12 Google+ Marketing Tips From the Pros

social media toolsAre you struggling to figure out how to market your business with Google+? Looking for some tips and ideas? You’ve come to the right place.

We asked 12 experienced social media professionals to share their best tips on Google+ for business with you.

Here are 12 ways you can use Google+ to promote and market your business.

#1: Personalize your page URL

Ben Pickering

Ben Pickering @bpicks

Carly Simon’s 70′s hit “You’re So Vain” gave vanity a bad name. But using a so-called “vanity URL” can be a smart move when it comes to your online presence.

While Facebook allows page owners to create vanity URLs of the structure facebook.com/YourName, Google does not currently do the same.

By default, Google+ page URLs look like this: https://plus.google.com/103145815507039304597/posts. It seems likely that at some point Google will allow for personalized page URLs, but until they do, there is a service that can help.

At http://www.gplus.to/, you can create a custom URL like http://www.gplus.to/strutta, which will redirect a user to your page. This link is more user-friendly and branded for your business or organization. When it comes to branding yourself on social channels, a little vanity is OK!

gplus

Create your vanity URL for your Google+ page.

Ben Pickering, CEO of Strutta.

#2: Craft an eye-catching mini-bio for your hovercard

Mari Smith

Mari Smith @marismith

Get creative with your “Employer” field and use that to craft an eye-catching “mini-bio.” This then shows in your hovercard, which is often the only information someone on Google+ has in front of them to decide whether to circle (follow) you or not.

Make it really easy for more people to circle you by having a bio somewhat similar to what you may have on Twitter.

The field is not obvious at first, but it’s under the “Employment” section and has to be your current employer. You have plenty of characters to write what you wish there. I would caution against writing something like “self-employed,” as shown in the screenshot below—that doesn’t really tell anyone anything about you.

I’ve written a bio similar to the one I have on Twitter and included a link—though it’s not clickable.

what not to do

Don't do this.

hovercard

Do provide an interesting mini-bio to appear on your hovercard.

Mari Smith, a widely-recognized social media speaker and trainer, author of The New Relationship Marketing, and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.

#3: Create a great first impression

kristi hines

Kristi Hines @kikolani

I think one of the most important things that businesses need to do with both their personal profiles and Google+ pages is fill out all of the details. Don’t think of Google+ as just another social profile. Think about it as your first contact point with a new client.

With that in mind, make sure you have a great description in your introduction, all of your contact details, and links to your most important online properties including your website, top pages on your website (products or services), blog and main social profiles (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn). Also be sure to use the photostrip underneath your headline to display the photos that best represent you and your brand.

G+ description

Add a compelling description and all useful contact information.

Kristi Hines, author of the popular blog, Kikolani.

#4: Promote your Google+ page

Debbie Hemley

Debbie Hemley @dhemley

It’s important to remember to promote your Google+ page from your website and other online presences. A recent BrightEdge study  found that of the world’s top 100 brands that had scurried to create a Google+ business page, 61 of them had not displayed a link from their website to their new Google+ page.

Businesses should tap into features such as Google Badges. To do this, you need to sign up at the Google+ Platform Preview and then create and customize your badge at the Google+ configuration tool page. The page will generate a script that you’ll code into your website to enable and display the badge.

SME badge

Check out Social Media Examiner's Google+ badge in the sidebar to the right.

I’d also suggest adding the +1 button to your company’s website or blog, which allows visitors to recommend it with a single click. HubSpot reported that websites that use Google’s +1 button generated 3.5 times more traffic from Google+ than websites that don’t have the button installed.

You can read more about my tips in my post, “The Marketer’s Field Guide to Google Plus Business Pages.”

Debbie Hemley, social media consultant and blogger.

#5: Create a suggested circles list

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan @jeffkorhan

My favorite Google+ marketing tip is to create a prioritized list of suggested circles you should be placed in at the top of the About tab of your profile page, both for your business and personal profiles.

Visitors can then quickly and easily determine your business focus, which will encourage further exploration of your descriptive bio or company introduction, and lead to more connections.

circle

Jeff gives his audience suggestions on where to place him.

Jeff Korhan, professional speaker, consultant and columnist on new media and small business marketing.

#6: Leverage photos to connect with your audience

Jamie Turner

Jamie Turner @AskJamieTurner

If you’re like a lot of people, you’re using Google+ as a tool to build awareness for you or your business. If that’s the case, you may want to update your Google+ profile to include photos that provide helpful facts and figures about your industry.

In my case, I wanted to provide my Google+ followers information about social, mobile and digital media. I did this by creating graphics that were 720 x 720 pixels and uploading them to a scrapbook on my Google+ profile.

google+ photos

Check out how Jamie used the Google+ photo feature.

The result is that visitors to my profile are greeted by 5 short factoids about marketing. This is helpful to my followers and also positions me as a thought leader in the industry.

Jamie Turner, co-author of How to Make Money with Social Media and Founder of the 60 Second Marketer.

#7: Establish your presence and wait for your audience

nichole kelly

Nichole Kelly @Nichole_Kelly

Depending on what business you’re in, it’s quite possible that your audience isn’t actively using Google+ yet. This represents both a challenge and an opportunity.

The challenge is to find time to be engaging and relevant on yet another social network. The opportunity is for you to establish yourself as a thought leader in a space where your competition may not be actively participating.

To balance resource constraints with opportunity, I recommend that businesses establish their presence and listen for openings to engage. When you start seeing your audience adopting Google+, take the time to recognize what they like about the platform that they aren’t getting on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Rather than trying to figure out how to do everything on Google+ that you’re doing on other social networks, look for how Google+ can help your business fill a unique need for your audience and build a strategy around that.

Nichole Kelly, publisher of FullFrontalROI.com.

#8: Get to know your audience on Google+

Stephanie Gehman

Stephanie Gehman @airport_girl

When considering your content for the Google+ platform, remember that although there may be some overlap with other social media, this is a new and different platform and potentially an entirely new and different audience.

Get to know them by asking questions, polling, sharing content and interacting. Do not presume that what works for your business on more established social channels such as Twitter and Facebook will have a cookie-cutter fit with your Google+ audience. Tailor your message and content to their needs.

Stephanie Gehman, marketing manager for Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania.

#9: Use brand micro-circles for repeat business

Carla Dewing

Carla Dewing @CarlaDewing

To get the most out of Google+, concentrate on creating circles on a micro level. Work on a business-by-business basis, adding names to client businesses and brands, each of which has their own circle. You can also add names to “influencer” circles, which will help you connect with people in your field whom you want to meet online.

Using Google+ as a business knowledge base improves communication with your clients and your project management ability as you chat, video-conference and connect with new people through these micro circles.

Segmentation and attention are often vital when you’re shooting for repeat business. Google+ has handed you a way to do this neatly and efficiently, without having to use multiple platforms or media!

Carla Dewing, content marketing expert and part-owner of Contrast Media.

#10: Capitalize on Google+ search to show you’re there

Jason Miller

Jason Miller @JasonMillerCA

Search Google+ for mentions of your brand and industry-related keywords. Save your searches and they will appear on your left sidebar for quick reference. Monitor your saved searches daily and respond to mentions, comment on threads and reshare people’s posts.

search

Use the Google+ search feature and save your searches.

Even if you have nothing to say, a +1 lets them know that you’re paying attention, as a great social brand should be.

Jason Miller, Programs Manager, Social Media & Content at Marketo.

#11: Use Google+ hangouts to communicate with customers

Tom Martin

Tom Martin @TomMartin

Brands should be looking forward to hanging out on Google+.That’s right. No key benefit required, just communication. The power of the hangout is truly (for me at least) THE big differentiator of Google+ over other social platforms.

Need some insight into how consumers are thinking? Ship a bunch of them a bag of M&M’s and a calendar appointment for your next focus group.

Want to make your consumers feel special? Call them with an invitation to hang out with someone interesting: your CEO, a famous spokesperson or maybe the head of product development. No script, no questions. Just a chance to talk with someone they’d really like to meet.

hangout

Invite your customers to hang out with you and make it interesting.

Or best of all, be the campfire that your customers want to visit and teach your customer (who probably doesn’t have a clue about Google+, much less a hangout) how they can get on Google+ and join a hangout to meet with other like-minded folks and make new friends who share a common interest. The list can go on and on, but suffice it to say, the ability to create real-time, multi-user video chats is ripe for innovative marketing.

Tom Martin, founder of Converse Digital.

#12: Join others’ hangouts

 Marc Pitman

Marc Pitman @marcapitman

If you’re really going to learn how to effectively use hangouts, you’ll need to participate in some (as a person, not really as a marketer). Taking the time to learn the norms of hangouts will make your first hangout as a business far more successful. If you use the Chrome browser, there’s a plugin called “Hangout Canopy” that allows you to see what live hangouts are happening at any given moment. (Go here for more on how to hold a hangout.)

Marc Pitman, author and speaker dedicated to making it ridiculously easy for people to get nonprofit fundraising training.

What’s your experience with Google+? What marketing tips do you have to share? Please share your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Cindy King

Cindy King is the director of editorial for Social Media Examiner. She spent 25 years abroad in international business development and then built her own international business from scratch by using social business networking. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.bloggingfromparadise.com/ Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Cindy,

    Super breakdown here.

    The emphasis on engaging and building an interesting, attractive profile makes sense. Social media success boils down to being social. Asking questions. Providing answers. Running searches on industry keywords – a fave of mine – to see G Plus chatter on your niche. 

    The formula remains consistent but you will use different strategies across different networks. You did a fine job explaining how to connect with interested users and build a neat-looking profile.

    Thanks for sharing your tips with us Cindy.

    RB

  • Roy van Veen

    Very interesting read. Thanks. 

    About Gplus.to: last time I investigated the organization, I found it operating from Turkey. Happens to be one of the biggest producers of spam. Can’t relate Gplus to spam, but you should be careful to put something you can’t control between the user and your source of information. It might be better to get your own URL and re-direct it (or a sub-domain) to your Google+ profile. 

  • http://twitter.com/fsdegrees 56 Degrees Design

    Brilliant post and great timing as I would like to get involved with Google + pages.

    Thanks again

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    You’re welcome Ryan!  Mari’s tip is one of my favorites. It gets us to think about how our communication comes across on this new platform.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Thanks for the head’s up Roy.That’s the first time I’ve heard this. Let’s hope Google introduces their own URL customization feature soon.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    I wonder how many people have a new G+ page on their 2012 to do list :)   It’s a good time to start one. Hope you enjoy yours.

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Great tips Cindy – lots of little things that make a BIG difference.  While I’m always checking the info in the hovercards of others, I never thought to check out my own! … has now been updated. :)

  • http://daviddoolin.com/ Dave Doolin

    I definitely have G+ on my 2012 list. ROI for me is tough to see, though, the time spent seems like pure overhead. At the moment, I’m feeling a lot of peer pressure to get this handled because everyone else is doing it. Not my favorite feeling in the world.

  • deb1221

    Great post, Cindy! Glad to be in such fine company with the other SME contributors here. Thanks for including my tip. 

    Happy Holidays to all!

  • http://twitter.com/RobertMcGuire3 Robert McGuire

    Cindy, your info and links are very helpful to me here as fairly new to Google+. G+ Page on my list for this week. Thank you. 

  • Robzilla

    Where did you see that? I don’t see the domain, host, the company which owns it, or Turkey on the top 10 of any of the spamhaus lists. Looked for gplus.to, Cizgi Telekom and Natrohost. M86 has Turkey at near the bottom of their count. 

    Any supporting info here? To give an idea: On Spamhaus US is 1st (glad to still be #1 at something!) with 2,439 issues. Canada is 10th with 214 issues. Turkey is not on the list. I do agree best practice would be forwarding your own url though.  Let me know, curious what I am missing. Thx, 

  • http://www.socialbullets.com/ Social Bullets

    Well i am reading first time about marketing via Google Plus and i think you guys did great job in explaining how to use Google + for marketing in perfect manner. Really appreciate your hard work.

  • http://gplus.to/MetaThis David Jacobs

    Exceptional article, Cindy. I’ve read many of these Google+ “guides”, and all of them have been useless garbage. Yours contributes some unique advice and insights.

  • Ayman Albarbary

    Dave, I agree with you that ROI is tough in the digital world. I believe ROI can’t be measured correctly nowadays. 
    For me, I don’t care about the ROI and I hate this term every time I hear it. 

    Take Ferrari facebook page for example, they have +5000,000 fans and they sell only 6000 cars yearly. So how do you think their ROI will be measured??? 
    Think different AND start creating your own KPIs that fit your business.

  • http://kevinklau.com/ Kevin Lau

    Totally agree with you Cindy! Great tip! The Google+ hangout is one of those things that I really love about G+. It goes beyond the conventional “like” or “comment” on FB.

  • http://twitter.com/monininika Monika Szabadkaiova

    great post, enjoyed reading it! im actually in the process of creating few G+ pages before 2012, so this came really handy :)

  • NELLY – B

    This is a great tips. Thks

  • http://about.me/bpicks Ben Pickering

    I agree with both you and Rob that redirecting your own vanity url is a good idea for anyone who is
    able to do so and cut out a middle man. But for those who may not be
    managing their own domains or are looking for a quick and easy solution I
    think gplus.to is a good option until Google introduces this feature themselves. It is being used by social media pros and celebrities like Guy Kawasaki and Mariah Carey and from personal
    experience they have proven to be issue-free.

  • http://www.floridainsurancesavings.com/ Florida Insurance

    This article is loaded with helpful information for all types of websites. I had to tweet this, it is useful.

  • http://www.TheSocialNetworkingNavigator.com/ Laurie Hurley

    Excellent post. Gplus.to kept giving me an error :( and I have yet to figure out how to add circles to my Google + Business pages. Any thoughts?

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Thank you for the kind words, David. It’s all thanks to the expertise shared here.

  • tracysestili

    I actually use plus.ly for my vanity G+ url. So it’s plus.ly/tracysestili and I haven’t had any problems with it. Good luck everyone. Nice post!

  • http://twitter.com/gplusmeat gPlusMeAt

    You can also use gplusme.at/yourname or gplusus.at/yourcompanyname

    Go http://www.gplusme.at or http://www.gplusus.at

    Cheers!

  • http://www.myrlandmarketing.com/ Nancy Myrland | Marketing & So

    Cindy and other contributors…great post! Google Plus offers a format that looks, acts and feels different than all the others I use. I look forward to continuing to be an active part of this discussion as we learn and help others enter this space. Nice job!

  • http://www.captivetouch.com/ Sherry Nouraini

    Thank You Cindy!  My favorite tip was the ability to save searches, so powerful!

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    Oh! Very helpful tips have been posted. I hope these are very helpful in getting good results in marketing. I like your way of presentation.

  • TzvikaAvnery

    Great G+ tips Cindy and all thanks!

    Here is my extra tip to help you promote your G+ profile and page – Promote your G+ posts in your emails With the popular free G+ Email App – http://apps.wisestamp.com/emailapps/google-plus/
    Check it out.

  • Nagz

    Really super analysis & detailed process ..thank you so much for your article…

  • http://twitter.com/seoxleu Gabriel Sita

    Thanks for this great article!!!!

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com/ Ricardo Bueno

    #2 is the one I had missed, so thank you. Great list of tips!

  • http://stephanhov.com/ Stephan Hovnanian

    From what I read, people have to add your business to their circles before you can add them back. I suppose that makes sense, or companies would spam the heck out of everybody.

  • http://stephanhov.com/ Stephan Hovnanian

    Great tips, thanks for being so in-depth and detailed! #10 is a great idea for discovery. To the point about vanity URL’s, I’d suggest company pages create a page on their own website like yourcompany.com/social with all their social profiles. That way you can give visitors instant access to follow all your profiles from one spot. Also, make it a mobile-optimized page, so you can promote it with a QR code, since social networks all have apps.

  • http://www.TheSocialNetworkingNavigator.com/ Laurie Hurley

    Thank you, Stephan H. for answering my question about how to add companies to Google + biz pages. Appreciate it!

  • http://www.cuttingedgeconcepts.ca/ web hosting

    You have offered such a awesome information  over there. The most thing in my perspective is your product or service picture. If you have powerful campaign programs then you may make a good company picture in your customer`s mind. 

  • http://www.eyeonsocialmedia.com/ Mike

    @google-ced9aa639fb1861726dd565b15ba6575:disqus  This is a great point.  Especially if you really promote that URL and things go wrong… that’d be bad!

    If you have a hosting account, you can use your own domain to make a redirect.  I made one for my Google Plus at http://eyeonsocialmedia.com/mikegoogleplus

    Made a quick video showing how for those unsure.  Gave you credit in the video, Roy.
    http://youtu.be/xvbo9qwlttg

  • Mac Eco

    Thanks for sharing the tips. Google plus with its powerful features can transform a business to build the brand value. Branding occurs when an impression is created and the tips laid down here are very useful for that purpose.

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  • http://www.whenpigsflyblog.com/ Jen

    This was a really helpful article. I’m just trying to navigate Google+ and have been looking for ideas on how to make it work for my business.

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  • patelanjali

    ou have plenty of characters to write what you wish there. I would caution against writing something like “self-employed,”

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    That’s a great suggestion, Stephen!  Thanks for sharing.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Yes! A big thank you to @marismith for sharing the tip about crafting valuable Google+ hovercards!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Thank YOU Debbie, for participating.  This is a knowledgeable group :)

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    What’s interesting Cindy is I never hovered over my own hovercard – had no idea that G+ was not pulling in the descriptive title from my profile.  :)

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  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    You’re not the only one :)

  • http://www.vidstowatch.com/ Sam

    Thank you for this Cindy. I have a G+ account but yet to utilize it. I’m curious, has everyone used there actual names when signing up to G+ or have any of you used your company/businesses name?

    Thanks

  • Russ Houghton

    Thanks for this post Cindy! Google+ plus is still a bit of mystery I think, and I have been looking for ways to use it creatively without going overboard! Your advise nails it perfectly. Just like many have rushed out to sign up as many twitter follows/followers, I think we have to be careful not to just get everyone to follow us/follow others, but use the tool creatively and legitimately, to have the most lasting impact. Cheers!

  • Jane Hinchey

    I’ve had a Google+ account under my own name for a while, but haven’t used it much. I’ve just added a business page to that same a/c (similar to Facebook) and am keen to really get moving with that. This post answered one of my questions about a vanity URL!!! I’m also keen to know if there is anyway of setting up scheduled posts? So far I can’t see it as an option in HootSuite.

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  • fredmcmurray

    Leveraging photos seems to work great on G+. Has anyone had any success automating blog posts?

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  • http://www.marketing4zoekmachines.nl/ Sergei Baranov

    Yours post
    has saved me weeks of hard work! Only tip #1 would be enough to be happy.
    Please, look at the pages URL of others… It is horrible combinations of
    numbers. Thank you very much.

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  • http://www.mnonetizeblogging.com/ Amrik Virdi

    Thanks for sharing the greatest tip ever. I use Google+ to promote my blog articles and to interact my readers..

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  • Ariennapackham

    Your 12 tips of google+ is a A+. It’s about time some one spoke plain English and right to the point.Time to refresh my page.Thank you.

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    A very good post, congratulations for the content.

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    Nice article. It really helped me when I was setting up the transactional replication.

  • Humi Eddington

    This article was very useful.  I’m trying to start a web page as an MBA Consultant.

    I’m still a student soon to graduate, but I have very little experience in the field of business, as I used to be a part-time faculty for 12 years of 4 universities in 4 states, the last being Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

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  • yeah!!

    http://gplus.is is another good tool for custom URL’s

  • http://www.startmywebpage.com/ Jim Crenshaw

    I’d be careful with the URL changes, I’m sure Google will fix all that soon after they get way more people. If you use those services and add that short G+ link everywhere, changes to the API in the future might give way for some linking errors.

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  • https://plus.google.com/109008933900993103361/posts Rahul roy

    7. Use Google+ as your blog and comment with your Google+ profile link and build a better author Rank.

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  • http://www.wisestep.com/ WiseStep

    This is a very helpful post and I can see how much I’ve been under-utilizing the Google+. Your readers may also want to look into the advantages of Google Authorship

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  • https://plus.google.com/100124340551369412813 Abdul Sattar

    Great Article… Thanks for sharing

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  • aulia aprifky

    thank bro.







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