Within the last six months, Google+ has become the second largest social network, with 343 million active monthly users. Still, many business owners have dragged their feet when it comes to creating Google+ pages for their companies. We know that entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses are busy and can’t imagine adding one more task to their to do lists, but we promise this one is worth it. Let’s examine why creating a Google+ page for your business is so important, how to set up your page, and best practices to adhere to once you’ve created your page.
The Importance of Having a Google+ Business Page
The sheer number of users on this platform is reason enough for small business owners to establish a presence. Now that users are prompted to fill out a Google+ profile when they create a new Gmail account or YouTube Channel, this user base is paced to grow even more in the future as Google moves even further towards becoming a one stop shop for all of its users’ needs.
On another note, Google+ offers a perk that other social networks cannot claim at the same level: an SEO boost. In addition to providing a quality backlink to your site, Google+ has a positive effect on your search rankings as well. As Google+ is within the Google platform, posts on the social network have a greater impact on Google search results than those on other social networks, especially given recent Google Now updates.
How to Set Up a Business Page
Creating a Google+ Page is similar to creating a business page on Facebook. First, you must have a personal Google+ account from which to manage your page. Next, visit Google.com/+/Business and create your Google+ page. Much like Facebook, you’ll first select your page type. If you are a small business with a physical location, you’ll want to choose “Local Business or Place.” It is imperative that you set your page up as such so that your business will appear in local searches. If you do not have a physical location which customer can visit, the “Company, Institution, or Organization” category will most likely be the right fit. Other options include “Product or Brand,” “Art, Entertainment or Sports” and “Other.”
After you have selected your Page category, you will be prompted to add your business info. This includes your contact information, website, links to your other social media pages, your tagline and your introduction. The latter two elements should be optimized for your keywords to ensure that your business is found in local searches for those terms. As always with social media and local directories, be sure to fill out every field provided. Each area left blank represents a missed opportunity! Finally, add your profile and cover photos. Remember, the Google+ cover photo is quite large, so this is the perfect chance to wow your social fan base with engaging visuals!
Google+ Best Practices
Though some best practices on this platform are similar to those on other social sites, some are very distinct to Google+. Below we’ve outlined our top tips.
As with any social platform, if you create a Google+ page, you should commit to a regular posting schedule. Using a tool like Hootsuite helps you stick to it by allowing you to schedule multiple posts at one time, designating when they should be made live.
Optimize Your Posts:
As mentioned above, one of the major benefits of Google+ is the contribution to your search rankings. Be sure to include your keywords when writing your Google+ posts.
Like Twitter and Facebook, Google+ allows users and businesses to use hashtags in their posts. Use hashtags to mark the topic of your post in one or two words to help others looking for content on that subject find your posts. Also consider using a keyword or part of a key phrase as your hashtag.
Tag People & Brands:
Similar to Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn, you can tag people or companies in your posts. Instead of starting with an @ symbol like on Facebook, you start with a + symbol and Google+ will show you options to link to.
Google+ also contains communities that both businesses and users can join, based on interests, movies, television shows and so on. Search for communities that relate to your business, post content to the community and interact with other users who engage in the community.
If you’d like additional information on using Google+ pages, including a step-by-step guide detailing how to get started, register for our Google+ webclass.