Here are the cold hard facts:
- Google is the 800-pound gorilla of search.
- Google loves Google.
- Google+ is a great way to take advantage of these circumstances to improve the online presence of your business.
However, where do you begin?
What is Google+?
Many people are confused by Google+ but there are only three main components: the Profile, the Business Page, and the Brand Page. Moreover, the good news is that you can have all three if you like, but let’s look at what each option can do for you before you decide.
Everyone gets a profile, which is your personal presence on Google+. In fact, if you have a Gmail account you already have a Google+ profile. Go to plus.google.com to login using your Gmail account or to setup an account.
Here is where you can interact with people as yourself to stay in touch with friends and family. And you can find other individuals (including potential customers) with similar interests and hobbies.
Establishing a Profile is also a prerequisite for creating a Business or Brand Page.
Focus on these things to optimize your Google+ profile:
- Image is Everything. The Profile Picture needs to be you. People who know you personally should be able to recognize that it is you. People who only know you online should also be able to see that it is you based on your other online accounts. We also suggest including your own “hero” image (the gigantic, very horizontal image at the top of your profile page).
- Tell Your Story. This begins with the Tagline, the “elevator pitch” of your profile page. Can you explain to people who you are in ten words or less? Now build on the Tagline with an Introduction. Tell people about yourself — and do try to make it fascinating (or at least interesting). We have all made small talk at a party; it's like that. Give people a little information to help keep the conversation going. In fact, we recommend completing the entire About section because it ensures that your profile can get found in a Google search.
- Keep the Conversation Going. Add your Contact Information so people you know can find you and stay in touch — and so potential customers can reach out to you one-on-one.
Here is where we see much confusion around Google+: “Do I need a Business Page or a Brand Page?”
Do people need to find your physical location or do you service a particular geographic area? You want a Business Page so people can find your business at online properties like Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Earth.
As part of the Business Page setup, you’ll also need to decide if you are a Storefront business or a Service Area business. What’s the difference? Mostly it comes down to this: If customers visit your location, choose Storefront. If you visit clients at their location within a particular geographic area, select Service Area.
A Business Page could also be considered the “easy” option in that it is just another online business directory listing of sorts - a place where potential customers can find you. It does not require much social interaction. Keep your essential business information up to date, and you’re good to go!
Google+ Brand Page
This is not the Easy Button solution for branding your business, but a Google+ Brand Page can be worth the effort. Here’s why: Google indexes both your Google+ Profile information AND the content of your Google+ Brand Page posts. To make a comparison, it only indexes your profile information for a Facebook business page.
What does this mean? SEO nirvana, that’s what.
Google indexes all your posts, even if you don’t have scads of reader engagement. That means your business is more likely to show up when people search using Google. And everyone (nearly) searches using Google!
Finally, one more tip for your list of small business marketing ideas. If you decide a Google+ Brand Page is the right option for your business, don’t forget to claim your vanity URL. You’ll be glad you did!
About Deborah Young
Deborah is a reformed tennis bum and inbound marketing strategist whose main professional purpose is to support local business owners, experts and entrepreneurs by helping them understand the impact and importance of online marketing. She is one happy camper when she can help clients be more visible on the Internet, increase their own customer base and become more profitable. How can she help you?