Get your business on Google+

Though it was only launched at the end of June 2011, Google+ now has around 540 million users, and has grown to become the world's second most popular social networking service after Facebook in terms of userbase.

The rapid expansion of Google+ has been helped by Google’s attempt to
unify all of its products and services.

What is Google+?

Google+ is particularly important for businesses, partly due to the fact that having a Google+ page helps you to administrate your Google Maps – the two tie together. As with all of Google's services, it integrates with everything else. Having a Google+ account also gives you an opportunity to reach the ever growing community on the burgeoning social network – Another platform to reach new customers is never a bad thing. Anyone seeking to increase exposure for their business within a local or global reach should have a Google+ page.

Get to know Google+

Google+ works in much the same way as Facebook. Instead of having a profile as an individual, your business will need a Google+ Page. As is the case with Facebook, Twitter and a multitude of other social networking and online identity services, your Google+ page will be flexible and customisable, and will ultimately provide you with a platform for marketing your website and connecting with new customers.

As with all other social media platforms, people can share your website on their own Google+ profiles and business pages. To facilitate this, you're going to want to have social media sharing buttons to accompany the content of your website. Many content management systems, such as the ever-popular WordPress, provide plug-ins which make adding buttons easy while eliminating the need for any additional coding.

Social media links in footer

How to set up a Google+ Local profile

To facilitate local SEO, your Google+ page may be linked to your physical location once you have claimed your Google Map listing. If you do not have one already, creating and optimising your Google+ page is fairly straightforward, and should not take you more than about half an hour. If you have already claimed your listing on Google Maps, you will not need to verify the location of your business again, and there should already be a Google+ page to begin working with.

Log into your Google account and visit your business listing at https://plus.google.com/dashboard. You can now manage your business page directly from your Google+ dashboard. To begin amending your Google+ page, just hit “Manage this page” at the bottom of your listing (pictured below).

Google+ local properties

Alternatively, to add a new business, visit your Google+ dashboard, and create a Google+ page for your business. Click the "Get your page” button to begin.

Google+ business type

Select the type of page you wish to create, and fill in the forms to set up a profile for your business.


Optimising your Google+ page

Once you have completed the above steps, you will be able to begin customising your Google+ page with your own cover and profile image.

For the profile image, it is best to choose your business logo or any other small image which effectively represents your business. For the cover image, you should choose something which promotes, enhances and draws attention to your page. For the sake of recognition and branding, it is usually highly advisable to keep your Google+ page theme (as well as all of your other social media pages) consistent with your main website. Images can be hosted on a free Google Picasa account (available to anyone with a Google account).

Google+ cover photo

Be sure to fill in your contact information, add a link to your main website, and complete the tagline and introduction fields.

With your Google+ page set up, people will now be able to find it, along with your listing in Google Maps. This allows people to quickly find out more about you, whether they are searching for local businesses using Maps, Google Search, or similar functions on Google Android mobile devices. As is the case with other major social media services, you will also be able to add followers and group followers (into Google+ Circles), provide updates, and communicate directly with your existing and prospective customers.


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