6 Google+ Tips for Businesses

social media how toHas your business set up a Google+ page?

Google+ is growing at an impressive rate. In less than one year, Google has reached over 90 million registered users—far exceeding expected growth rates.

According to CNN’s Mark Millan, it took Facebook about four years to grow to that many users. It took Twitter almost five years to grow to the same size.

There’s No Leap of Faith With Google+

You already know Google is important to your business. Just check your analytics. Which search engine are people using to find your website? Google. And if you’re using YouTube effectively, chances are YouTube is driving traffic to your site too. News flash: Google owns YouTube.

If Google is sending you the majority of your traffic, doesn’t it make sense to figure out how to help them send you more? Google+ is the answer.

  • It’s like Facebook: On Facebook, people can “like” your business. That allows your business’ page updates to have a shot at getting into readers’ timelines. People can do that on Google+ too; it just involves adding your business page to a “circle.” This similarity may help people feel more comfortable trying a new platform.
  • But it’s not Facebook: Facebook does weird things with the information on pages. But Google wants the information to be found, so it uses Google+ to impact search results.
  • It’s easier for your customers to share your posts than on Facebook: Like Twitter, Google+ has made sharing much more targeted for your customers. If you post something about a new type of bacon you sell, they have the ability to share it with only their friends who are interested in bacon.
google+ getting started 5 shared circles

Your customers can share your business' updates with the people most likely to become customers.

And if they’re using Google+ in the Chrome browser, they can have an extension like “Replies and More for Google+,” which lets them share posts with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers at the same time they’re sharing on Google+.

replies and more

Google+ works well in all browsers, but extensions like "Replies and More" make Google+ even better in Chrome.

Six Google+ Business Page Tips

Here are six steps to help your business grow in Google+ influence and in search engine results.

These steps will increase your chances of getting seen on Google+, and more importantly, help Google drive traffic to your page.

#1: Fill Out Your Page

The first thing you need to do is create a page for your business. For step-by-step directions, check out Kristi Hines’ How to Set Up a Google+ Page for Your Business.

As you’re setting up your business page, focus on using keywords as you fill out the Introduction in your Google+ page’s About section. Use both the keywords you want to rank high on and the keywords your customers are using.

And as you fill out this section, be sure to think about what would be attractive to your customers. The day Google opened business pages, Chris Brogan tweeted:

brag tweet

Read over your page and ask yourself if it's bragging about how great your business is or if it's engaging your customers.

#2: Add Links Throughout Your Page

Google+ business pages allow you to add links in lots of different places. Take advantage of it! You are able to create links in the Introduction section.

In the image below, you see examples of inserting links as phrases (like “fundraising training”), as a web page (like “FundraisingCoach.com”) or as a straight web link (like “http://fundraisingcoach.com/subscribe/).

google plus about page link opportunities

Help drive traffic to your own site by using all the link opportunities on your Google+ page.

These links will help you get found in searches. And more importantly, they will help customers go directly to your website.

#3: Make Use of the Hover Text

As with setting up personal Google+ profiles, you can influence what people see when they mouse over your business name in Google+. They might do this when searching on a topic or simply responding to a post.

So you’ll want to have a compelling, short tagline.

hover card

The tagline both explains your business and fills in the "hover card" on other parts of Google+.

 

google plus hover card

The extra words on this hover card come from the business' tagline on their Google+ page.

You can see that only the first five words of the tagline made it onto the hover card, so make them count!

#4: Promote Your Business Page Everywhere

One of the best ways to get people to follow your Google+ business page is to let them know you have one! In addition to putting the link in your email footer and on all of your other social media pages, you can add a badge to your site.

Google+ offers a way to make a badge. But a prettier way to make a badge is to use a site like Widgets Plus. This site allows for an impressive amount of customization.

Widget

Adding a badge to your site allows people to circle your business without having to go over to Google+.

Including an interactive badge helps people circle you while on your site. They don’t have to go to Google+ to do it. As soon as they circle you, they’ll be able to see your updates in their news feed.

Getting people to circle you is crucial. Being in more people’s circles, or having more Google+ followers, improves your position on regular Google searches.

And at this point, businesses can’t circle people until people have circled them first! You’ll want to be aggressive in telling people about your Google+ page so you’ll be able to share with them too.

#5: Get Your Employees on Google+

Because your posts are generally only seen by the people who’ve circled you, you want to encourage your employees to set up personal Google+ profiles. You can’t tell them how to use those profiles. But you can ask that they add your website as a link in their Links section. You should also ask them to share your business page and its posts with their friends.

#6: Be Interesting

Steps 1-5 set the foundation for Google+ dominance. But only interesting posts will keep you there. Unfortunately, interesting is defined by your customers. Here are some tips to make your posts interesting:

  • Experiment across platforms. Try posting the same updates on Facebook and Google+ and see where you get the better response. You’ll be surprised at how the followers interact differently.
  • Try posting your blog in Google+. If you already have a blog, rather than simply posting a link to it in Google+, try posting the text and the link in an update. Posts that take up more of someone’s news feed seem to gain more traction than the Twitter-like 140-character updates.
  • Use pictures and video. Pictures and video work incredibly well on Google+. People are far more interested in sharing images then straight text posts.
  • Be quirky. Google+ users are very interested in sharing and commenting on quirky posts. So if there’s any way for your business to do something quirky, it will help people become interested in you. One great example is this picture of a Crockpot from Jeremiah Owyang. Posted soon after Google+ opened, his question generated lots of conversation about food and workplaces.
quirky update

Being interesting on Google+ involves a willingness to be a bit quirky.

What could you ask your followers that would make your company seem more “human” and generate comments?

Google+ Is Open for Business

While still new, Google+ is open for business. And it will benefit your business both in search engine results and increased interaction with customers.

What do you think? What businesses have you seen using Google+ in remarkable ways? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Marc Pitman

Marc A. Pitman, CFCC wants to make it ridiculously easy for people to find nonprofit fundraising training. He also likes singing 80’s music loud enough to embarrass his family. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.facebook.com/Rosyieee Rosie Baillie

    Great post :)
    I really like the idea of G+ and it has some good advantages, the problem seems to be convincing people to either leave Facebook for G+ or maintain both accounts at the same time.

  • http://www.nearcoastmedia.com/ Matt Hamilton

    I’ve made a few Google+ business pages and somehow completely overlooked hover text so I’ll definitely be remembering #3, thanks. I like how with Google+ when you +1 it can mean something and impact search results, I always felt that ‘liking’ a post on Facebook was pretty pointless unless someone also shared it. 

  • jamiestockman

    Excellent walk through of tweaks to G+ Business Pages.  I agree with Rosie that the issue for businesses is a lack of wanting to go full throttle into G+ when they’ve spent so much time investing in Facebook strategies.  How to not simply copy what they are doing on Facebook is an issue for many.  IE, creating original content for G+ in a way that best takes advantage of G+’s non-Facebook like features seems to be the stumbling point.  Of course… then there’s the issue what if G+ doesn’t succeed?  Will their efforts have been wasted?  Great topic for discussion and thanks for the suggestions.  I’m surprised that Google itself doesn’t produce more content like this about how to best utilize G+ for businesses.  Seems like that would be a great way to establish trust and invite more to use the product.

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    That’s a great point. +1-ing does actually “mean” something. :) 8

  • Social Jamie

    I agree with Jamie and Rosie that convincing businesses of the benefits of G+ can be challenging as a marketer. Although I can definitely see the attraction of impacting search results, dividing time that’s already limited between so many social media accounts means that one (or more) is going to suffer, unless the company has a ton of resources to invest in social media. As an Internet marketing consultant, the strategies we recommend really depend on the client. Many times, learning about multiple social media strategies at the same time has the potential to overwhelm the client, so picking one (the most popular one) and nurturing it seems like the best route. What are your thoughts?

    Social Jamie
    http://www.tengoldenrules.com

  • http://www.adigaskell.org/blog Adi

    One major oversight to this list is defining the purpose of your page.  No business should build a presence on G+ simply because it exists.  What do you plan to do on it?  What value will you bring to customers?  How will you measure if you’re achieving this?  Who will staff the page? 

    All of these things are crucial to decide upon before you even set foot on it and just as with other social networks you shouldn’t feel ashamed if you feel that either your users aren’t on G+ (or are more on AN Other network) or that you don’t have anything useful to offer people on the platform.

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  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    Jamie: Thanks. If you’d like to suggest this article to Google+ for them to reprint on their site, I’d be honored. :) 8

    As for the “what if it doesn’t last,” as I see it, the SEO value alone makes it worthwhile. (I have another article coming out in a few weeks on Google’s new “Search Plus Your World.”)

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    I completely agree with not wanting to overwhelm a client.

    How do you separately bundle social media and SEO?

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    Adi: As a Franklin Covey executive coach, your comment is music to my ears. One of the 7 Habits is “Begin with the end in mind”!

    I’d venture to guess that most users aren’t yet active on Google+. If a business has to pick one site, Facebook seems like a natural. 

    But I’d challenge a business to consider the SEO value of a page. As Google optimizes it’s search, a business may find their Google page influencing regular Google searches. Since Google sends over 50% of the traffic to my site, that definitely interests me. My users aren’t necessarily on G+ yet, but they ARE on Google. 

    Of course, the challenge there is that once you create a page, you need to maintain it…

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  • http://www.realestatemad.com/ Jonathan Squire

    Firstly, thanks for a great article. I especially agree with the importance of filling in the profile section completely. Generally, before I choose to follow a page on G+ I will look at the profile. If it’s not filled out completely then I usually back track and don’t follow. If it’s not all filled out, it tells me that the business can’t be bothered to spend resources (like a little time) – so why should I waste my valuable time reading what they post? Great read, thanks!

  • Maria Fuster

    Setting up a social media editorial calendar based on your google analytics has been very successful on our end. 

    Maria
    http://www.incitecreativeinc.com

  • Mannu_100

    I’m trying google plus, but still it is at the initial stage where, it is hard to keep up with. Facebook on the other hand is looking simple to use as I have been using it for past few years. It will take sometime for google+ to be used more…

  • http://www.HappinessEvangelist.com/ Daniel Doherty

    Great article, especially 3 the hover text which I didn’t know.

    I found this Guide to G+ awesome it was built as a G+ Photo album and love all the comments by other users. https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106393478695568433143/albums/5674897950683309537

    Also really like what you can do with the pictures along the top, my friend Dave @firstpresence:disqus 
     did this for my profile https://plus.google.com/u/0/105886423031318391387/about which I really like.

  • Jane

    The issue I am finding with Google+ is how to build a community.  Any suggestions about how to find “followers” is appreciated.  

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  • http://rhogroupee.com/ Rosemary ONeill

    Count me among those going over to check on their “hover text” ASAP.  I’d say that we’ve decided that a G+ outpost is an easy way for us to hold video hangouts with our customers and connections, which is something unique to G+ (as opposed to our other social outposts).  

  • http://www.prepaidplans.com.au PrepaidPlans

    These tips will come in handy, particularly tag line and dong more with about page.

  • http://www.simplyantiaging.com/ Eileen Gravelle

    Jane – finding followers for the G+ personal profile is easier I find than for my brand page.  For the personal profile I just searched on interest areas and created circles to fit – still a little underpopulated but I’ve only recently started.  For my brand page I found it much more difficult – any ideas from anyone else would be appreciated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristin.fintel Kristin Hetland Fintel

    I don’t see where to add a tagline to my business profile… it does list my address.  Is this because I am location based, when others who have a tagline are not?  Or am I missing something?

  • http://twitter.com/mjmonaghan_ Michael Monaghan

    Mark, great article. Some great tips on making better use of Google+ that can help individuals as well as businesses.

    http://www.mjmonaghan.com 
    @mjmonaghan_:twitter 

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    Have you tried entering this in the search: “shared a circle with you” 

    You can see circles people shared and follow them too.

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    GREAT use of Google+! 

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    So true. Brand pages can’t follow people until they follow them too.

    I’m still learning that!

  • http://www.HappinessEvangelist.com/ Daniel Doherty

    This post has also got me thinking I am now 780 words into a blog post about Google+ et al

    I also like the Ripples feature for finding influencers, great article here by @seomoz:disqus  
    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/using-google-plus-ripples-to-connect-with-influencers
    Enjoying the commenting : ) Even though I’m struggling to comment via Disqus & limits how much I can write.

  • H Clarke

    thanks for the post. I dont’ know if I’m the only one but I can’t seem to figure out how to set up a company Google + profile. Can anyone shed any light? thanks!

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

    Hi Marc. I recently stared promoting my business ads through Google+ but I had not found any positive growth in my business. I hope these tips would be more helpful to me in promoting my business through Google+ in very effective manner.

  • Dennis Chikwayi

    I believe they have deliberately given the ball in the hands of the users to enable them share their experiences while Google do the listening.I think this is a great way to engage your followers.By so doing one will focus on filling up the gaps that users want to be addressed.

  • Nick

    Hi Rosie,

    I<code>ve just read your comment __abENT__amp; completely agree with you !  I have to confess I do not have a Google+ account__abENT__#46;__abENT__#46;__abENT__#46;__abENT__#46;__abENT__#46;but, I</code>m now starting to consider it!

    Nick

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  • http://www.adigaskell.org/blog Adi

    Yes, the SEO thing does muddy the waters a bit.  I know the competition authorities are investigating that very issue as it seems little different to when Microsoft used their dominance of the desktop to promote Internet Explorer over Netscape.

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  • http://www.linkw.info/ LinkW

    Having a Google+ business account might help with search marketing but it hasn’t really taken off with the individual person. I know people who have Google+ accounts but none of them use them.

  • Kendra

    I was told that I should build my website with Google+ instead of create a separate site using a URL.  Any suggestions/ ideas?

  • Brian Kidd

    I’ve been using G+ primarily (way more engaging than facebook) for personal use for months now. 

    I’ve only recently decided to start adding my local construction business efforts as business pages and so far the greatest drawback is finding new Circlers. When you go to add a Shared Circle, as a business page, you cannot, even though it leads you through the process at the end it says, “1 or more users could not be added to your circle”… that’s rather frustrating. 

  • Maggie

    Great article… I’d missed the hover text aswell

  • predsicker

    Thanks for a great article Marc. Quick question about Hangouts – are they still limiting that to 10 people or is there a way to invite more people to join in?

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  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    I’m not sure. Let me check.

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    Kristin, this is what I did:

    (1) Make it so Google+ knows I’m using it as my page (2) Go to my page–the third image from the left,the profile (the buttons are: streams, pictures, profile, circles)
    (3) Choose “edit profile” — the blue button on the upper right
    (4) Click on the space below the pages name.

    That lets me edit it.

    It’s not obvious that that space can be edited.
    Could you let me know if that works for your page?

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman
  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    Please let us know!

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    I would never build my business presence 100% dependent on a social platform. I’d get my own URL and website.
    All the things you do on social platforms apart from engaging in dialogue should be aimed at getting people back to your site.

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    Yes sir. I guess I like that brands can’t add me without my consent. But it seems an unnecessary limitation.

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    Still limited to 10. You will see some updates that said a person hung out with 19 people but that’s just because people come and go during the hangout.

    There is a broadcast option that allows others to view the hangout. The GMail team is having an example of that in about 30 minutes: 
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/103345707817934461425/posts/Q7QLc5eeGtP

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristin.fintel Kristin Hetland Fintel

    Nope.  There is nothing clickable between my name (which I can change, but can’t add a second line to) and my scrapbook of 5 photos.  I’m seeing the same thing with other B&Bs.  When you look at my profile, the second line is taken by my address.  I assume this ties the google+ page to the google places (or is it called google local now?) page.  I’m open for other ideas, but maybe this ts what it is.

  • jamiestockman

    Will do!  I agree on the longevity view point you raised.  I think the sheer connected(ness) of what Google is doing from an SEO point of view will as well as how may of their products they can integrate it into, will ultimately serve G+ very well.
    I look forward to the +Your World article.

  • http://twitter.com/wandereremi wanderer.emi

    Great article on how to maximize the online presence of your business with Google+. All six of your tips are really helpful especially the last one. I think it’s really important to make your page interesting just like how Pepsi, H&M and The New York Times set up their Goolge+ pages among others. :)  

    http://vaintl.net/ 

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    I bet you are right. Google+ must have decided the address was more important than a tagline for Places. Sorry!

  • Helena

    Very nice and filled with practical tips. I started with my profile and now will have to migrate to the company page. Any advice on getting my peeps to add me (again!)?? Thank you!

  • Jane

    Thanks for the suggestion

  • http://brandyourstyle.wordpress.com/ Breanna

    Wow, this post was super informative for me. I love the idea of Google+, but I feel like a lot of businesses are just using it in exactly the same ways that they use Facebook because they don’t know how to make it different. These tips are very easy and will help to market people’s businesses in yet another way on social media, unique from their content on Facebook and Twitter. I hope to include a link to this post in one of my posts on my new fashion branding blog! Thanks for the tips!

  • http://twitter.com/terranozergus Anderson Mccutcheon

    Google actually asked everyone to stop creating business pages on Google+because they will be all shut down and Google plans roll out another product in a few months.

  • http://www.muchmooremarketing.com/ Renee Moore

    Rosie I agree. I have a  Google+ account but it just feels like one more thing to check. i haven’t seen my customer base/ prospects move to it so I am not sure why I am spending time there. But I’ll set up a biz page and see what happens!

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  • steve giovinco

    Thanks for the article.  Google+ becomes very important for SEO, especially as more people start or continue to use it since it changes or customizes your SERP based on your other contacts.

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

    Amongst all – adding website home page in Recommended Links of About tab is very very important. After adding a link, Google will provide a link tag which will have to be placed on the home page of the website.

    This would enable the Google direct connect for your business page – meaning the Google plus page would be displayed directly in search results when searched with a “+” prefix.

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  • http://ojinc.com/ CA Insulation Contractors

    This is a really great post. We just set up our Google+ account for our business and we’ve been trying to make it as effective as possible. These tips are going to be really helpful for us, thank you!

  • Alexis Garnaut-Miller

    I particularly like the Google+ Events feature for promoting events that can engage discussion. Small Business marketing tip: you can use the Google+ Events functionality to promote both offline AND online events (like webinars, teleseminars). 

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  • http://www.rootedup.com/ Jason Weakley

    I am not a big fan of Google+ but I want to at least have a decent Google+ Page for users of the social network. As far as I can tell, there are no analytics for page owners, and even the “# people have you in circles” doesn’t actually tell you who those people are, giving you some lame excuse about “People who’ve recently circled you may not be shown.”

    I have also noticed within the last month that Google has changed its Places service with Google Local with appears as a button within Google+… I am thinking that this might be their replacement/enhancement of Google Places, and may integrate its functionality with Google+ Pages, but I am not sure, and haven’t the time to research it properly. Do you wonderful people in the jungles of darkest Social Media have any light to shed upon the problem?

  • Matthew Hertert

    Well maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t figure out how to set up the business page hover card. I got the personal one no problem, but is there a way to give my business / places page one too? Thanks!

  • Scott Stacey

    Can anyone here help with this? I can find nowhere to add posts or
    videos to my client’s Google Plus Business page. Yet our competitors
    obviously have these features available. Please see these listings.

    https://plus.google.com/103251974001921459203/posts?hl=en – Batson
    https://plus.google.com/118369342424238980434/about?hl=en – Bellemeade
    https://plus.google.com/106857465275180133276/about?hl=en – Dunn (my client)

    How do I add posts and videos as the manager of our Google Plus Business page? Thanks.







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