With nearly 100 million users, Google+ is quickly becoming just as influential as Facebook when it comes to interacting with others. Just like Facebook is now widely used by businesses, Google+ is becoming increasingly attractive to businesses as well. Last fall, Google+ officially started marketing efforts aimed at businesses by allowing businesses to build their own business page to boost their online visibility. Google+’s trademark is the plus icon, which Google claims is shorthand “this is pretty cool.” Here are some of the ways businesses are finding to use Google’s alternative to Facebook.
Creating a Circle
Google+ networks are based on the concept of creating a “circle” of people in your network based on interests and control who sees what information. This allows you to use your Google profile page for both personal and business purposes. In other words, go ahead and let your friends know about the cool new Chinese restaurant you found. However, your business contacts probably couldn’t care less what the name of your dog is or who your prom date was back in high school. This solves the probably of targeting specific audiences. Additional Google+ features that can be adapted for business use include:
• Sparks – Used for self-tailored content. Businesses can use this feature to promote upcoming events or address specific issues.
• Hangouts – Online video chat for groups of people up to ten. Businesses can use this feature as a way to setup small meetings.
• Mobile-ready – Google+ is equipped for mobile devices, making it easier to share content with users on the go.
Creating a Google Profile
As previously mention, you need to create a Google profile to use Google+ features. All a business needs to do is register to create a profile specifically for business purposes. While Google+ only opened up profiles for businesses in the final quarter of 2011, users are jumping onto the new social network in record numbers. This means you need to register a profile name as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you may find yourself competing with a profile page that has the same name or a similar name. This may cause confusion, a big no-no in the world of marketing.
Going for the ‘Thumbs Up’
The goal with Google+ is to encourage an user to click the “+1” icon on your profile page. This is like getting a stamp of approval from a customer or business contact. It’s similar to Facebook’s “like” concept. The icon can also be a valuable marketing tool for your business. It not only shows users in your network that have given their “thumbs up” to you, but the number of users in general who have clicked on the “+1” icon. So-called Plus Votes can be used to rank search results based on recommendations from others users in other networks. This gives you some of the benefits of Search Engine Optimization without making much of an effort. Companies registered through Google+ are more likely to found in a Google search.
The goal of most businesses is to increase visibility as much as possible. The way to accomplish this goal with Google+ is to integrate the +1 feature into your business website or blog. All you have to do is add a little bit of code and you’re all set. Users visiting your website or blog can click on the Google+ icon and add your profile page. This gives you a boost in search results generated for any Google+ user that adds you. Most industry observers believe that the next phase will be to integrate Google+ with the company’s other business-related products such as AdWords, Google Offers and Going Places. This will only increase your online visibility.
This Google+ feature allows a searcher to find a specific entity or brand by simply adding a plus sign before their actual search term. A searcher is then automatically directed to your Google+ page. This amounts to a way to index social content to make it easier to find by anybody searching terms possibly related to your business.
Connection to Google Apps
Google+ is now connected with all other Google apps. This includes Gmail, Google Calendar and other common Google gadgets. This provides further integration since any organization using Google apps is integrated through Google’s new social network that automatically taps into the user’s enterprise system. All that is required is to register for a Google+ page. You can take further advantage of this by encouraging all employees to register as individuals. All they have to do is add their company affiliation. You now have a company-wide social media source.
As an added bonus, content you already have on the Web is drawn into your Google+ page for easy distribution to your social circles. Content is easily shared for the simple fact that Google has its toe in the water of so many different forms of online communications. Remember, Google owns YouTube, Blogger, Google Maps, Picasa and other similar content sources. This means that videos, maps, directions, blog postings and other content you may have posted elsewhere can be added to your Google+ page. All you have to do to get started is create a Google+ profile page and start adding or importing content and you’re ready.
Author Bio:- Stacy Gianakura is an avid technology blogger and writes for USA Reports weekly.