The continued growth of Google+, along with an increased understanding of the nature of the platform, has caused many companies to establish a presence there. Google has also positioned Google+ as a channel businesses can use.
With that in mind, here are 10 ways you can take advantage of what the platform has to offer.
1. Create a Google+ Page
A Google+ page is your company's hub within the network. Not only that, its presence can have a positive bearing on search returns.
According to Google, when people search for your business on Google, they can get information from your Google+ page on the right-hand side of their search results. When people who follow your page search for information relevant to your business, content you've shared may appear in search results.
I outlined the steps required to set up a Google+ Page in "How to Create a Google+ Business Page."
Note that you must first have a Google+ profile in order to set up a page.
2. Connect Your Google+ Page and Website
Link Google+ to Your Website
Link the page to your website by installing a snippet of code to improve the likelihood that your Google+ content will appear in search results. This lets Google know that your website is associated with an official Google+ page.
Another way to connect a Google+ page to your site is to add the Google+ Badge, which allows visitors to "+1" or share your content and follow your Google+ page directly from your site.
Link Your Website to Google+
Take the following steps to link to your website from your Google+ page.
- Go to the Google+ page you'd like to edit.
- Click the profile icon.
- Click "Edit Profile."
- Click "Website."
- Type your homepage URL.
- Click "Save."
3. Add Social Extensions to Google Ads
Social extensions — also referred to as "page endorsements" or "+1 annotations" — gain visibility for your business by featuring customer recommendations in your Google AdWords campaigns. According to Google, this can increase your ads' average click-through rate by 5 to 10 percent.
By default, AdWords ads that appear on Google or the Google Display Network all have a +1 button. With social extensions, a +1 on your ad applies to your Google+ page. All +1's from your Google+ page are also applied to your AdWords ads.
Take the following steps to enable social extensions in an AdWords campaign.
- Click "Ad extensions," and then change the view to "Social extensions."
- Click "New extension" and enter your Google+ page web address.
- Click “Save and continue.”
4. Connect with Customers Using Google+ Hangouts
Google+ Hangouts enable you to host a video chat with up to nine other people. Hangouts make it easy to connect with customers face-to-face.
Two of the most popular ways Hangouts can serve business interests include customer appreciation events and customer feedback sessions.
Another feature called "Hangout on Air" allows you to live-stream and record your Hangout, and then make it publicly available for anyone to view via Google+ or YouTube. This could be useful for new product launches, product demonstrations, interviews with experts, and as a way to reach new customers.
5. Post Routine Content
Post interesting content on a routine basis to keep your followers engaged. Each post appears in your followers' streams and provides them with more opportunities to interact with you. It's also a good way to keep your business top of mind with customers. Google recommends posting at least every other day.
Types of posts include:
- Polls and surveys
- Exclusive promotions
- Product photos and videos
- New product announcements
- Inspirational quotes
- Links to content from other pages and followers
Social media management platforms such as HootSuite enable users to post directly to Google+, which prevents the need to visit the site itself in order to do so.