Since Google officially launched Google+ Business Pages, many businesses and organizations have already taken the initiative to create their own page. Because of the weight of the Google brand, the impact activity on Google+ has on search engine optimization, and the large user base that's joining at a record rate, it is important for marketers to claim their brand and represent themselves on this new social network. If you've created a page and do nothing else, here are the 5 things you should definitely be doing on Google+ to build a following and generate more leads.
1. Start Discussions With Your Followers, Peers, and Influencers
After you've registered your page and populated it with your basic details, set up a schedule of discussions you'd like to have on industry related topics or problems that relate to your products/services. Think of this as an editorial calendar for your Google+ page.
One of great advantages of Google+ over other social media platforms is that it's easy to have actual conversations and encourage responses. As you get started, Circle some people in your field with relevant interests, and invite them to participate in these conversations. You can do this by adding their name either to the main post or a comment by typing a plus sign (+) followed by their name (e.g. "+Brian Whalley”), like you can see below on Tom Critchlow's post. The user you tag will receive a notification that they were mentioned accompanied by an invitation to respond. Since there's no real limit to how much text you can include in one entry, it's a great place to start a discussion and then invite other people to the conversation. A few great marketing uses for this are generating feedback from your followers about your content, products, or services; building relationships with other industry thought leaders; and establishing your company as an industry expert.
When starting discussions or posting comments, include video and images in your Google+ posts. Unlike some other social networks that only display thumbnails or make you exit the site and access another site to view content, Google+ supports users posting rich content onto their stream such as photos and videos that are prominently displayed on the page.
2. Include Videos & Attractive Images
This offers marketers the opportunity to create and display sharp-looking calls-to-action for their business page's followers as well as a great opportunity to share your message visually. Since Google+ allows you to add images of any size as well, don't just stick to small icons or hard-to-see graphics: upload bright, attractive images that will help pull viewers in and engage them. It will also encourage your followers to click-through to your website.
3. Add Your Blog Posts to Your Page
While there isn't a method for auto-publishing your business blog posts to Google+ yet, another important reason to be active on this network is to make sure that your posts are entering the ecosystem and getting an opportunity to earn comments, shares, and +1s on the site. These factors can all impact the search engine optimization of your site. Google loves to see positive interaction and engagement with content and a website, so evidence that people are enjoying the site and its content is extremely valuable. It's a great way to expand your network and reach while simultaneously enabling better organic search results for your website. People who find your blog posts in organic search results can now see how many +1 votes it has received as well as the names and faces of any friends/connections who have personally given it a vote, which is a tremendous vote of confidence for each article. You can see an example of what this looks like if you're connected to the person below.
4. Find Inspiration for Your Next Email Marketing Message
The best advice for what you should be producing and sharing with your network often comes when you ask people what they're looking for. You may never know what people need if you don't ask. Use your Google+ page followers as a focus group to determine if there’s any content you're missing or if they'd like to learn more about a specific topic. Build their requests into your next email send, and make sure you share the web version of your email on Google+ so your followers can see it right away on the network. It’s another opportunity for people to engage with you and your brand, and they’ll appreciate you even more if you incorporate their feedback and requests into your content production.
5. Promote Your Best Offers to Generate Leads
Don't forget to share your content offers, landing pages, and other offers on your page. While you don’t want to overdo it with self-promotion (nobody likes someone who only talks about themselves, after all), you should still tell people about your offers and what value they have. Promoting a new ebook or whitepaper that users can download from your site on a landing page is a great way to turn Google+ followers into business leads. Include a picture of the cover or an image from the offer as well in your post to entice followers to obtain your offer. Visually showing them what they'll get is a great way to increase conversion rates.
Originally published Dec 14, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016