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Setting Up Google+ for Your Small Business- and Understanding the Features

Posted on by JamesMartell

Google+ is here to stay. According to an independent analysis done in December 2011, they are adding 625 thousand members a day- that means 400 million members by the end of 2012. It is a social network with an identity system.  How does a small business owner set up a Google+ profile and figure out how to navigate the features, which can seem a little overwhelming at first?

James Martell and Don Campbell break it down on Martell’s Coffee Talk. Don Campbell is a social media expert and president of Expand2Web, which provides tools and training to help business owners succeed online. He has helped thousands of business owners learn how to build an effective web presence and to get more customers from the web.

“We need to figure out how to use it [Google+]. We have to learn how it works and learn to connect with people and build our small businesses online,” says Campbell.

  • The first step is to set up a Google+ account. If you already have a Google account, which includes Gmail, or a Google app, then you have an account to use for Google+. Start by creating a personal Google+ profile before adding a business or local business page, which will be connected.
  • Spend a little time deciding what to put in the business profile. Campbell explains on Martell’s show-one of the leading affiliate marketing podcasts- that the question to answer is, “How do I represent what I do? How can I easily connect with people, build circles, and network?”
  • If you are a local business, then your local business page will include your address. If you have a branding page, then it will describe your business and what it’s about. Then you should ask customers to follow you on Google+. You can incentivize subscriptions with coupons, updates, or even a special events announcement. You want it to look professional. It should include photos, a description, and what you offer.

The Features

1.  Circles

When Facebook was new, a common complaint was a fear of oversharing. You may have wanted to share a baby photo with some of your Facebook friends, but not all of them- especially colleagues. Google learned from this and came up with the Circles concept on Google+.

Circles allow you to create lists of friends, instead of having one main list that gets all of your updates. You may have a SEO friends circle, a Mountain biking circle, or a family circle. That way you control who sees what. Facebook has since devised a similar tool with their list feature.

2.  Picasa

Picasa was acquired by Google and upgraded very nicely. While there was once a 20MB limit on photo storage, you can now store unlimited pictures in high resolution. Google spent significant time on user interface and made it very easy to upload photos. You can set it up through the Apple or Android app so that every picture you take is automatically auto-published to your Circles.

How does that help you as a small business owner? People are social and they like to see pictures. Take pictures of activities and events in your business and set them to upload. For example, you may want to include pictures of a special sale, a restaurant event, or even photos of your staff to make your business page stand out.

The businesses doing best online have pictures of the staff or pictures of a smiling office manager because people are visual. People can add comments to the photos also. It doesn’t need to be a professional photo shoot. Casual pictures with a decent camera and good lighting are fine.

3.  Google Hangouts

James Martell is also an instructor at the School of Internet Marketing, where he teaches people step-by-step how to get a Google+ strategy up and running and how to build your own website.
He explains that Google Hangouts is one of neatest features. He says that Google VP NickDonofrio made a great analogy when he likened it to a front porch where people meet up and hang out.

You start the hang out and people can join you like a video conference. “I might see James is doing a hangout. I know its ok to ping him,” says Don Campbell. You can see, hear, and talk to each other. The camera focuses on whoever is speaking. Another bonus? It can instantly be saved to YouTube. Taylor Swift used it to announce her new album.

How are businesses using Hangout?

  • Impromptu meetings
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Webinars
  • Tutoring
  • Consulting
  • Classes

image of the Google Plus icon
Google+ is an important tool that should be used by all small business owners in their social marketing strategy. There are so many useful ways to take advantage of the features that it would be a mistake not to get started as soon as possible.

About the Author:

James Martell, a regular visitor of  www.openwebsitetutorials.com, is host of the Affiliate Buzz on WebmasterRadio.FM. He is also an author and speaker. He most recently spoke at Affiliate Summit East 2012 in New York City. He lives with his wife Arlene, has 4 children and new granddaughter in White Rock, BC.

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