How to Use Google+ to Successfully Market Your Small Business - dummies

How to Use Google+ to Successfully Market Your Small Business

By Jesse Stay

You can’t successfully run a business without considering the people who make your business run. Google+ provides just the right tools to allow your business to focus on people. This goes for your customers as well as the employees and founders who keep your small business functioning!

There are several ways you can focus on people with Google+. Here are some examples:

  • Dropping in to Hangouts: The best way you can focus on people is to talk to them face to face. Google+ provides Hangouts to allow you to meet customers via live video, ten people at a time. You should take advantage of this feature — join other people’s Hangouts that focus on similar topics that you might be interested in. Or start your own Hangouts.

  • Focusing on your employees: Google+ gives you the opportunity to open the covers a little bit and share what goes on behind the scenes at your company. Spend some time sharing things you’re doing from day to day. Help your customers understand what goes into the your products.

  • Optimizing the social design of your website: You should design your website around people. Use rel=”author” tags to link the Google+ profiles of your employees to content on your website. This will also make your content more personable as people find it in search engines and make your site rank better. Feature the employees behind your products, and you will humanize your small business.

  • Coordinating your efforts through Google Apps: Google+ is supported through Google Apps for your business. If you use Google Apps to provide e-mail, document sharing, group functionality, or any of the other services it provides, you should consider getting your employees using Google+ through Google Apps as well.

People are the new SEO

When Facebook users liked the content on a website, they added the content to their likes and interests. Then, when friends of theirs who hadn’t liked the content yet searched for keywords related to the content, the content would show up in their Facebook search results.

Google has now jumped into the “social SEO” game with the launch of Google+, and you should be taking advantage of this situation. When you create a Google+ account, you’ll start seeing content that your friends have +1’d and shared on Google+, mixed in with the normal search results. The feature is called Google Search Plus Your World.

By integrating +1 buttons and building authority, you can have your content ranked and seen among the friends of your customers. When a customer’s friend sees that your customer +1’d a product on your website, that friend is much likelier to click that product than if it had just appeared as a random item in search results. Optimize your website and content to get people sharing your content.

Know your audience

You may find that your Google+ audience is slightly different from the audience you’ll find on Facebook. Just make sure you’re aware of that difference, understand who your audience is, and adapt your message for that audience.

  • Google+ tends to work well for professional industries, especially creative types like artists, photographers, or even programmers. Maybe the graphical interface that Google+ provides is especially fascinating to creative folks and to those who try out new services just to see what happens. Consider this creative atmosphere a potential advantage as you share on Google+. Share image-heavy posts where you can. Find things that a creative audience will enjoy.

  • There’s a good chance your mom is not on Google+ (but you may be surprised!). Because it’s such a new service, your family likely hasn’t discovered Google+. Keep in mind that much of your audience is probably composed of people who have recently met each other and are not intimately connected.

  • There are plenty of opportunities to introduce your brand to new audiences. Because so much of the Google+ audience is new, it pays to find ways to meet new audiences with your Google+ presence. Participate in other people’s Hangouts. Comment on popular threads and memes. Get to know new people and their friends.

  • As a result of catering to new audiences, your existing audience will start to naturally discover your presence on Google+ through search. As you meet new audiences, folks who already follow you but aren’t yet on Google+ will find your posts on Google+ through search. Try to optimize your Google+ presence to get the most from Google search.

Build your audience

When you know your audience, build it — focus on relationships and work on making your message attractive to the people you want to reach. Here are a few tips for building audiences on Google+.

  • Circle others. The best way you’ll see your audience increase on Google+ is by showing interest in them. Start by using employee and individual profiles to add people to your circles. At the same time, consider adding the folks who follow your Google+ Page to the circles on your Google+ Page. Follow their updates, show that you care and have an interest in their conversations.

  • Relationships! Relationships! Relationships! Building an audience is all about relationships. Go back and read the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Show genuine interest in people, and they will show interest in you.

  • Write interesting content. If you have something interesting to say, people will follow. Make sure your content is interesting enough that your audience will want to read it. Spend time deciding what types of content will be most interesting to your audience, and integrate your findings into your posting strategy.

  • Engage! Engagement is extremely important for a successful content strategy on Google+. Find ways to engage your audience and get them commenting and +1’ing your content. Remember always that you’re building community as much as you’re building an audience. Find ways to get your audience helping each other.