There’s a new player in the field of web promotion, and its name is Google+ Pages. Small and local businesses can now jump into Google’s social realm, taking advantage of a few features and tools not available on other sites. Assuming you already have a Google+ account set up (more on that later), it is a quick, easy, and valuable move to market your business.
The “Create a page” tab in Google+ asks for basic company information such as name and URL. Whoever creates the page will automatically become its administrator. At present, the option for multiple administrators is not available. This is a handy feature that Facebook business pages already offers; Google has promised support for multiple admins in the near future. To function in the mean time, we strongly suggest that your organization designate a social media manager who can set up and maintain your page.
One downside to the Google+ format is that it does not allow “vanity” URLs. For now, businesses on Google+ are denoted by a long string of numbers rather than a name. It is unknown when or if this will change. However, the overall shaping and navigation of your page is easier to set up on Google+ than other sites. For example, unsatisfied with your page’s name? No problem. You can change it at any time. (However, keep in mind that if your have verified status, changing your page’s name will cause you to lose verification, and you will have to start the process again.)
A pre-existing personal account is needed to set up your business’s page. This doesn’t affect workability, though, as you’ll be able to choose whether to act as yourself or the business page. Businesses can do many of the same things individuals can, such as sharing photos, videos, and links.
Another strong point of Google+ is its policy on following. Pages are allowed to follow people, but only after they’ve been followed first. This eliminates businesses following someone for the sole sake of reciprocity, which can make a site look trashy as well as distancing the business from its true client base.
Another difference from personal accounts is that a business may have multiple Google+ pages. For instance, you could have a page for your overall business (e.g., Hershey’s), another for a new product (e.g., Air Delight), and another for an event (e.g., Chocolate-Covered February). This can be very helpful in clarifying important aspects of your business for potential clients.
Google has Google +1 buttons all over the web. However, a business is not automatically followed within Google+ when one of these is clicked. Instead, businesses pages must be added to a Google+ circle, as is the case for personal pages. The orange “Add to circle” is located in the upper-right of the screen, and clicking on this will enable a person to follow a business page. Businesses do have a use for the +1 buttons, though. Unlike personal pages, business pages have counters that show the total number of +1’s they have accumulated.
Google+ is also offering badges to promote businesses. The badge maker page, at present, only allows you to create an icon for use in linking another site to your Google+ page. Google provides help pages explaining how to link a page here and here. Linking improves relevancy in Google search results. To further this, Google also recommends its new icon, which is available on the badge maker page.
Like any new site, Google+ is working out its kinks with use. Even so, it is proving to be a fresh, fast and manageable way to establish yourself on the web. Any small business can benefit greatly by having a presence on Google+. But like most social networks, it won’t help much if you just create a page and then leave it dormant for months on end. Be sure to start with a game plan already drawn up. Experiment. Analyze. Then repeat the process. If you need help with Google+ or any social media marketing, contact Higher Power SEO today.
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