Amid the popularity of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it's easy to forget about Google+. But while Google's platform may not have as much traffic as Facebook, neglecting the social media site that's owned by the search engine giant will negatively impact the traffic to your website. Google, of course, uses the information businesses put into their Google+ profile in their search engine rankings in more ways than one. So how do you grow your business using Google+ while still leaving time for other social media platforms and, well, actually running a business? By focusing on these five key elements, you can start growing your business with Google+ without feeling overwhelmed.
Choose the right business type
The first step to growing your business with Google+ is actually starting a business page — but the most important thing to remember here is to choose the right type of page. After you head to www.google.com/business, you'll be prompted to choose from storefront, service area or brand. If you own a brick and motor location, you must choose either storefront or service. Setting up a storefront or service page with an address will allow your business to show up on Google Maps — that's a big benefit from something that only takes a few minutes to set up. If you don't have a physical location, you should still set up a page, just use the brand option instead.
Add essentials like location and images
Ever see a sidebar on the right side of a search result with all the details of the business you searched for? To get that information to pop up for your business, you need to have a verified Google+ page, but then, of course, you'll also need to make sure the information is on your Google+ page. Make sure your address and contact information is there. Pictures also make a big impact, even just a quick snapshot of the exterior of your building can help.
Link to your website
Once you have your Google+ profile set up with all the basic details, there's one more essential to use it to boost your search engine rankings—link your profile to your website. There are just five steps to do so (Google explains them here). As an added bonus, linking the two will also send Google+ followers to your website directly from the social media platform.
Target and grow your Google+ audience
The first three key steps are one-time tasks; these last two should be a part of your regular social media marketing. Google+ is unique in that you can reach out to followers first—unlike, Facebook, where fans have to come to you first. Tag people in your posts, and take advantage of hashtags. Search for people and businesses with similar interests and add them to your circles—many of them will add you back.
Google 1+s (similar to a “like” on Facebook) can have a big impact on search engine rankings—more so than similar engagement from other platforms. Encourage both your Google+ followers and visitors to your website to 1+ your pages. Here are a few strategies:
- Add a 1+ button to each page on your website, making it easy for visitors to use. Many website builders have widgets to quickly add a button or you can use the HTML method.
- Share links on Google+, along with an interesting statement or image. (Don't post just a link with anything else).
- Encourage engagement by posting relevant, interesting information. Instead of posts that say “buy this,” share useful information. Build a relationship now, and they'll feel they can trust you enough to become a customer later.
Google+ is different from all the other social media platforms out there—but as the platform from the biggest search engine, it's essential to increase traffic to your online store. Start by taking a few minutes to build a profile and connect it to your website, then build an audience and engage and encourage 1+s as you go.