Web Design Wednesdays
10 Ways a Google Plus Website Will Help Your Small Business
What are the basic benefits of a Google+ business page? Google+ is the new social network recently launched by the search engine giant. Building a business profile on Google+ will help small businesses develop their customer "circles." drive traffic to their websites and promote their brand.Google+ allows users to create "circles." Circles may consist of individuals with common interests, friends of friends, and those who are recommended by others to the individual. Small businesses may also create and grow circles of potential customers. For small businesses, growing their circles around a brand will increase the chances that others find their profile on Google+.
Because Google+ does not allow brand pages yet, as Facebook does, building your small business brand is a bit more challenging than posting and promoting a business page on Facebook. Google+ is more geared toward creating communities (circles) of individuals with common interests and goals.
Develop your small business brand by regularly interacting with members from your Google+ circles.
Create Google+ circles around common interests you share with others, while keeping your brand in the forefront. For example, if your small business sells snowboards, develop a Google+ circle around snowboarding. Without obviously promoting your small business, interact with others who are interested in snowboarding.
If your small business sells an auto-related service, such as car insurance, develop a circle with members that are interested in cars. Be advised, though, about being too obvious in promoting your business. Social network aficionados are usually turned off by shameless product promotion. However, a genuine interest shared with those in your circle will enable you to subtly promote your brand.
Speak about what you know best on your Google+ site.
If you have a particular area of expertise, share it with your circles on Google+. For example, if your small business is a property management company, and you have been in the real estate business for years, develop your Google+ circles around common interest with regards to buying, selling, renting and managing properties.
Spark discussions in with those in your Google+ circles by finding and posting interesting links.
Links related to the interests of those in your circles will demonstrate that you are committed to generating conversation and keeping up with the latest trends in your areas of interest.
Ask for feedback on products and services from those in your circle.
One way to stimulate conversation within your Google+ circles is to ask for feedback. Recently, Michael Dell posed a question to members of his Google+ circles. He asked what the folks thought about a new Android mobile purchasing app. Needless to say, he received a lot of feedback and generated buzz about the app at the same time.
Start by creating circles of people you already know.
If your small business has employees, create a circle on Google+ that includes your employees. Make sure they represent themselves as your business’ employees and make sure they are committed to promoting the business.
After all, you don't want any thinly veiled negativity weighting down the interactions. However, helpful and positive posts will generate buzz with others in the community.
In addition, Google+ supports importing all of your Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail contacts into the social network. Google+ also supports importing contacts from Microsoft Outlook. Build your brand by creating a circles that include those who are already contacts in Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Outlook.
Join circles of competitors and other entrepreneurs.
The best way to stay on top of the competition is to be a insider member of one of their Google+ circles. You don’t have to be underhanded about it, either. Invite them to join one of your circles, as well. Healthy competition is good for everyone.
Post engaging material often.
To promote your small business or brand, the key is to engage those in your circles. The way you engage your followers is to post interesting content that elicits comments. When people comment on your content, the conversation rises to another level and your content develops momentum.
Of course, monitor the comments. The last thing you want is for someone to trash your brand or business with unwarranted spam. When you post content, stay on top of the comments. You may receive some very valuable feedback in the process.
Don’t over-promote your product or business.
Not only does Google frown on those who shamelessly promote a brand or business, Google+ users are quick to move on to other content if they feel like they are being "sold" something. The key to developing your brand on Google+ is to generate conversation around topics that relate to your brand.
Develop real social circles and friendships.
Those who are successful at promoting a brand or product on Google+ first develop a social network of real relationships. The promotional aspect takes a back seat to generating connections and friendships. Once you have circles of followers who are genuinely interested in reading and commenting on your posts, and interacting with other members of the circle, promoting your business will naturally follow.
Also, be sure to authentically engage with others. Read comments and posts from other users. Don't be overly concerned about your own content and make sure that you are showing an interest in what others have to say.
Create logical Google+ circles.
For example, create Google+ circles that naturally coagulate, such as investors, business partners, employees and friends that share a common hobby or interest.
Final ThoughtsFrom online car insurance comparison sites to software development firms, business owners are quickly learning to use Google+ to generate buzz and enlist followers. With subtle techniques, Google+ can become a valuable resource for all small businesses, including car insurance companies, software development firms and others.
These 10 tips will help any small business grow their brand on the Google+ social network. Reviewers and others speculate that it is just a matter of time before Google+ allows brand pages to be posted on the site. Until then, following these guidelines will help you create interesting content, develop a following and successfully promote your small business.
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Formerly an attorney and CPA, Jason has been working online since 1997. His columns on affiliate marketing can still be found on www.Clickz.com and his book on search engine optimization can be found at www.seotimetable.com.
This blog is published 4x per week and covers website design and SEO tips as well as a wide range of tips and advice for working and living online more efficiently and enjoyably.
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