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This post will teach you the basics of Google+ and give you some get-started-now tips about how to market with Google+ for your online and bricks and mortar businesses.
Before we dive into tips, let’s have an anatomy lesson.
Anatomy of Google+
Sort of like a more focused, less strictly social Facebook, Google+ includes the following features:
- Home. Your Google+ Home page contains your stream plus the ability to customize your stream according to your circles. This comes in handy if you want to zero in on a certain topic or group of people.
- Profile. Like any social media profile, it is important to make your Google+ Profile look good. Google+ Profiles allow you the opportunity to link to your sites and enhance your SEO.
- Stream. Like a Facebook stream, but more customizable (see above).
- Posts. The usual suspects (photo and video embedding, sharing, etc.) plus integrates with do-share. (Google is emphasizing social shares in its SEO algorithms and the company is trying to make sharing easy.)
- People. This is the feature that helps you organize your people into circles. You can easily see who has added you, which of your contacts isn’t using Google+ (yet!) and who is in your circles.
- Photos. This feature allows you a new way to organize photos. For example, you can group all of the photos you have used in posts or create albums, offering you a new way to organize your media.
- What’s Hot. Although I don’t like its name, this is a great feature! What's Hot curates the funniest of the funny and the best of the best. Also, it shows what’s trending and featured on Google+ as well as making suggestions about communities and companies that may be of interest to you.
- Communities. Speaking of communities. . .this feature used to be called Groups. This feature shows you which communities you belong to, suggests communities you might like or create and manage your own!
- Events. Events allows you to promote, search for events and schedule hangouts.
- Hangouts on Air. This is why Google is cool. With Hangouts on Air, you can instantly create videos with multiple participants (in effect recording a hangout), stream it and have it automatically recorded to your YouTube channel, thus plumping up your YouTube presence almost effortlessly.
- Pages. If you have a Google+ Page for your business, which I strongly suggest, or if you manage multiple pages, this feature is your one-stop shop.
- Local. The Local feature allows you to list your business, review and be reviewed. It is highly recommended that you create a Page and then a Local listing. That way your business is findable on Google!
Now that you have a little bit of an idea of what you’ll be getting into, go explore Google+. You’ll see that, although it may be less familiar than some of the big name social media channels, it is loaded with features and quite dynamic.
In fact, being one of the newer kids on the block, it combines some familiar features in one place.
Something you may not know: Google+ has the highest percentage of male users of any major social media channel.
Alright, friends, let’s move onto marketing!
How to Market With Google+
Here are 6 simple steps beginners can take to use Google+ for marketing:
- Set up a Google+ Profile. You need a Google+ Profile in order to set up a Google+ Page.
- Set up a Google+ Page. You need a Google+ Page in order to create a Local listing.
- Create a Google+ Local Listing. Once you have these three things in place, you are on your way.
- Optimize your Page. Set up links to your websites and other social media. Set up Google Authorship and link it to your blog(s).
- Post regularly. This may go without saying, but you should promote your blog posts to your Page and also share interesting links, ask interesting questions and comment on other people’s work.
- Join communities. Hang out a while and then build a community that is tightly aligned to your brand and mission.
The first four steps may take a couple of hours. After that, plan to poke around about 15 minutes per day for a month or two. You’ll be hanging out like a champ in no time.
Pro tip: Once you have your local listing, don't forget to ask your clients and customers for reviews. Social proof, baby!
Now that you know what it takes to get going on Google+, get started with these 6 simple steps and let me know how it goes.
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