Watch out, Facebook. Google+ Pages for business is out to give you a run for your money.
Unlike its predecessors, Google Buzz and Google Wave, Google+ seems to be catching on pretty well. It’s growing at such a staggering rate that, in less than a year, it has passed the 100 million mark.
So far, it has exceeded most social networking sites’ growth rates. Facebook took about four years to reach 90 million users. And it took even longer for Twitter to get that far.
Why your business should use Google+
One of the main reasons your business should establish a Google+ site right now is that it’s owned and operated by Google, obviously. As a Google property, Google+ Pages tend to get preference in ranking.
By creating a page on Google+, your chances of getting highly targeted traffic from Google’s organic search are far better than without it. That’s aside from the great features Google+ Pages has to offer your business.
One of the great things about Google+ is that you won’t have any difficulty trying to figure out how to use it. It’s a no-brainer for anyone.
Very much like with Facebook, people on Google+ can “like” your page with Google+’s own version of a vote, known as +1s. The more +1s your Google+ Page gets, the more your page will show in people’s Google+ timeline.
But unlike Facebook pages, Google+ Pages have a significant impact on search rankings. Information shared on Google+ is highly targeted; content relating to gadgets, for example, will only show on people’s timelines if they are interested in gadgets.
And when used on Chrome, another one of Google’s properties, Google+ Pages enjoy ubiquity with an extension that allows users to share posts on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter at the same time. How cool is that?
Now, let’s talk about some Google+ essentials for managing a social media campaign.
The following tips will show you how to grow your business with Google+ so it will increase your influence and boost your search rankings.
1. Complete your Google+ profile page
Say you’ve already created a page for your business on Google+, but you don’t know what to do next. The first thing is to place keywords in your page’s introduction, in the About area.
When creating an introduction in your Google+ Page’s About section, be sure to write an accurately descriptive text about your business. What are you about? What do you have to offer? Avoid keyword stuffing by using your main keyword only once or twice.
Make your introduction enticing. Remember that this section will be used by Google as your page’s meta description when it comes up in search results.
2. Add links wherever possible
Unlike other social networking sites that offer pages for businesses, Google+ generously allows you to place links just about anywhere within the page. You can even add links in your introduction.
3. Announce your Google+ page
Once you’ve completed your Google+ Page, you’ll want to promote it everywhere. Let your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter followers know that your business has a Google+ Page.
Include your Google+ Page link in your email footer. Blog about it or include a section in your blog where you point people to your new Google+ Page.
You can also indirectly promote the site by adding more people into your Google+ circle. Like Twitter, when you follow or add people to your circle, people usually return the favor.
But when you do add people to your circle, be sure that you add those who work in a similar industry or niche as yours. By getting into a lot of people’s circles on Google+, especially people who are related to you by industry, you will greatly improve your position in Google’s searches, and gain additional exposure for your business page.
4. Have your employees set up their own Google+ profile
Your Google+ posts will only be visible to people who have circled you. That’s why you should encourage your employees or coworkers to create their own Google+ profiles and include you in their circles. Ask them to post links to your websites and to your Google+ page on their profiles and share with their friends.
You can also ask your employees if they would like to promote your Google+ page among their networks and contacts on other social networking sites.
5. Always be engaging
If you’ve been following my posts on Facebook marketing, one of the things I advocate is to be engaging — always. You should do the same thing on Google+.
As a social networking site (although Google pretends otherwise), Google+ is home to millions of real people who search and consume information of interest to them. So when you share information on your Google+ Page, always try to make your content absorbing and useful.
Of course, you’ll want to post information that relates to your business. Avoid overly promotional material, though. Promote content that’s useful to your audience. Provide how-to advice that will help your friends and potential customers solve their problems.
Don’t forget to use Google+ Page as a channel to promote your blog. When you do promote your blog posts on Google+, don’t just post links. Add keyword-optimized descriptions for extra SEO value. And in your description, tell your audience why they should care about your new blog post.
For variation, share photos and videos. As we cater to an audience that grows more and more visual in its orientation to the world and the Web, you’ll have a greater chance of engaging your followers when you post images and videos.
As you will see when you use Google+, videos work extremely well there.
Google+ Pages will probably be one of next year’s most valuable social media tools for businesses. Since Google+ looks like it will continue to grow and become a dominating force in the social media space, it’s high time you got on and established a strong presence in a world where Google calls the shots.