To position your company effectively using Google+ pages, keep your goal in mind from the very start.
You may have had mixed emotions when Google launched Google+ pages for business. It’s another venue for social sharing and selling, yes, but nurturing your online connections takes a lot of time.
Still, you need to be there. Even if you already have a personal profile on Google+, a page (which can only be created for an entity, not a person) identifies who you are as a commercial venture and lets you interact with prospects in that role. Further, a Google+ page ties you into the search engine’s massive, far-reaching tools, giving you another opportunity to improve your position in user queries.
Before you begin, take some time to develop your Google+ strategy as it ties into your overall social media and marketing plans. What are your goals, and how will you measure them?
Once you have a sense of what your expectations are, create a Google+ page. It’s easy. Go to the home site and click Create your Google+ page. Decide whether you want a page that represents a local presence, a product or brand or your company (you’ll be able to build multiple pages, but start with the most important).
You’ll then be asked to write a short tagline and upload a picture. Think carefully before proceeding. This will be your company’s face and an abbreviated version of your mission. Your visitors’ eyes will be drawn to these, and they may turn elsewhere if your professional image isn’t compelling.
You might want to skip the next step until you’ve posted some content, but at some point, you’ll want to notify people on your existing Google+ site (which you must have to create a page) about your new location. Google+ calls these circles – individuals that you’ve grouped together based on common characteristics, just like on your other Google+ presence. Click the Share on Google+ button to send messages to each of your personal circles.
Google+ pages lets you create and name your own business-centric circles. Consider these subgroups thoughtfully, since the content you supply to each will likely be different. You’ll be able to address individual segments of your online world with varying degrees of familiarity and purpose. Google+ will have already created circles for Customers, VIPs and Team Members. You might want to add to these by establishing regional circles, for example, or segregate individuals based on their progress in your sales pipeline.
Click Finish when you’ve completed – or skipped – this step. You will continue to add people to your circles after they follow you. You can’t initiate a connection. This makes marketing your page critical – you need to be proactive. Google+ offers numerous ways to do this, including Google+ Page Badges, which you’ve probably seen on other websites. Be sure to adhere to Google+ branding guidelines.
Starting the Conversation
You haven’t even spent an hour creating your page and you’re ready to start sharing. If you’re already on Facebook and/or Twitter, you know the drill. Social selling is focused on building relationships, not on continuous sales pitches. Your potential customers have likely already learned a lot about you through their own social networks. So make your page about:
- Getting to know them
- Introducing yourself as a person, not just a company, and
- Helping visitors solve problems and identify you as an expert.
The brand-new Local tab on Google+ pages (which replaces Google Places) opens up even more opportunities for creating a regional presence that can be easily found in searches. You can learn more about this recent development – and about the benefits of Google+ pages for your business — by downloading the getting started guide for Google+ pages or by visiting the Google+ Your Business page and the Google and Your Business blog.
Yes, maintaining a presence on Google+ pages swells your social media time budget even more. But not being there leaves a hole that will puzzle your customers – and delight your competitors.