How to…? Google Plus Business Pages – Part 2

In Part 1 of How to…? Google Plus Business Pages the basics on how to create a Google+ Business Page were covered, and now follows the hard part: what to do with your new page? Well,  we are going to address issues like how to get more followers, how to organize hangouts and other Google+ features.

How to get more followers on Google Plus?

1. Ask your Employees, partners and customers to add your business page in their circles and share it with their circles, they can do this when they plus one the page (which is the equivalent of the Like button in Facebook), or they can latter on Share the Page (you guessed it, the equivalent of Share button in Facebook).

Spread the Word on Google Plus2. Managers should spread the word about the page to their own circles, which can be easily done with the Spread the word button. Of course, assuming they have a large number of followers, otherwise this tactic won’t have significant results.

3. Invite your followers from other social accounts to follow you. The advantage of this tactic is that if they followed you on Twitter or Facebook for example, they will most probably follow you on Google+ as well. Additionally, it’s not very time-consuming. The possible disadvantage would appear if you share the same content on several social media channels, as sooner or later people following you in several of these channels will get annoyed by your repetitiveness. An interesting option you might want to consider to make your Google Plus page more visible is to introduce on your Facebook page a Google+ tab.

4. Add Google Plus pages connected to your industry in your circles. If you are very confident, you could follow even competitors, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it. It is important to mention that as a business page you can include pages in your circles, but you cannot add individual profiles to your circles, before they add you in their circles. So you cannot apply the Twitter strategy of Following many people and hope they follow you back.

5. After you added pages and people in your circles, be active. Comment, plus one posts and so on, even on your customers’ profiles! This is one of the new brand-follower interaction methods Google Plus brings to the table, thus making it possible for you (as the brand) to comment on a post that one of your individual followers posted on their own stream, or even share that post with your community. I hope you are as excited about this as I am J

6. Place the +1 button, or the link to your Google+ profile strategically on your website, blog, guest blog articles and other content you can technically control.

7. And last but not least, as in Twitter, add everyone to your Google Plus page’s circles, who has added your page in theirs.

What is the difference between plus ones and adding into circles?

Well, if you get a plus one, you can take it as a vote of confidence, but you have to remember that the person who pushed the +1 button will not get your stream updates, unless he/she adds you to their circles. So you can consider adding your page into a circle is a deeper commitment to your brand, than a +1. Keep in mind that people can take away their vote of confidence by pushing the +1 button a second time or by “kicking you out” of their circles.

Organizing Hangouts

Hangouts is the video chat and conferencing program, which can include up to 10 attendees. It’s been rolled out not so long ago for business pages as well. After pushing the “Start a hangout” button from the right, you will have to install a plugin, after which you will have to invite other people to your hangout.

Google Plus hangout extrasAdditionally, you have a feature called “hangouts with extras”, which besides the Screenshare option includes some Apps, from which in my opinion the most important at the moment are YouTube, Google Docs and SlideShare. So why not use Google Plus Hangout feature to provide customer service or to enhance the relationship with your clients?

How to manage my business page’s circles?

You can add a person or business into any number of circles (just select the circles tab in the menu and drag people into your circles), which makes possible a complex enough segmentation of your connections (compared to other social media channels at least), which is extremely beneficial. Of course, I can see that organizing your circles can be a tiresome process, not only if the number of your connections increases daily, but depending on your segmentation, it could be hard to maintain. But, think of all the benefits if you organize your connections on geographical considerations or the position they hold within their company – you could share content which is more specific for their interest.

To create a circle just drag and drop a person or business page in the first “circle”, after which you can edit, delete or share circles by clicking on the circle would like to make changes to.Managing cicles in Google Plus business page

How to do advertising on Google Plus?

At the moment you cannot advertise on Google+, like you can on Facebook, but with a little bit of imagination we could foresee a combination between Facebook ads and AdWords. Or maybe Google will take a different path, like no ads at all on its social platform. Why? Well, Josh Costine from Techcrunch has a pretty good point on how Google+ is made to better target ads on its other features and platforms.

Until then, you can use the +1 feature of G+ in your AdWord campaigns, if you link your business page to your AdWords campaign. This means that all your plus ones (gained by your page, website, ads and in the search results) will be summed up and the grand total will be shown, whether users are looking at your Google Plus page, you ad etc. The feature is called Social Extensions and its impact on CTR is still to be tested, but I guess it cannot hurt.

What other social marketing features would be nice?

Google Plus is a work in progress and hopefully Google will show the same openness for user demands as until now. I found the “user demands” in this Mashable post to be more or less pressing, although being written in November 2011 a few features like multiple managers and mobile have already been integrated into Google Plus.

I believe the most pressing is the analytics for Google Plus pages, which seemingly will be out in the next couple of weeks (but until then Google Analytics does a pretty good job in monitoring Google+ activity, without any additional code). Additionally, momentarily you do not have the option to set your own vanity URL, hopefully this feature will come out soon, although there is a less elegant option, about which you can read at this blog post about setting custom URLs for Google Plus Pages.

I already have a Facebook page, why should I take the time to create and manage a Google Plus page too?

You have to take into consideration the main difference between Facebook and Google+, which is that the latter, even though it has been around the web for less than one year, it is part of a conglomerate of other features and products, from which the most important is (obviously) Google Search. Mainly because it is not hard to foresee that Google will combine in one way or another its features and products, for an improved user experience. A first step in this direction was the launch of Search, Plus Your World, which personalizes your search results based on your Google Plus account. And many believe that it won’t stop here. So considering that Google Search maintains its global search market share of above 80%, if Google says get onto the Google+ wagon, your business gets onto that wagon.

Additionally, Google+ has other features that can help you to interact with your potential and actual customers. On the other hand paid advertisement is not yet available, as Google Plus pages are still in their infancy, but when they will be I am sure that the analytics behind them will be according to our expectations. Customized tabs aren’t yet available either, that I know of. And there are many features that we would be glad to see implemented on Google+, but I am sure that sooner or later Google will roll them out as well.

Now that you know the basics in Google+, go create your business page and start sharing content (and don’t worry if you mistype something in your posts, because you can edit it even after you posted it, avoiding so many embarrassing moments – unlike in Facebooks posts).

Hoping that you found this Google+ introductory guide useful for your business, we are looking forward to answer any questions you might have or to chat more on the subject in the comment section below or on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ :)

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