It sounds like a straightforward enough question, but getting the most out of your Google+ profile if you’re a company can actually be pretty involved. It’s not hard to do necessarily; there are just a lot of options and components to keep in mind. Because Google+ is a newer social network, updates and changes are still happening quite often. Google is working to create the top social network out there, and so far they’re succeeding when it comes to business needs.
It’s important to understand how Google+ works for brands, including from a local standpoint, so that you can have a solid presence for visitors now and in the future. Fortunately, it’s never too late to get involved.
Tips to getting the most from your Google+ brand page
Before you can get into how to make the most of your Google+ Brand page, you have to of course have a brand page. You can visit this article to learn about how to setup a brand page, and then you’re set to go.
Once your page is setup and filled out correctly, there are a few different features you should try and use to make the most of all Google+ has to offer:
Use the Direct Connect feature
The Direct Connect feature allows you to tag people and/or companies in your posts. The benefits here are the same as with any network—if you tag someone, that person (or company) will get a notification and it will show up on their page. This opens up that post to a new audience, and it’s a good way to give credit to someone you mentioned or worked with for that particular post.
The Direct Connect feature works by putting a “+” sign in front of a brand name (it also works for individuals). For example, if you wanted to mention The New York Times in a post you’re writing on Google+, you would type in “+TheNewYorkTimes.” The actual New York Times Google+ page will then be an option you can choose and you’re set to go. Below is an example that shows how it works:
As you can see in the screenshot above, there are a few choices I have. The second choice is verified because there is a checkmark next to it, so that is the option I would want to choose. Below is an example of a post I included on my Google+ page where I reference a brand as well as the owner of that company using Direct Connect.
Choose images that capture a reader’s attention
Google+ brand pages will actually allow you to upload photos called “Scrapbook Photos.” You have a cover photo, which you will want to make eye catching, but unfortunately many brands stop there. The Scrapbook Photo section isn’t quite as popular, but it’s an excellent way to bring more images to your profile and get people more interested in your company. Below is an example from Bank of America:
You can keep scrolling and scrolling and find even more high quality photos. You’ll notice that I also have the option to share the photo as well as tag someone in the photo, so there is a lot of opportunity for engagement with this feature.
Use Circles to segment your audiences
Your first order of business should be understanding how Circles work. Google+ makes it easy for you to segment your audience so that you can share the most relevant content to a targeted audience that you created. For example, you may want to try and put your younger audience in one circle and your older audience in other circle. This way, if you have a piece of content you only want to share with your younger audience, you can do that. Companies also break up circles by location, which makes it easy to only share one location’s coupon or opportunity with people who fall under that category.
If you go to your Google+ profile under “home,” you will see that you can select the option “people.” This is where you can find connections and create your circles. Below is an example of what you will see:
This particular company is pretty basic and has a circle for customers, team members, and SEO connections. When you hover over someone you can see which circle they below to. If you want to click the “find people” tab, then Google+ will connect you with people you may want in your circles and you can just drag and drop.
Use Hangouts to host webinars, Q&A sessions, and talk with clients face to face
One of the most talked about features of Google+ is the Google+ Hangouts. This feature essentially works like Skype in that it uses video for people to communicate. Unlike Skype, however, you can add up to 10 people to your hangout completely for free. This makes hangouts an excellent place to hold conferences and meetings (especially if you have remote workers), but also connect with your audience by having a Q&A session or hosting a webinar. Consider featuring a special guest and promoting it so that others will want to join the hangout. Below is a video from Google of a good Google+ Hangout and how it works:
Once again, since only 10 people can join a Hangout you can’t invite everyone. However, you can record your Hangout and then use it as a blog post for others to watch. What many companies choose to do that works better, though, is something called Hangout On Air. This works like a broadcast so the public can join in and watch. You can learn how to use Google+ Hangouts in detail here.
What about Local?
Google+ is now becoming integrated with Google local search, which is one of the biggest reasons your Google+ page needs to be updated and optimized. This is a big topic best left for another day, but in short you still need to get started with Google Local listings, which you can learn more about here, but it will integrate nicely with your Google+.
Do you have any tips about making the most of your Google+ page for your brand? Anything that didn’t quite work? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.
We’re on Google+ too! Add us to one of your circles to share content and connect.
About the Author
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small businesses and entrepreneurs SEO advice raging from keyword research to local SEO strategy. She is the online content editor and lead writer for Higher Visibility, a nationally recognized SEO company that offers a wide range of SEO services to companies across the country.Follow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Amanda DiSilvestro