+.
- Google has not been consistent with the introduction of products. Many users are not sure if Google+ will be around for the long-haul.
- Growth has been slow and sluggish.
Need more inducement…more incentive? Google+ also offers +Hangouts. What are these you ask? +Hangouts allow businesses the capacity to hold video conferences with customers, company staff members and/or potential customers. +Hangouts offer companies an alternative to connect in the marketplace. Most importantly, small businesses find using +Hangouts makes their smaller firm more competitive with the “big boys”…or at least, the slightly “bigger boys”.
Set aside some time and give Google+ branded pages a try. Determine for yourself if you think Google+ could play a viable role in marketing your business. The only proof you need is your own!
Ahmed, S. (2011), Quick Walkthrough of Google+ Pages for Small Business. [2 pages] Small Biz Technology.com. Available: http://smallbiztechnology.com/archive/2011/11/quick-walkthrough-of-google-pages-for-small-businesses.html/
Hennessey, J. (December 2011), What Google+ Can Do for Small Business. [2 pages] The Washington Post. Available: http://www.wallstreetjournal.com/
Swallow, Erica. (December 2011), The Pros & Cons of Google+ for Small Business. [15 pages] American Express OPEN Forum. Available: http://www.openforum.com/Tweet