Who wants to join another social network, right? Don’t get me wrong, I think there are too many social sites out there, but Google Plus is different. I am not saying it is better or worse than Facebook or any other social site out there, what I am saying is that it is starting to become really popular. And whether you like it or not, it’s going to become a new channel for you to promote your business.
Although there currently isn’t a Google Plus profile for businesses, that doesn’t mean it can’t benefit your business. Here is how you can leverage Google Plus to benefit your business:
Step #1: Sign up
If you have a Google Plus profile, you are already off to a great start. If you don’t, go here and sign up. As a heads up, there are two things that are required before you can signup:
- Gmail address – if you don’t have a Gmail address, you won’t be able to use Google Plus.
- Invitation – if you haven’t been invited, you won’t be able to use it yet. If this is the case, just leave your Gmail address below in the comments and I’ll invite you to it so you don’t have to wait.
Step #2: Create your profile
Just because your profile is supposed to be about you, that doesn’t mean you can’t also use it to promote your business. Here is how I would go about creating an effective Google Plus profile:
- Upload a picture – I don’t care if you are the hottest person or ugliest person out there, you have to upload a picture of yourself. Ideally, one that may include you wearing a t-shirt with a company logo or something related to your business.
- Fill out your profile – when you’re first getting started, you may feel overwhelmed with the amount of information that Google Plus asks for, but it’s not bad. Fill in everything including links to your company, what you do, all of the places you lived, your education, and even your contact information.
- Videos – if you have any speeches you have given that were recorded or interviewed, feel free to add them to the video section. It will help give you more credibility and it will give your business some extra attention.
Step #3: Add friends
The trick with having a popular social profile is to have a ton of friends. There are two main camps when it comes to adding friends… the first is to only add people you know, and the second is to add anyone.
I personally prefer the second one and although you may consider it spamming, I’ve actually closed a few business deals from random people that I have added as a friend on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Ideally, what you want to do is add everyone in your address book–as those are people you probably know. Once you do that I would search for people that you feel would be interested in getting to know you or your business. If you do this for a few weeks you should easily be able to get to over 1000 people who will befriend you.
Step #4: Join the conversation
When your friends post stuff on Google Plus, you should be checking out what they have to say. Granted, at this point you probably are following too many people where you won’t be able to keep track of every conversation, but you should be able to keep track of a few.
If you like a conversation make sure you “plus it”, comment, or share it with your friends. By doing this more people on Google Plus will get to know you. And if you ever share something with people that aren’t on Google Plus yet, it will email them every time you have something to share.
Step #5: Create conversations
Joining the conversation isn’t enough. You also need to create conversations. One way I do this is by posting on my own profile so that all of my friends can see what I am thinking.
Some of the things you may want to post are status updates, quotes from famous people, things related to your business, and just random things from your daily life. If you can post something on your profile on a daily basis you should be able to get a good amount of your friends engaged on your profile.
At the same time you need to monitor which of your friends are engaging your profile so you can reciprocate and engage on theirs every once in a while.
Step #6: Promote, promote, and promote
Now that you have an engaged audience, you can now promote your business. There are two main ways you can do this:
The first is to make posts on Google Plus and link to your business or website. By doing so you’ll start to get more people more familiar with your business and what you do. If your business has a blog this can be very effective. For example Google Plus is now a top 10 referrer to TechCrunch.
The second way to promote your business through Google Plus is by adding a Google Plus Button to your website. The more people that click the “Plus Button” the more traffic you’ll get from the social site. In addition to that the more people that click on the button, the more traffic you’ll get from the Google search engine. Google has actually added Google Plus stats in your Webmaster Tools account so you can see how the button is actually affecting your search engine traffic in a positive way.
It doesn’t matter if you think Google Plus is a hit or miss, it is an effective tool to use to promote your business.
Hopefully this blog post has convinced you to join Google Plus and use it. In the long run I think it will be a large part of Google’s algorithm when it comes to determining how high your website rankings on their search engine.
As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t have a Google Plus invite, just leave a comment with your Gmail email address and I will invite you.
PS: If you want to add me as a friend on Google Plus, click here.