Setting up Google+ for Business

by Joe Schaefer No Comments February 24, 2012

google plus cyborg

Set Up Google+ for Your Business

While Google indicated that Google+ Pages wouldn’t be immediately accessible to all, they’re actually becoming readily available.

You are probably also eager to create a Google+ Page for your own business. The process isn’t difficult, and in this section, we will walk you through it step by step.

Before you start remember this:

  • Your page name will be the title ( the name in the browser tab).
  • Your page name + tagline will be the META description of the page.

1. Choose an Accessible Gmail Account

If we learned anything from creating our own page, it’s that Google+ Pages’ administrative capabilities could use improvement. Avoid creating your business page through just any old account, such as a personal gmail account.

Instead, choose a gmail account that is accessible to multiple members of your marketing team (e.g. companymarketingteam@gmail.com), and use that account to create your page.

Because Google+ Pages’ administrative capabilities currently aren’t as sophisticated as say, Facebook’s (which enable you to assign multiple page admins regardless of the page’s origins), you’ll want to choose a host account that makes your page as accessible to multiple contributors as possible.

The ‘Google+ Your Business’ Google+ Page has indicated that Google has already started working on multi-admin support and ownership transfer. For now, we recommend making your account as accessible to other team members as possible.

2. Create a Page With the Desired Account

Visit http://plus.google.com/pages/create, and if you see the option to create a Google+ Page, get started! Follow the wizard (it’s much like Facebook’s Page creation wizard), and choose the most appropriate option to classify your business.
create google plus page
As you can see, there are five categories to choose from:

* Local Business or Place

* Product or Brand

* Company, Institution or Organization

* Arts, Entertainment or Sports

* Other

Local Business or Place – These are pages specifically designed so users can interact with a businesses physical location.  Local businesses can add a phone number, opening hours and a map of their location will be automatically added to their business page.

Think this sounds awfully familiar to pages on Google Places?  Well, it does.  The key difference however is that G+ pages provides additional ways for businesses to interact and engage their audience, and this is really the point of social media marketing.

Product or Brand – These are pages specifically for products or brands such as cars, electronics or financial services for example.  Administrators can choose the ‘Page name’, choose a category for their product or brand and define who the content is suitable for (18+, 21+, all Google+ users etc.).  These pages can also be linked directly to the business homepage to help users find the G+ page more easily.

Company, Institution or Organization – This is the same as the ‘Product or Brand’ create a page option, except it applies to companies, organisation, institutions and non-profits.

Arts, Entertainment or Sport – Again, the same options available except these pages are for films, music, TV, books, sports, shows etc.

Other – These can be used by businesses who don’t feel their page fits into one of the other categories.

The process of page creation is a fairly straightforward process, as can be expected from Google – but a key question is how can companies use their brand pages as a marketing tool, and specifically why would they use G+ pages over Facebook business pages?

After selecting your classification, fill in your basic information, including your page name (i.e. your company name), your business’ website URL, your category (i.e. your industry), and the classification of your page’s content (i.e. any Google+ user, 18 years of age or older, etc.).
google plus page example

3. Customize Your Public Profile

The third step involves customizing your public profile. The profile basics include your tagline (think of it as your business’ elevator pitch) and an image (your company logo is a great option). Keep it concise, yet descriptive.

4. Promote Your Page

At this point, you’ve created the skeleton of your page, and Google+ will now prompt you to promote your page. Our recommendation is to customize your page even further and start sharing a few updates before you begin telling the world about it.

Promoting a blank page isn’t a great way to convince people that your page is valuable enough to add to their Circles. So invest some time into optimizing your page and sharing a few links to valuable content before you start promoting it to the masses.

5. Hangouts and stuff

Google has made it clear in their blog announcement that the reason they want brands to be represented on Google+ is for them to interact with their fans, customers or business partners. The most unique way to interact on Google+ is to conduct a ‘Hangout’, which is essentially a group video chat. This is something that has already been exploited by The Muppets, amongst others:

The Muppets have used it to raise awareness of their new film, scheduled for release at the end of this month. Using ‘Hangouts’ to conduct video chats with people is a great way to raise brand awareness and build a positive brand reputation across the web.

A company could, for example, host a ‘Hangout’ with their customers where they get to ask questions about products, services and competitions.

A company in a technical niche might choose to hold a weekly ‘Hangout’ where their followers can ask detailed questions and be confident they are getting an answer from an expert.

Companies could even us their ‘Hangouts’ to get suggestions from their followers about how they could perhaps improve their services. The point is that ‘Hangouts’ offer an unparalleled opportunity for brands and businesses to interact in real-time, face-to-face with the people that follow them. This really could be a fantastic opportunity for companies to really strengthen their brand reputation.

Again, this is something that online marketers can use as a more direct way of holding seminars etc. (More on this later)

6. Add the Google+ Badge to Your Website

Along with the release of Google+ Business Pages, Google have also launched the Google+ badge that can be added to your website to inform visitors that your company is active on Google+. To add the G+ badge:

  • Copy your profile ID (this will be the number in the URL when on your profile page).
  • Head over to the Google+ badge configuration tool and add your profile ID where prompted
  • Choose one of the badges underneath and a code snippet will show.
  • Copy and paste the code to a suitable position within your website’s source code.

Note:: The choice of buttons is pretty lousy at the moment, but Google are promising some sexier ones soon.

So far the effects of adding the badge is vague, but knowing Google it can only help with SERPS, ranking and traffic.

7. Optimize Further

At the most basic level, this is really all you need to do to get your page launched. But as any smart marketer knows, the ‘basics’ aren’t usually enough. Intelligent marketers understand the importance of optimizing their page to make it not only more engaging, but also more valuable and effective for lead generation. In this step, follow Google+’s prompts to create an effective page, and remember — Google+ is a social network.

Although every social network has its specific nuances and behaviors, many of the same best practices will still apply. Regularly share fresh content, react and respond to your fans, be engaging, and optimize for lead generation.

Then measure, adapt your strategy, and optimize your presence based on your own individual results and goals.

Don’t Forget:

~ Link your business page to your website.

~ Google also suggests you use the Google+ business page badge on your website find it here

~ Don’t miss the opportunity to add relevant links to all of your other Social Media profiles, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. Include any affiliate or partner sites. You can add these in the “About Section” of your profile.

~ You know the mantra “Content is king”, make sure you include your keywords whilst making sure it is clear, legible, accurate and useful. You can also add links to your introduction on your about page, but be careful to make them neat and relevant, you don’t want to come across as a link farm.

~ Googles’ albums look beautiful. Make sure all your images are high quality, post good quality pictures regularly, they will show up in Google image search, give them keyword rich titles, tags and descriptions. this is a good place to share info-graphics about your niche.

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