This is a guest post by Sharon Shapiro.
Google introduced its new social network in the summer of 2011, and ever since its debut Google+ has become well-known as a premier social network for businesses and social media marketers.
The addition of Google+ pages for business, especially through Google Apps in November, helped Google+ surge even further to the top of the list.
So why is Google’s social network such a plus for businesses? Simply put, it allows for unmatched promoting, communicating, collaborating, and tracking.
One major feature that sets Google+ apart from other social networks is its promotional tools. If your business is using Google+, there are great opportunities for both you and your customers to promote your presence on the network.
Once you make a Google+ page, it’s important that you make it known. You can do this easily by adding a Google+ badge or a Google+ icon to your website. A Google+ badge enables people to add you to their circles without leaving your website, while a Google+ icon takes people directly to your Google+ page.
And with Google+, you don’t have to do all the promoting for yourself. Your customers can also make people aware of your presence – both on Google+ and in general.
Customers can give your business’ Google+ page (or website or online advertisements) a +1. Giving a +1 may be as simple as clicking a button, but it goes a long way. When it comes to the internet, +1s are like word-of-mouth marketing – they show others that people support your business and that they like what you do.
In order to maximize the advantage you gain from the +1s you receive, you can simply link all the +1s for your Google+ page with those for your website and your advertisements. Then, if your business comes up in a Google search, someone will be able to see all of the +1s your business has received and who has given them to you, which can be extremely powerful.
Promoting your Google+ page is essential to succeeding on the social network, but once you direct people to your page, there needs to be something there with which they can interact. This is where the above-average communicating and collaborating tools on Google+ come into play.
The simplest way to interact with others on Google+ is via the stream, which allows you to share text, photos, and videos. You can choose to share these posts with everyone, by making them public, or with a select group of people, by sharing with a specific circle.
Circles is a feature that is unique to Google+. It allows you to group people into different categories such as coworkers, loyal customers, and one-time customers. The possibilities of organizing people into circles are endless. Circles is a great tool for businesses looking to market on Google+ because it allows you to send out targeted messages, making the interaction seem much more thought out and personal.
Below is a screen capture of the Circles tab, where you can organize the circles that you share content with.
After the redesign this past spring, communicating with others and navigating Google+ is easier than ever. Redesign highlights include larger photos, a customizable navigation ribbon, a featured chat list, and an explore page. These new features only expand what can be done on Google+.
If you want to take personal interactions to an even higher level, you can do so with hangouts. A hangout is a multi-person video chat that also allows for screen-sharing. Hosting a hangout is a fun and easy way to interact and collaborate with customers face-to-face.
Google hangouts are actually very powerful, as the quick video below demonstrates.
If you’ve put the effort into promoting your page and interacting with others on Google+, you’ll be interested in the progress you’re making. Satisfying this curiosity is simple on Google+ thanks to tracking tools like Ripples and analytics.
Ripples enables you to see the path that information takes on Google+ once you’ve shared it with others. For example, you can see who shared what information and the people with whom they shared. This information can be extremely helpful when it comes to improving your social media efforts. With this data, you can learn who your best promoters are and what information goes over best with your customers. Given these details, you can share better information and share it with people who will continue to pass it on to others. Along with Ripples, you can also check out analytics to manage your +1s and track the activity on your Google+ page.
When you learn about the unmatched promotional tools along with the premier communicating, collaborating, and tracking features available to businesses through Google+ pages, it very quickly becomes clear why marketing with Google is such a plus.
More Google Plus Resources
- Free eBook: The Google+ Report
- 30 Awesome Google Plus Tips and Tools
- Smart Online Success Founder Garin Kilpatrick on Google Plus
Cloud Sherpas is a leading cloud service provider and was named the “Google Enterprise 2011 Partner of the Year.” As one of the first Google Enterprise partners, Cloud Sherpas has migrated over one million users across a variety of industries from legacy, on-premise messaging systems to Google Apps, helping organizations adopt cloud computing to innovate and dramatically reduce their IT expenses. A Google Apps Reseller in Atlanta, GA, Cloud Sherpas has regional offices in locations including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Austin and Sydney, and has more Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialists than any other partner in the world.