Chances are you’ve probably heard of Google+ – Google’s answer to Facebook that emerged over a year ago. And maybe like me, you’ve been avoiding it. You’ve got a Facebook Business Page and a Twitter account – isn’t that enough? How is a small business owner supposed to keep up with all the existing and emerging social networks AND run a business? Its a question I have yet to find an answer for – at least one that I am pleased with. There are so many social media sites competing for our “screen time” – that its easy to get overwhelmed and end up at the end of the day with less time to do the things we really WANT to do. I personally want to “live” my life vs. telling everyone else about it. But that’s just me.
All that being said, I do see value in participating in Google+ if you are authoring web content (such as on a blog) or if you own a business. Since I fit into both of those categories, I spent my 4th of July creating my personal Google+ profile and creating a Google+ business page. )o; One of the main reasons to participate with Google+ is its strong tie to search and since I’m all about search engine optimization, there’s just no avoiding Google+ any longer for me, anyway. Dang! I bet the fireworks and festivities were fun.
Google+ has about 100 million users and its influence is growing rapidly. While those numbers aren’t nearly as impressive as Facebook’s 900 million users, because its “Google” you can bet over time it will become a force to be reckoned with. From what I’ve noticed on my Google searches in the past few months and from watching others in the industry who have jumped on the Bandwagon already , it is apparent that participating on Google+ can have a positive impact on your content in the search results. And while I am opposed to the idea of Google filtering my search results based on what THEY think I want to see, I am reluctantly giving in and “jumping on the wagon” based on the benefits I can realize for sharing my blog content to an even wider audience. Ok Google, you twisted my arm.
I found the process of setting up my own profile and business page fairly straightforward, its quite similar really to Facebook Business Pages. Be sure to upload your profile pics for both yourself personally and your business and create a “cover photo” for each as well. I already had the +1 (similar to Facebook’s “Like” button) icon on all my blogs posts (I use a WordPress plugin called Sociable) so that users can share my content on their profiles and I added the “Follow me on Google+” icon and links throughout my site with my other social network links. I did like the fact that the business page allowed me to upload custom links to whatever content I wanted to highlight on my site or others, so I used those links to share direct links to some of my most useful and popular blog posts.
If you want a step by step guide to creating your own Google+ Business Page as well as suggestions and tips on how to use this social media tool effectively, I recommend that you head over to Hub Spot and download their free pdf here.
Here’s a video from Google+ that you might also find helpful.
And when all else fails consult the Google+ Help Center here...
I will plan on posting more articles on how to use Google + as I get more familiar with it. In the meantime, if you create a Google+ account be sure to connect with me on Google+ so I can follow you as well. Good luck!