My initial “strategy” with Google Plus was to ignore it with the hopes of it going away. I was already managing my business and client accounts on the big ones – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – and did not like the idea of yet one more channel. As of now though, it does not seem that Google Plus will simply go away. It may be more than a short-term trend that all brands need to pay attention to. After all, it is owned by the search giant so I finally realized it may be time to pay work with this channel a bit. If you too have decided it may not be a channel you can ignore anymore, here are some tips for getting started with Google Plus.
Set Up a Personal Profile
Once you have a Google Account, you can setup your Google Plus profile. When you setup your profile, use the photo that you have in other places so you are easily recognized online. For example, if you already have Twitter account that you use professionally, use the same picture on Google Plus that you use on Twitter. Fill out everything requested on the Google Plus profile page, especially the tagline as it is used in your profile’s meta description. Also take the time for a complete introduction since this is a good first impression and explains what you are about. People are less likely to follow an incomplete profile because they do not know anything about the user.
Set Up a Business Page
After you have a personal profile, you can then create a business page. Include all of your location information (address and phone), select a category, include the logo, and a cover photo. Remember, this is your professional brand and you want a page that reflects your services or products. At a glance, visitors should see a page that is interesting and complete. There should not be any confusion about when you are open (if you are a brick and mortar) or what you sell. As one Google employee said, “Just setting up a page helps”, so this is a step every business should take.
The same principles apply to Google Plus as they do to any other channel – including your blog. Images attract people’s attention, and equally important is the fact that they also take up more space than text so they will stand out when compared to text posts. An image does not always mean a simple picture. It could be an infographic or even a video. There is a lot of room to be creative with your visuals on this channel.
Hashtags allow people to discover your content without even knowing about your specific page. They may search for #financial information and come across your consulting page because you post about finances and accounting with the #financial hashtags. If you wonder which hashtags to use, do a search first on the ones you have in mind to see if they are trending. For example, if this applies to your business, search on #financial and see what type of content comes up. Or try the reverse and see what is trending in general without searching on a specific hashtag. Use some of the trending hashtags in your post if it applies. Stay away from using a tag just to get people to your post if it is not relevant. It will only annoy them.
Stand for Something
Why would people follow you? What is your expertise? Your niche? Decide this before you start so you can stay focused on what you post to Google Plus and people will follow you because you are the expert in that specific area. You may want to save the randomness for Facebook and keep this as a professional network like you do with LinkedIn.
Connect it to your website and blog so readers who start there will know you are also available on Google Plus. Google offers a follow button so you can easily make that connection on your site.
It’s Not All About You
Of course you are using this to promote the work you do, but it is equally important to show interest in the work of influential users on Google Plus. Share some of their posts to build relationships with potential partners.
You may feel the same way I have felt – not wanting to be bothered with yet another channel. The good news is that these principles are similar to things you have probably heard about the other social media channels out there so at least getting used to the channel will not be difficult.