Just having a Google+ business page is not going to add much to your marketing campaign. If you want to see real results, you have to put some effort into it. Of course, getting the most out of your Google+ business page has a lot to do with setting it up properly and thoroughly. To help you through the process, here’s a basic step-by-step guide of what to do:
Register for a profile then a page
Naturally, if you haven’t already registered for a Google+ business page (known simply as a “Google page”), you have to do that before you can proceed. However, if you don’t already have a Google+ profile, you have to create one first since it is used to manage your Google page (similar to Facebook). To get the show on the road just click the “create new page” button.
Unlike Google+ profiles, pages are meant strictly for non-humans (i.e. businesses, places, products, brands, companies, sports, etc.), so expect it to look and behave somewhat differently than your profile page.
Select the right business type
As you begin the setup process, you will be asked to select your business type. It’s important to select the right option here to make it easier for customers to find you. For instance, if you’re trying to reach primarily a local market, select “Local Business or Place” and not something more broad, such as “Product” or “Brand.” Doing so allows you to specify your address, phone number, operating hours and other local data.
Use the same phone number as your Google Places page
If you haven’t already set up your Google Places page (now known as Google Local), you need to do that too. Although Google Places is now integrated with Google+ Local, the search engine is still getting business information from that data, and it is still where business owners manage their listings. It’s vital to have the same information that you have on your website and Google Local page on your Google+ business page. This will help boost you in local search results. This will also ensure people don’t get confused and it makes it easier for Google to recognize the two as the same business.
Verify your address
If you’ve used the same phone number on both pages, Google should pull up the rest of your basic business information automatically. If you’ve kept the same phone number and properly claimed your Places page, you should see your business address listed. If so, verify everything is accurate and proceed. If not, go back and make sure your data on your Places page is correct.
Create your page
Once you’re done entering in the basic info, you simply agree to the terms, click “create,” and you have successfully made a Google+ page.
Don’t stop there… upload an image
Even though you’ve created your page, there’s a lot left to do, including adding a page image. Similar to the profile image on your personal page, this should represent your business and instantly let people know who you are. Possible options are your logo, a picture of your establishment, or product images. Take a look at a couple of examples I took straight from Google+. The first example is our Google+ page, and the other is from Ford Motor Company. Both of these options are great, it’s really just a matter of personal preference.
In our case, or in the case of any inbound marketing agency, we don’t have any physical products. When this is the case it is best to just have a banner with your list of services neatly laid out. This allows customers to see what you offer without having to look in the about me section.
However, if you are a business that does sell a physical product, the best way to go would to be setting your banner as pictures of your best selling, or coolest products. Take a look at this example I took from Ford Motor Company. Notice they don’t showcase the boring or old models but rather the brand new models and pretty rad sports cars. This is a great way to showcase your best and new products.
Fill in all the options
You want to have a totally complete page — it looks better and it provides consumers and Google with more information. To edit your page, click the image of a person surrounded by a circle (the Profile icon) at the top left-hand side of your page. Then choose “About” and “Edit Profile.” Now you can add pictures, write an introduction, list your operating hours, provide a link to your website, and display recommended links.
Optimize your page
Just like any other web property, take the time to optimize your page for traffic and conversions. For instance, in your photo strip, don’t just throw any old pictures up there, but choose them carefully making sure they send the right message about your brand. Also, include keywords (don’t overdo it) in your introduction, add some links, and write something engaging.
As for your hours and website info, check that it matches your Google Places data. You want as many citations from Google as possible and having the same data on all your properties is paramount. And consider including your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account in the recommended links section.
Manage your page
With everything complete, you are now ready to manage your page. Start writing posts, adding photos and videos, planning “hangouts,” and generally socializing with your followers and customers.
To get the ball rolling and attract people to your page, promote it to your personal contacts, tweet about it, tell your Facebook fans, blog about it, email your clients, and basically tell everyone you can. When people have added you to one of their circles, you are then free to add them back — do this. It’s necessary to “circle back” those who add you in order to start growing your own circles.
Organize circles strategically
One of the main things that sets Google+ apart from other social networks is you can organize your followers into different circles, and you should use this to your advantage. By establishing different circles you can target specific sections of your audience and provide customizable postings. For example, you may want to interact differently with current customers as compared to old clients, employees, other business owners, etc.
The example below is from the Spark Logix Studios Google+ page. We like to organize all of the people and businesses we follow. The posts we do always go out to everyone, but having organized circles makes following a good amount of people a little easier.
Once your page is established, if you want to see real benefits, you need to practice good online social skills. It’s easy for businesses to slip into using their page as a self-promotion platform, but that’s not what social networking is about. Use your Google+ page to interact with consumers, to learn more about them, and to share. Likewise, let them know about you and your team (the faces behind the company), so they can form a real connection with your brand.
If you stay true to the purpose of social networking, people will naturally come to your page and share your brand with others.