Part 1 - Analyzing and Setting Up Google+ for Business
When Google+ launched in 2011 social media users were skeptical. However the number of users who signed up to use the platform and the number of businesses who are already using it to reach out in a new and different way to potential customers is astounding.
With 90 million users and counting in just over two years, the new and sophisticated Internet sensation can’t be ignored by businesses who want to use social media for inbound marketing efforts to increase their lead potential and brand awareness.
If you want more website traffic and to build your brand’s awareness, and even if you would like to do some experimenting with lead building along with your other inbound efforts, Google+ is the next logical step to take.
SO, WHAT IS GOOGLE+ ANYWAY?
It’s a little like Facebook, with a touch of Twitter mixed in. Add a dash of LinkedIn, a sprinkle of Skype and you’re sort of there.
Yet Google+ is a completely different experience altogether.
With Google+ social media marketers are provided with a completely new platform to explore new and out-of-the-box content ideas and leverage their other platforms for better search ranking results.
Google+ allows businesses to create pages and develop tighter relationships with their prospects and customers. Individuals can add your brand to a specific Google+ circle they have created, share your Google+ page with their network, and interact with the content that you have posted.
As an example, a user can +1 (high five) company updates, news, articles and visuals. They can leave comments, upload pictures and tag your brand in them.
A great feature of Google+ is the Hangout. It creates a direct link between a company, fans, prospects and customers using video conference calls.
Any comments made on your company page can be responded to directly through g-mail.
There is a greater sense of credibility within the circles created. The feeling of closeness within each group seems much greater than the groups on other platforms.
One of the most interesting aspects of Google+ is that it must really be experienced to truly be appreciated for its full impact as a platform.
Here are a few other +1's about Google+
+1 On Google+ there is less selling and more telling.
+1 You can hang out with anyone you want to – even Guy Kawasaki
+1 You can start a hangout and video chat at the push of a button.
+1 Since Facebook doesn’t play organic reach for business anymore, let’s play Google+
+1 No advertisements. Let’ hope that one sticks.
+1 There is no character limit with Google+. Pretend you are Steinbeck, Hemingway, HubSpot.
+1 No invitations to “add your birthday” or play farm games.
+1 Google+ can be used to play with your marketing process – people dig it there.
Google+ is the Wild West of social media. Are you going to grab a pony and ride?
WHY SHOULD MY BUSINESS USE GOOGLE+?
So you are already on Facebook, and your organic outreach is down to less than 2%. You are on Twitter and engagement is getting harder with hash tags being flung around like a fruitcake at the Dirty Santa Christmas Party. It is getting harder to get leads through your LinkedIn Groups and contacts because everyone is doing it.
Google+ is already being used with great success by businesses to reach other businesses as well as potential customers. But its possibilities are only just being discovered.
Good marketers out there also know that the businesses that pick good social media platforms and create a presence on them in their early stages accumulate the largest follower bases and have the most credibility. Get out there and experiment and get in as one of the founding fathers of Google+ for business. Do it differently and do it well. And come and tell us about it at on the Inbound Marketing Agents Google+ Business Page.
Here is a bit of research we have done to figure out if Google+ is right for your business.
Here is a little food for thought. Google+ has 90 million users. Twitter has 125 million. Facebook has 800 million. Although it may seem like a big difference, Google+ has achieved this number in just two years.
When looking at a new platform to add to your Inbound Marketing Strategy, your business should look at its user base and their habits as they relate to your buyer persona. Who is your business targeting? Why are you targeting them? Does Google+ have the potential users you are looking for?
Take a look at the U.S. breakdown by gender. Google+ has more female users than male.
Then take a look at the fact that the working class – ages 25 – 54 - make up about 42% of all users. These people represent the decision makers at companies. There are women buying from your clothing line or reading about one of your books. There are men doing some research on your company blog in order to make a big company decision. There are even families coming to your area and to use your products or services.
There is a great amount of potential here. Let’s break it down a little further though.
In a story put out by Quartz, Google+ is “inhabited by people who work in IT, people who are self-employed, and people who like to describe themselves as “decision makers.”
According to the story, the top percentage of users on the platform are the same people that most businesses are targeting for their products and services.
With those statistics alone, plus the fact that Google+ is such a different social media system altogether, the odds are getting better that it’s the place for your business to be.
1. THE GOOGLERITHM
No one really knows what Google’s chosen algorithms are. However, the best inbound marketers understand that a presence on G+ means a special place in rankings.
Now that Google is paying close attention to local searches and the phenomenon of “social proof”, if you have a community-based company and want to get noticed in local searches a business page on G+ is a must.
2. THE +1 BUTTON
Facebook has their “Like” button. LinkedIn has a “Follow” button, as well as Pinterest and Twitter. With Google’s +1 button, you can add a completely new element to your website ranking and shareability factor.
When a user +1’s your Google content, those High 5’s are included in the mystery Googlerithm crawlers and awarded with better rankings (No, Google won’t admit it, but many marketers agree that they have had great luck with the +1. )
A presence on G+, and being +1’d is a High-5 for your website’s visibility, your ability to increase brand awareness and, most importantly, begin to build what possibly could be the biggest thing yet in lead generation.
Get that G+ button added to your Social Media Platforms, especially to your Website and Blog pages. According to HubSpot.com, companies who use Google’s +1 button generated 3.5 times more traffic to their website from Google+ than companies that don’t have the button installed.
Another huge component to the +1 button and its addition to your site is that it shows the number of +1’s a particular piece of content has gotten. Going back to the idea of social proof, studies show that a website visitor will see this number and automatically perceive that the content has value because of a higher +1 number – even if they haven’t read it yet. The G+ button increases click-through-rates when there are high numbers already associated with a particular piece of content.
The takeaway here is to have the G+ share button and follow button installed on your website as soon as you create your company page.
3. DIRECT CONNECT
Google+ and Google have also made it possible for people to perform searches by adding the "+" in front of a company name. This new feature, known as Direct Connect, makes it possible to skip traditional search engine results.
To add the Direct Connect feature to your page, go to your Google+ company page; click the “connect your website” link on the “Get Started” section.
You will be redirected to a screen that gives you options for several G+ buttons, as well as HTML code to add to your website. If you aren’t code savvy, have your web developer add the new code for you. Once the code is added, you aren’t going to automatically be handed top ranking, though. Google is still very aware of which pages are putting out quality content, engaging with their followers and linking to their website. If a company sets up a Google+ business page and just share’s unrelated content, you may not be included in the Direct Connect feature.
4. GOOGLE AUTHORSHIP
Google authorship is a way Google recognizes that you have written certain content that shows up around the web and in searches.
Ways to gain authorship include writing and posting fresh content, sharing content and having your content shared or +1’d. You can also re-share content, but with different keywords to increase web presence.
Now that is an awesome tool.
To make sure that you are getting credit for your content, set yourself up for Google Authorship at: https://plus.google.com/authorship.
You will, however, need a personal Google+ account to sign up for authorship, however, Google has established a way for individual authors to link into to a company’s business page.
The purpose of Google Authorship is to add another dimension and even more depth to your search engine rankings. It also adds credibility to you personally as a business person.
HOW TO CREATE A GOOGLE+ PAGE FOR YOUR BUSINESS
1. 1. Create a G-Mail Account
The first thing you will need is a g-mail account. Make sure that the g-mail account you create can be accessed by several members of your team. That way several people can make posts, respond to comments and ensure the new platform is running smoothly. HubSpot recommends setting up an account with a team name in the title. For example: Companymarketingteam@gmail.com
2. Get Your Page on Google+
The next step is to go to Google+: http://www.google.com/+/business/. Click on “Get Your Page”. You will be prompted to pick the category you would like your page to fall under.
Currently there are five options to choose from:
- Local Business or Place
- Product or Brand
- Company, Institution or Organization
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports
Once you pick your classification, then name your page with your company name; or you might want to pick something different as part of your inbound marketing plan. Also, add the URL of your website.You will need to upload your company logo and a cover photo, much like the background picture you find in Facebook.
Next, fill out your company information. It is important to remember that when you are putting company information into any social media platform that it remains the same format across the board. Use the same logo, the same number formatting and even use the same abbreviations. The Google search engine will find your information easier to index and rank.
3. Customize Your Google+ Page
After you have put in your basic company information, it’s time to customize your page. Add your logo and your company tag line. This is a short snippet of information, or elevator pitch, you use to describe what your company does. Ideally, the tagline will contain the main keyword (link to SEO research article on keywords) for your company.
You will also be able to add the information for your other platforms. Make sure you plug in that information so people will be able to follow you there if they want to.
4. Optimize and Post
Now that you have created the bones of your Google+ site, it is time to add some content before you promote, promote, promote.
As with any other social network, Google+ has its own nuances and quirks.
Regular posting with high quality content that has been optimized with your SEO keywords, as well as engagement with your audience, sharing of the posts of others will get noticed by the Google search engines soon enough.
Doing a little research on Google+ as a stand-alone platform proves that it is viable as a marketing option for your company. Not only is it new and different, but its capabilities and possibilities make it an exciting opportunity for generating leads for your business. Check out Google+ and let us know your ideas, thoughts and comments about the new social media platform. Then join us on our page and let us know what you think about the platform.