If you want to skip the first part and go to tools and apps click the link.
I think it comes as no surprise that many people have not fully embraced Google Plus, many have preferred instead to focus on Facebook. However, if this is you, then now is the time to reconsider this and invest time to building your profile on Google+. Based on Social Media Examiner’s 2013 State of Social Media Report over half of marketers are planning to invest more into Google Plus this year. But this is not the reason.
Google is integrating its tool kit for online business and social i.e. social search, social maps, social ads, social local pages (reviews, ratings) at the heart of all of these is Google+. This proves the relevance to each of us e.g. recommendations from friends on a film, music, restaurant…as well as integrating voice.
How To Use Google Plus For Business – The Tips and Tools
First of all you need to make sure that you complete in detail your profile on the About section. Use your keywords that are associated with your focus e.g. skills and what you are known for. This is important because this is a personal profile we are talking about.
Rather than tell you how to use each part in detail I want to reference some other great blogs and content by other people. In some cases I will simply summarize here the key points and then link you to where you can read more so you will get best advice here.
1Maximise Your Profile
Maximise Your ProfileYou have a big canvas to play with on Google+ so be creative with it – here are the sizes for the Google+ images you need (they provide a PSD download as well).
- Tagline - this is probably the most important part. Your taglines words show up on your profile picture in peoples circles underneath your name. When people are looking to add you they get a sense of what you are about from this and whether to add you.
- Profile – remember this is not a Linkedin this is a mix of who you are professionally but also the oddities and quirks that make you interesting.
- The Basic Info and Education sections – fill these in but nothing special here
- Links - Links are probably the most important for two reasons:
Authorship - this is how you can get your profile picture to show up on searches related to your website.
Simply add your blog to the section called contributor to section. If you are using WordPress then install the excellent WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast. In the home section select the user profile that matches to your Google+ profile see the picture below. Hey presto you will see your profile picture show up on search.
The other reason this section is important is that it provides a valuable links to your other social networks as well as your website. Use links to your main sites in the
As with all social media your SEO rank does not depend on how many people follow you or vice versa. It is about engagement, relevance and authority that counts. In short how you build an engaged following, influence influncers and interact with others. In turn how you engage likewise matters. In this sense it is much like a Klout score. For a thorough discussion and blog on this read this blog on Windmill Networking by +Mark Traphagen (an excellent blog created by Neal Schaffer). Although Mark dismisses (for the moment) the future of AuthorRank, others see it as a future reality, here is a post from +Mike Arnesen giving his point of view. The key point both make is that Google is here to stay and now is the time to harness this platform.
Circles are how you organize the people you connect to. I have read several posts on this and the best way to do this is to organise people by your work, interests and activities. If you are also keen to build relationships with influencers you might want to also create relevant circles with influencers in specific topics. I have 18 circles related to friends, interests, hobbies, humour, travel, partners…I am trying to keep it to that number but that may change as things evolve. You can have 1 person in more than 1 circle if you need.
Sharing Circles – quite often you will see people sharing circles either on their blog similar to the one below or in posts. You can use these to promote other people as well as help others discover other people they may well find interesting. To do this you simply read this short article by +Christopher Penn
Circles and Your Stream – you can organize you stream at using the top bar to choose just a stream of content from 1 circle.
Posting to Google Circles – you can easily add audio, video and photos as a post in Google Plus. You can then select which circles, people or communities to post to. If you want (not sure why) you can also turn off sharing. There is another element here that differs from Facebook and that is you can go back and edit any previous post. A key new feature is that you can now upload animated GIF’s (unlike Facebook) which I think will start to take off – yes there is a community for that. You can also create your own in Google plus.
A note on Photos – when posting make sure that your photos are full bleed (colour to the edge) and are either 4:3 ratio or 497 * 373 to fit with Google Plus. Another feature is that uploaded photos can use Google’s Auto Enhance to automatically adjust lighting, structure, balance and more. Go into settings and choose Camera and Photos to turn off Auto Enhance and Auto Awesome globally.
A feature that holds huge opportunities for marketing is the interactive posts. I first noticed this on +Amanda Lisa Syers a Book button in a post so I dug into this a bit further. A while ago Facebook Open Graph introduced actions e.g. watch, read, listen…which appear in your timeline, these help people understand and take action with content. Google now has interactive posts with similar actions – for more detail here is a list of actions.
This is a picture showing the detail of an interactive post.
- To create your own interactive posts:
Use hashtags – like Twitter hashtags help people search for related content or follow threads of content based on hashtags. Google plus suggests hashtags as you type which helps you to use ones that are popular/being used by others. You will notice that Google will automatically assign “related hashtags” for you if you don’t. For a more detail explanation on using hastags in Google+ see this post by +Ronnie Bincer.
Use Search. The search bar allows you to search through everything on Google+, people and pages, communities, Google+ posts and Photos. If that wasn’t enough you can also click on more and search on Hangouts, Events, From your circles, to you and from you (great if you want to look back at something you posted or someone posted to you).
Search is at the heart of everything that Google does. Integrating social throughout is where it will go as more user generated content becomes ranked as the lead content. This makes it interesting for how businesses will compete against key authors with authority in certain niches. Google has also launched a music service (social music to compete with Spotify (future addition to Google Plus) and you will also notice in Chrome a small microphone in the right side of the search input area (compete with Siri) – a Google voice recognition system + future real time translation!
Another great resource for Google Plus is +Martin Shervington. In the video below Martin provides some excellent advice and tips on using Hangouts. This is probably one of the most powerful features of Google+ and can be used on personal level but also for team meetings e.g. remote sales teams as well as a collaborative area.
6Commenting, Mentions and Sharing
To mention someone or something, preface it with “+” and start typing until the correct name appears. And to format text, use *asterisks for bold*, _underscore for italics_, and -hyphens for strikethrough-.
If you get a chance you should read +Chris Brogan book, Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything. As Chris points out why some of the features of Google+ make a difference:
1. You can fine tune messages according to people’s likes/interests – you can’t on Facebook or Twitter.
2. Friendsurf – if you want to connect to an influencer connect to their friends, read their posts and comment on them and be patient. Try to add value and be oroginal in this process.
3. Probably more than some of the other networks Google+ is very open and you need to show the you. This can be done through Hangouts and joining in communities.
4. In a similar message to SethGodins Tribes, it is important to build your message and originality, tell stories and lead with narrative rather than short fired tells
In other words invest in Google+ and interact.
First of all to connect with some very good tips, tools and more examples of how to use Google+ here are some communities to look at:
As an aside I found while searching the Cats Of Google Plus Community! it makes you wonder what groups are on here that you can’t find!
The equivalent to Facebook’s groups is Google Communities. But Google’s communities easily trump Facebook they are more open interactive and well fun. There are a lots of amazing activity on them and people are actively creating new ones all the time. You can like groups create a Private Communities or Public Community. Private Communities based on permitted people only e.g. a business team or work community. You can select if you want them to found/searchable within Google Plus or you can allow them to be searchable but members have to request to join.
Most communities though on Google are open/public. To create your own community, go to the Google Plus Communities Page then click the blue “Create Community” button on the upper right of the page. The picture you need for a community is is 200 pixel wide by 250 pixel tall.
Along with Hangout this is one of the most powerful features of Google+
If you are familiar with Google Places you will see that there is some duplication with Google Local Pages. Despite this though your page will become the local source for managing your brand at a local level e.g. if you are a shop or restauarant. As Google maps become more social and obviously fit to Google Glasses! You get a picture of a rich personalised interactive world where you can see around you choices for restaurants and ratings of those. There are lots and lots of opportunities around the corner.
7Google Plus Brand Pages
It will be interesting how the role of the Business/Brand Page and Local Pages develop. For now though they are two entities. +Ronnie Bincer does a great job of talking through the latest version of Brand Pages and what they mean to businesses. To create one you can go here. For some inspiration on design and use here are 50 awesome designs.
I know there is much to explore and discuss but I hope that this blog gives you a feel for how big the opportunity is to engage and build your community. I have not used Google+ much but have been amazed at how big and strong the communities are and how incredibly helpful and great the people are. Enjoy it and let me know your thoughts on the future of Google Plus for you and your business.
How To Use Google Plus – The Tools and Apps
Do Share – Do Share is a plugin for Chrome from Tzafrir Rehan
Hootsuite – Schedule posts using Hootsuite (Google Plus business page only)
Surplus for Google+ provides real time Google Plus notifications of updates and messages.
Plus Minus for Google+ lets you see who unfollows or removes you from their Google Plus circle.
Replies and More – this Chrome app gives ‘reply to author’ button on every post.
Circloscope for Google+ lets you clean out inactive Google Plus users
Hangout Magix – this allows you to create a banner across the bottom of your video image when you are on a hangout.
Move2Plus is an app that copies over all of your Facebook albums, photos, and captions to your Google Plus account.
Gplus.to – create a vanity url for your Google Plus account
CircleCount – a directory for Google Plus peeps and here is a post about how you can search for and add people from circles you are interested in.
Gglpls – a google plus directory of people you can add yourself to and also search for other people that you might share common interests.