A few weeks back I made a prediction in two parts:
- “It is only a matter of time before Google introduces the equivalent of Facebook Business Fan Page.
- When it does, I predict Google+ will become irresistible to the business community”.
Well the first part of the prediction is now a reality. Google+ has now officially opened its doors to business. Just like Facebook and now Twitter, you can put together a Google+ Business Page to promote your business. As a local or small business, the very least you should do, is to claim the page name for your business.
From a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) perspective, there is a good chance that this will help your ranking when your potential customers search on Google. In addition, you can link your new Google+ Business Page to your main website, which means that your main website can be added to a potential customers own list of contacts on Google+ Circles.
How to set up Google+ Business Page
First you will need a Google + Personal Profile, which is very straight forward if you have ever created a Facebook or Twitter personal profile. The required elements are very similar and I prefer the simple uncluttered look of a Google+ profile to Facebook, for example. After you have created a personal profile, then you can click on “Create a Page”. You will be asked to pick a business category. If you are a local business and have already created an entry in Google Places (which many small business have done in order to improve their ranking in Google searches), then this information will be cross referenced by Google. T his is a good example of the integration that Google has with the business community that prompted me to make my second prediction above. If you are not a local business, simply choose the relevant category for your business. After checking a few more items and agreeing to the T&Cs, you are done.
How to personalise your Google+ Profile
After adding a suitable tagline for your business, you can add a business photo. You can click Finish at this point and take a look at your Google+ Business Page. Once you have done that, you should go back into your Page’s Profile (Click the Profile icon, then About and Edit Profile. Importantly, you can change your Page Name. It is best to make it something directly relevant to your business. That is, something that people searching for your business might use. Then you can update contact information and opening hours etc. (This is very similar to Google Places- but repeat the information anyway). You can link to your other active social media accounts in Introduction section. Then you can fill in the Photostrip beneath your Page Name and Tagline. This is very similar to the Facebook Page. Indeed, it is ironic that all the social media platforms are starting to look and feel more and more like each other. Try and use the Photostip to actually say something about your business- either separate photos that tell a story, or an array of photos that together make up a “super photo” will do.
Next steps with a Google+ Business Page
Like any other Social Media, you will need to start adding status updates, links, photographs and videos that tell a story about your business. Once it starts to look like a busy Page, then you can use the “Spread the Word” option to promote your Business Page starting with your Personal Profile connections. Depending on your type of business, it is a good idea to post links to your other active social media accounts. For example, if you are a professional, then post about your new Google+ Page in LinkedIn.
Is Google+ Irresistible to the Business Community?
Now looking at my second prediction. A Google+ Business Page has a distinct advantage over a Facebook Business Page. Google+ allows you to interact directly with your fans. If you have ever run a business as a personal Facebook Profile and interacted with “Friends” and then changed to a Facebook Business Page where you interact with Fans- you will know that, for example, you can’t search personal profiles any more and you can’t as easily interact with individuals. On Google+, once someone has added your Page to their Google+ Circles, you can follow them back – and add them to your own Circles. So answering my own question: Is Google+ Irresistible to the Business Community? No, not irresistable yet because not enough businesses and individuals are on Google+ (in the UK at least). But that situation is changing fast! So watch this space…