The newest player to the Social Media group of empires is Google Plus. It started with a rock road, telling businesses that it was a "no go area" for them, months later Google opened it's doors to business profiles - though they acted just like human profiles, and still do largely. Google+ is still on the small side, its take up in the UK in general isn't huge but it still has a big effect on business and search marketing. So there is no question that you should be using it for business but what is the best way to do this right now?
As of this second my advice is to do 2 things; 1 set up a personal profile and 2 set up a business page from this.
Run content side by side for each, but try to encourage use of your Google Plus business page where possible. That of course is on the basis that you are not an individual and you are wanting to promote a business and not yourself or just your work. If that is the case simply have a personal profile.
Google Plus for Business has more limitations than most social networks, but it also has some great features and more on the way we are told. For example Google Hangouts are an awesome way to have a small group communication and meeting or to launch a video podcast from... or a town hall meeting, such as what Obama has recently.
Here are my 5 tips for effectively using Google Plus to Market Your Business
Treat Google+ Like Facebook and Twitter Google Plus although primarily a place to post and talk about your news right now is also a place for communication. This for the most part will be between your community (circle) members but you should also get involved. Be part of the community you create.
Get Connected - with Everyone! Google have made it amazingly easy to connect (circle) friends and family - take advantage of it's ease and add people to your circles, lots of those you circle will circle back ... and get your post as you post it. Tip: use the groups and create more groups to categorise those you circle, if you don't you will get flooded with so many posts its scary... categorisation saves you time and effort and of course makes life easier in the long run.
Understand Your Audience Right now, most of Google Plus user base are mid-level or above employees or business managers, they are not your average Facebook user - don't expect hundreds of comments but expect a few carefully thought out ones. The difference in audience means you also need to take more care in how you say and introduce things, you aren't talking to teens and twenty somethings for the most part, these could be business owners and certainly if they have circled you have an interest in what you are saying - so be nice, be clear and be refreshing.
Complete Your Profile Google Plus has an interesting effect on search results, your profile picture can sit next to your sites, your articles and of course items you +1. This means you need to complete your profile fully and with some twists to make it work best for you. Rather than me explaining how to do this I advise you take a look at this post by @ajkohn about optimising your google plus profile. I also advise you take a read of a guest post from a few weeks ago by regular poster Ben Greenwood explaining what the fuss is about with google plus.
Like Pinterest, Don't be Selfish In a recent post about how to use Pinterest for marketing and seo I explained that etiquette has it that you shouldn't just promote your own work and goods. Why because you look like a jerk and people will just unfollow you. The same rule stands for Google Plus, consider it a share and share alike service - post only the kind of thing you have seen shared before. And if you like something of course hit +1 and share, the more you do it the more likely others are to with your posts.
BONUS TIP: Use the Tools on Offer This sounds obvious but ensure you have the Google +1 buttons on your site and articles in a prominent location to your content (for instance my own are to the left floating, always on screen - feel free to click it!). If you have a blog or own a news outlet with multiple authors ensure you are assigned as the publisher and the authors as authors (this can be done with a simple link to their profile on Google Plus). If you have a Google Plus page for your business have a widget in the sidebar, if it's just you also have a widget ... make it clear you want people to circle and add you. But remember this is a different audience to Facebook, your community won't hit hundreds over night unless you are a huge company like Pepsi or Ford - slow steady growth which is maintained is good and not to be frowned at.
If you want to share your tips for marketing using Google+ please do leave a comment below.
And don't forget to hit +1 on the left of this article and Add to Circles from the widget on the right :)
Img Src vanmarcianoart on flickr