Google + has been widely available for a few months now. If you already have a profile set up and you’re using it regularly, give yourself a pat on the back. But if you’ve been wondering whether or not you need to add to Google + to your social media mix, read on to find out why Google + is a must. And get some top tips to help you make the most of your Google + time.
I must admit that even though I’m a Google-girl, initially I resisted Google +. In fact, it wasn’t until I attended a webinar presented by Wendy Moore that I started using it effectively. Because I found Wendy’s Google + tips so valuable, I interviewed her for this article.
Here are the questions I asked and the fantastic tips that Wendy provided.
What is Google +?
Google + is Google’s social media platform. Similar to LinkedIn and Facebook, it allows you to create a profile page and share status updates, videos and photos.
In Google + speak, you “add people to your circles”, similar to adding friend on Facebook, following people on Twitter and connecting with people on LinkedIn.
If businesses are already using social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, what advantages does Google + offer?
Google is now placing more emphasis on websites that use social media. So it makes sense that they would care whether or not you are using their social media platform.
And let’s face it, they are Google. They control what information is returned in the Google search results. So although use of Google + is not a factor in where your website ranks in search engines right now, one day it could be.
Added to that, “Google Search, plus your world” (currently only available in the US) gives an option for your search results to be influenced by the people you are connected with*. Websites that you are socially connected to will show higher up in the results; I’d say that’s a pretty good reason to start getting connected to more people.
* Note – this is only applicable when you are logged in to Google.
Mel’s note – You may have noticed how when you are logged in to Google, your own website appears high up in the results, but once you log out it’s not in the same position. This is an example of how search results are personalised.
What are your tips to help users get maximum value out of the time they spend on Google +?
1. Add information to your profile
It’s important to realise that if you use any Google products (like Gmail, YouTube, AdWords or Analytics) then your profile already exists, but you need to add information to it.
Key information to add to your profile:
- A photo of you
- Photos across the top of the page (for example, the Australian Small Business awards images that you can see in Wendy’s profile below)
- As much information about you and your business as possible, and don’t forget to include keywords
- Links to your other social media profiles like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
- Links to your websites and blogs, and any websites that you contribute content to.
2. For business owners, have a business profile as well as your personal profile
Like Facebook, Google + allows you to create a business profile as well as a personal profile. In fact you can create multiple business profiles.
Put energy into your personal profile because, like any social media, people want to engage with the person behind the business. Like on Facebook, you probably find there is more interaction on your personal profile than on your business page.
But, you need to have the Business Profile as well because it is another way that people can find your business in search engines.
3. Add people to your Circles
Create your own Circles (Google will step you through how to do this when you set up your profile) and find people to add.
Similar to other social media, to find people to add to your circles you can:
- Specifically search for people by name
- Search your Yahoo or Hotmail address book
- Review Google’s suggestions for people you may know or want to connect with.
4. Start engaging
Social media doesn’t work if you take the approach of “set and forget” so start sharing content on Google +. Also engage with other people’s content by sharing it, commenting on it and giving it a “+1” (which is similar to when you “like” an update on Facebook).
A great tip is to keep your Google + profile open in a tab on your computer. If you’re already in the habit of updating your Facebook page, simply share the same information on your Google + page.
5. Promote your Google + profile
As part of the set up process, Google helps you create a badge to add to your website to promote your profile. Add a link to your Google + profile where ever you promote your other social media profiles.
6. Create a vanity URL
Go to gplus.to and create a vanity URL.
Mel’s note: I turned my profile link from this
to this gplus.to/MelindaSamson
7. Add the App to your Smart Phone
If you have an Android phone or iPhone, add the Google + app so you can easily access your profile and update your status while you’re out and about.
8. Add the +1 button to your website
If you have a WordPress website and you’re already using a PlugIn like “Share This” then you may already have the +1 button, or you may need to go into the PlugIn settings and add it. Alternatively you can add the WordPress PlugIn called “Plus One”.
For websites not built in WordPress, ask your web developer if it’s possible to add “+1” button.
9. Start “+1” ing pages
Here is an example of what happens when you click a +1 button, which also give you the option to share the content on Google +.
In the Google search results, you will see which people in your Google + network have +1’d or shared articles on Google + (providing that you’re logged in to Google).
Here’s an example of how one of our articles that Serena has shared looks in the search results. I can see Serena’s information because I have added her to a Google + circle.
Another nice touch is that if someone in your Google + network has +1’d an article, you have an opportunity to “thank them”.
Like anything new, Google + takes a bit of getting used to. Do you offer resources to help people get set up on Google + and using it effectively?
Yes. With a www.diysocialmediaforbusiness.com membership you get access to “step-by-step” how to videos showing you what to do simply, easily and in plain English.
I’m continually adding more “how to” videos to the website to show you how to use social media. Each video is easy to understand, outlines what to do step-by-step and is recorded using plain English. You can literally choose a video, click play, watch to see exactly the steps to follow, log into your social media account (such as Facebook) then apply what you learned straight away.
It’s that simple. Being a member of DIYSocialMediaforBusiness.com will save you a ton of hours searching and googling for what to do. Chances are, we’ve already recorded it and shown you.
About Wendy Moore
Wendy is a sought-after speaker, International Best Selling author and online engagement strategist who is passionate about showing business owners how to better understand social media. She has a unique ability to decode the “geek speak” and “techno-babble” using simple, plain English.
Connect with us on Google +
I found Wendy’s information invaluable in helping me get more out of Google +.
I’d love to hear your feedback on whether or not you’re using it, and what your experience has been like. Please let me know in the comments below.
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