You are a social media machine. You have three weeks worth of posts scheduled for Facebook, 3-5 per day, and every post includes an image or a video, hashtags and great links. You tweet like there is no tomorrow. You have so many pins on Pinterest that you have actually have more gluten-free appetizer recipes on your board than days in the year. Your phone’s battery runs low every day because you are never NOT sharing on Instagram. You are a rock star. Oh except for Google +. You know you need to do something with that but, well, YUCK!!
I feel you. I like to think of Google + as the broccoli of social media. Facebook is OF COURSE, the chocolate cake. Instagram is pizza. Twitter is a nice bowl of M&M’s you keep on your desk for all day snacking. Pinterest is that yummy brunch buffet you love going to. But Google + = Broccoli. That analogy is truer than you know.
Personally, I LOVE broccoli. It’s a masterful vegetable. It turns bright green when you cook it and it has a pleasing crunch. It tastes awesome with cheese. It’s divine in a creamy soup. It’s a great source of fiber. And of course, we all know we need fiber. Fiber means things that go into you come out of you regularly. Google + is an awful lot like broccoli. You put some work and time into your Google + page and you are definitely going to get some good stuff out. (probably best to let that analogy go)
In this case, out is out into the Google-verse. Much like any great brand, Google LOVES it when you use it’s products. In fact, Google rewards those who use Google. Google + is the place where you can throw your broccoli into your big Google stew and throw in a handful of Google Maps and add a big dash of Google My Business and you have a nice bubbling pot of the Google recipe that Google likes to share with folks who are looking for a dish just like yours and Google will serve you up on a nice platter in early search results.
Basic Ingredients for my Google+ Page
- First, you need a Google account. If you don’t already have one of these, you are alone. Everyone has one of these or should. Sign up and you’ll get a gmail account and a Google + page right off the bat. However, unless you REALLY love broccoli, you can skip back to the salad course and claim your business.
- Google My Business is a MUST have for your business. Seriously YOU MUST HAVE IT. For all intents and purposes, Google has replaced your Yellow Pages for local business searches. When you claim and verify your Google My Business listing, you are giving everyone on Google the ability to find your local contact information. The Google Maps part of the recipe helps you get served up to folks who are searching for a business like yours nearby. Once you have claimed your business, Google is going to give you business its very own Google + page. You don’t even have to ask. They are literally handing these out for FREE! You will be asked to verify your business, either via a phone call to your default business phone number or you can be sent a postcard which will have a pin number that you will have to enter to ensure you Google+ verification in a few days.
- Now you are really cooking. Spend a little time optimizing your Google+ page. Set up a nice header photo and profile image, very much like you do with your Facebook page. Try to engage with other users by following them, adding them to your circles liking their posts, etc. Its a lot like Facebook, but not really. Add some nice photos of your business.
- Google+ is actually popular with some folks. Really. It is true.
So now you need to add a couple of Google only secret ingredients. The ones that will help you make that special sauce:
- Create or hook up your existing YouTube account to your Google+ page. YouTube is another one of those Google brands. Make sure you optimize all of your videos with solid keywords and use your brand hashtag and keyword hashtags.
- Create posts on Google+. Try to post with some sort of regularity on your Google+ page. Use a scheduler like Hootsuite or Buffer, which both offer free versions and schedule your posts across multiple platforms at the same time.
- REVIEWS. Ok, if you leave this ingredient out, you are going to have a plate of mush that no one is going to want to eat or EVER see. Once you have your Google all in a row, invite your customers, friends, acquaintances, mail-persons, family and distant family member, EVERYONE to leave you reviews on Google. They will be able to do this directly in the search results or on your Google + page. Reviews increase the authority of your Google+ page and increase the likelihood of ranking well in the local search carousel.
- Don’t let your reviews just sit there on top of the pot. Give them a nice stir by engaging with the review, whether it be good or bad.
- Make sure to put a Google+ icon linking to your page with your other social media icons. Don’t have social media icons linking out from your website? Put the oven on warm and run to the store right this minute and get those linked icons!
- Google Hangouts is a great FREE video chat/conference service that even allows you to share screens so you can conduct meetings or just video chat with your friends and family. Once you set up your Google account, you get the Hangout all you want.
- Google Photos – basically free cloud storage for your pics
- Google Trends – see what’s hot on the world wide web
- Gmail – Free. Pretty much unlimited storage. Why aren’t you using this?
- Google Maps – Do you really know where you’re going? ‘Nuff said.
- ALMOST ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO KNOW/SEE/FIND – Google it and Google will likely have a Google something for it.