By now you've probably noticed that Google places has morphed into Google+. The platform now closely resembles the functionality of Facebook. Early adopters where wavering as to whether Google+ would become relevant but it appears that critical mass has been reached and now big brands and small businesses of all kinds are leveraging it to connect with their audience. This post will share some fundamental steps to help you get your Google+ presence organized and optimized.
1. Create a Google Profile - if you have a Gmail account then this will be a snap. You simply head over to the Google+ page and start building out your profile. Their are several pre-set fields that will guide you through completing the profile. Be sure to be thorough as this information will show up in search engines. If you don't have a Gmail account, you can still create a profile and walk through the same process outlined above.
2. Optimize Your Profile - include copy and keywords that are relevant for your industry. Also, be sure to hyperlink the most important keywords in your profile copy back to the most relevant pages on your website; this is called link-building. These links will help Google identify the terms your website should rank for. Include links to as many social media profiles as possible and make sure to check all links to ensure they're working.
3. Make it Pretty - include photos in your profile that represent your brand or business. There is also a section specifically for adding photos, outside of just the standard profile photo. This is a great place to upload pictures of your business in action. Whether you're a restaurant, dentist or landscaper, this section will best used by showing pictures of the results you produce; examples might be pictures of food, equipment used, customers or your staff. There is also a section for uploading videos. This is a great way to stand out and build an interactive element into your profile. The video does not have to be fancy either; shoot one with a smart phone and upload it if you don't have a fancy recording device.
4. Connect - Google+ will recommend people for you to follow, that's a great start but you'll also want to connect to others. Take some time and find people that are in your area; these are the people that will most likely want to do business with you. Focus on not only connecting with them but also engaging them by either sharing or commenting on the posts they make. This part is ongoing and will be a regular exercise each time you use Google+.
Google+ can be a real advantage for your business. Allowing you to connect with new customer and increase your exposure in Google and other search engines. Don't be intimidated by having yet another social media platform to manage; embrace it and think of it as a potential revenue stream and communication channel to help you grow your business.