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social media how toDo you use Google+ for your business?

Wondering which features to invest your time and effort in?

While there have been recent changes to Google+, the platform has a number of features many marketers love and will continue to use.

In this article you’ll discover six Google+ features you can use to promote your business.

six google+ features to promote your business

Discover six Google+ features to promote your business.

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#1: Set Up Google+ Business Listings for Visibility

Google My Business is by far the most important Google+ feature, especially if your business has a local presence. Not only can a Google+ business listing increase your visibility on local and mobile search, but it also allows potential customers to call you, get directions to your business on Google Maps and check out your verified business website.

Your listing also makes your photos and YouTube videos easily findable on your business page and lets customers leave reviews for your business right on your Google+ page. It’s up to you to fill in your business information with as much detail as possible.

Check out this business listing for a restaurant in Pune, India. As a result of verifying their website, it now ranks #1 in the organic search results for the business name. The listing clearly shows all of the restaurant’s information, including their location on Google Maps and customer reviews.

google+ listing in search results

A Google+ business listing makes it easy for customers to contact you, get directions and check out your website.

As mobile search grows in importance, having a Google+ business listing will become even more vital from a local SEO point of view. If your business is a retail store, restaurant, café or hotel, your Google+ business listing will be a crucial part of your online presence in the years to come.

#2: Use Circles to Segment Connections

Google+ Circles are an effective way to create subsets of people you’re connected to and share content and updates selectively with them.

You can create circles based on friends, customers, business partners, affiliates or influencers you follow. This helps you segment your updates to particular audiences and their interests.

google+ circles

Create circles for different groups of people to tailor your updates.

Some people even use circles to send updates to large groups to avoid the restrictions that come with Gmail.

#3: Create and Join Communities to Network

Google+ Communities enable you to organize groups of people around a topic of conversation or a cause.

According to Google+ evangelist Guy Kawasaki, “Communities have transformed Google+ into a more deeply connected environment, people’s favorite communities have become a starting point for their Google+ activity each day. Whether you’re representing a brand or are an individual with a passion, communities are a way to connect with like-minded people.”

You can use communities to recruit and connect with passionate advocates of your products or your cause. Or you could create a community around a passion or topic of interest, like a football club or a movie franchise. It’s no surprise that the Star Wars community is one of the most popular, with more than 4 million followers.

google+ star wars community

Create a community based on a passion or topic of interest.

You can also join other people’s communities to network with like-minded people.

google+ marketing communities

Join Google+ communities in your industry.

Peg Fitzpatrick’s advice is that you don’t just replicate your Facebook or LinkedIn community on Google+. Make your Google+ community unique so that it provides real value to its members. One way to do this is to organize hangouts on air exclusively for your community members.

#4: Start Collections to Categorize Content

Google+ Collections are a unique way to group your posts by topic. This feature allows you to categorize the content you share on Google+. Lately Google seems to have been adding features to make it easier to add posts to a collection, and they seem to be expending some effort on adding other bells and whistles.

According to Google, “Posts in collections you follow will appear in your Home stream, with a link to easily jump right into the collection so you can get to similar content from that author.” Ever since I started creating collections, I’ve noticed that Google+ users have been finding and following them without any effort on my part.

If you’re a blogger, you can create a collection of your blog posts and give subscribers another way to get updates from your blog. The Marketing Resources collection has over 700 followers and mostly shares posts from the DOZ.com blog.

google+ collection

If you have a blog, create a collection of your posts.

You can create collections of product photos for your business, or if you’re a non-profit, you can create collections for your campaigns.

If you create a collection that is especially useful or interesting, you could get onto the Featured Collections page. Jack Vetterli’s collection of posts on Southwestern Utah has garnered over 12,000 followers. He shares gorgeous and often interesting photos of landmarks and landscapes in this beautiful natural region.

google+ utah collection

Google’s Featured Collections page showcases noteworthy collections.

Remember, the best collections are not self-serving. They consist of content shared from a multitude of sources on a topic that users are passionate about. So consider promoting a lot of third-party content in your collections.

google+ collection of third party content

This photographer curates a Collection of destination wedding locations.

Does Google believe that collections will become an increasingly important way to tag and categorize information on mobile devices? The fact that the feature is already available on Android and will soon be available on iOS makes that seem likely.

As mobile content consumption and sharing increase, it’s possible that collections will become a useful tool to help classify and share information. It could definitely help to declutter users’ news streams by allowing them to follow only the topics they’re interested in.

Whether this feature will reflect in better rankings or visibility remains to be seen, but think of it this way. By getting people to create collections, Google is making users do manually what its search function does algorithmically: Sift and select content that they love and want to share with others.

Ultimately, it could all be part of Google’s grand plan to improve the quality of their search results. Collections could be one Google+ feature you’d want to invest some time and effort in.

#5: Broadcast Hangouts to Engage With Followers

Since it was first released, Google+ Hangouts has become one of the platform’s most popular tools. Hangouts are used by businesspeople, politicians, book authors and anyone who wants to connect to an audience in a more intimate and authentic fashion.

google+ hangout on air details

Google+ Hangouts are a great way to connect with your audience.

For your business, hangouts are a great way to create and promote events, such as product or book launches, Q&A sessions, webinars or conversations on a topic of interest to your audience. You can also use them for videoconferencing to connect to people across the world.

Hangouts are a fantastic way to grow your audience and engage with them on social media. Denise Wakeman holds regular hangouts for her community of Google+ followers.

Hangouts and Hangouts on Air have helped Google hit the jackpot as far as popularity is concerned. Their use will only grow as mobile video becomes all the rage and people find more ways to use the tools to promote a business, cause or political party.

#6: Share Google Photos to Tell Stories

The best part of Google Photos is that it offers unlimited photo and video cloud storage, and apps for Android, iOS and desktop browsers. It stores high-resolution photos and can automatically categorize your photos into People, Places and Things.

When you add photos to Google+, they also become available in your Picasa web albums. I especially like the Stories feature that helped me create a narrative account (complete with animated maps and so forth) of a recent trip to South India.

google+ stories feature

The Google Photos Stories feature makes it easy to share photos of a trip or event.

If you use your keywords appropriately to name your photos, they’re likely to show up in Google search results and give you more visibility in image search.

Over to You

Ever since Google announced that it will no longer be necessary to create a Google+ profile to use its other products, marketers have been lamenting the death of Google+.

There is reason to be hopeful about leveraging your existing Google+ presence. According to new research, Google+ has a strong international following. In India, for example, 80% of Internet users have a Google+ account, and nearly 40% are active on it regularly.

Google’s strength has always been its search function, so features that are linked to Google search have been and will continue to be very popular. The tips in this article will help you leverage your Google+ account so that all of the effort you’ve spent building it isn’t wasted.

What do you think? Did you find these Google+ tips useful? Which Google+ tools do you use? Please let us know in the comments below.

six google+ features to promote your business

Tips for using six Google+ features to promote your business.

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  • Amazing post Priya. It really brings focus on Google+ which is oft neglected when you think about social media. I am definitely going to try these.

  • Thanks, Russel. I was a skeptic myself until I started using it. Now the Collections feature is one of my favorites. If you create a good collection, Google+ will feature it and you could get 1000s of followers in a short time.

  • drburt

    I did not know that fact about collection feature of G+. Time to work more G+ collection vs. Pinterest. Whatever happens on G+ shows on Google search results

  • That is true, drburt. G+ matters a great deal to search visibility.

  • Luc Beaudoin

    I always recommend to my clients tu use G+. It really helps in SEO.

  • I agree, Luc. Google most likely considers +1s on Google+ among it’s social signals, which are a big ranking factor right now.

  • craig campana

    Question for you… Is there a way with Google+ to contact someone that has written an article that resonates with you? I have searched far and wide and so far have not been able to connect with an article writer to estalish a connection/collaborate on a project with.

  • Hi Craig, Have you tried commenting on their article and asking them how to connect? Writers are usually quite eager to connect to readers who appreciate their writing.

  • If the article is posted on Google+ you just click on the author’s name and it’ll take you to their profile.
    Many of us include our email contact info in our G+ profiles.
    You also can send a private message to someone who has a profile on Google+ by putting a +sign in front of their name, as in +BL Ochman – that would make the message be seen only by me.

  • Thanks, BL. Why didn’t I think of that myself (slaps forehead). 🙂 It’s great to hear from you again.

  • Giovanni Sepulveda

    Great info! I am needing to use Google+ more for my Duke’s Pillow business! Thanks +Priya!

  • Hi Priya,

    Promising features about Google+, I liked all featured that you’d metioned above.
    I always do hangout on Air with clients and friends that a great in need for every one to connect. About the #hashtag, I believe its works out very well in reaching out, Isn’t ?
    Also year by year profiles has been increasing in all social network out of that Google+ too can you predictive that it will increase the users compared with the other social network sites ?

    Thanks
    Siva

  • Nice post, people generally don’t know the power of g+ and how sharing content in g+ communities can bring tone of traffic. Readers must try this!!!

  • Good to know that, Giovanni. What features do you tend to rely on most?

  • No, Siva, I don’t think Google+ users will increase for the social network itself, but I am sure that the separate features like Business Pages, Communities, Collections and Hangouts, that are still useful to businesses, will grow in user numbers.

  • Thanks for the feedback, Seasia Infotech. I hope the article inspires you to try G+, too.

  • Galit Zamler

    I use most of these recommendations for
    Timelypick, and it works well, I can see the results. I like the collection
    option, which let me organize the posts by topic, the same way it displays on
    the website.

  • The Collections feature is one of my favorites too, Galit.

  • Anna Arinola Thompson

    yes I think google+ will be major soon.

  • Your tips on GooglePlus are great and help us to grow followers and gain success.

  • Thanks, Naveeda.

  • Neeraj Bhandari

    I have been using Google+ since 2012 but I am actively working since 2014 and now this information has given the to my ideas to take off for next journey. Thank you my friend…

  • Finding fault to terrorize is a by-product of Missed Justice.

  • Excellent article ma’am. I myself am looking at ways to engage in G+.