Complete User Guide: Google Plus Pages for business and brands

 

Google+ PagesA load of hints and tips to help make your page creation, building up and even then the management, work like a dream!

Considering Google Plus Pages almost endless applications for business, beyond just building ‘brand’, you will want to hatch a plan in all areas.

As such, the videos cover many of the factors you may like to consider. But to start…

What is Google Plus?

For those that are not aware of it yet, Google+ is Google! Here is a complete overview video that should well explain how the concept of a ‘social layer’ has gone across Google’s products and services.

Reasons a business should  consider Google Plus

Well, here is my Google+ Marketing post that will really help too!

Once you can see that ‘Google+ is Google+, you may like a little convincing as to why every business has a reason to join it now…

You will see many reasons, including getting great search engine results, improving existing advertising spend, connecting to a totally new audience, increasing efficiency and connectivity, and much more…

Once you get into the flow with Google Plus you will see how every business on the planet will connect over the coming years. There are different approaches needed for companies large and small, but all will use the same technology.
Check out a quick video that I did with
Simply Business
 on the subject of Google Pages for small to medium businesses…

Once you start to see how Google Plus is a totally new way of approaching Google, then you may well like to understand how a business will have a ‘Page’.

What then is a Google+ Page?

Putting it simply, a Google+ Page is not a person. On Google+ a person has a ‘Profile’, so everything else from charities, to celebrity fan pages, to businesses of all sizes will have a ‘Page’. With Google+ Pages integrated with so many other aspects of the Google+ experience, it would seem that over the coming years every company, every brand and everyone looking to connect the Google dots will explore setting up such a Page.

Here is a quick video describing the differences…

 

Google+ Pages are very flexible and in a way Google has given us a canvas on which to paint. The systems guide us, but the application is really down to our needs, outcomes and imagination. So time to get out your oils, whip out your brushes or possibly even crayons, and get to work on something Michelangelo, would be happy to manage!

So, “what can you do with them”, I hear you cry? Well, pages can link to your physical location (if you are a business of that type), they can enable content to be managed in new ways, and they can also help get to reach your audience. So, the ‘why’ is really dependent upon what you want to achieve. It could be anything from getting ‘eyeballs’ on your content, internal communication with staff through to communicating with an existing audience in a new way.

How to build a Google Plus Page:

If you want to build a Google+ Page, here is a step-by-step by to show you how. It also contains a lot of handy hints and tips along the way.

 

Essential components:

During this process make sure you do the following steps to link your website and your Google+ Page:
Link you Google Page to your website – this allows you to accumulate +1s
Add in the following button to your site – this enables you to have people ‘opt in’ to your Page and is brilliant for marketing. These two steps are very important to follow for any company or brand – think of it as getting the wheels on the car, ready to get the Page on the road (so to speak).

Get badges for your website here:
https://developers.google.com/+/plugins/badge/

Once you’ve built a Google Plus Page, you will want to start promoting it…

Check out this video to show you ’10 ways to build the audience for your Google+ Page’
In it I will show you a load of hints and tips I’ve successful used to grow pages. So get ready to make some notes and apply what fits to your own Google+ Page!

The content includes:
1. Link your page to your website and include a ‘following’ badge on your site (yes, that important!)
2. You can add in circles, but appears the don’t get notified unless are following you
3. Using principles of circlecentric marketing you can use stepping stones to interactions, adding people in who +1, comment, share and in turn treating them differently
4. You can +theirname anyone into a post and they will be notified (all other things being equal)
Sharing the page
5. Letting people who are in your Profile’s circles know you have a Page
6. You can post appropriate content into a community
7. You can add a Page into appropriate circles (from your profile or your Page itself) and then share them limited or publicly
8. Using hashtags to find people with whom you will relate
9. Once you get a Page’s content onto ‘What’s Hot’ you may find hundreds of people a day will start following it
10. Use Google Express for paid promotion, or the fuller system in Google Adwords
Recap: the importance of the ‘following’ button on your website

Also, you will want to consider Google+ Hangouts (live video streaming)

Hangouts will allow you to stream content live onto YouTube, that in turn will stay viewable for the future.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you have a Google+ Business Page, you can run hangouts from your Google+ Page
  • You can change the content settings and just give access to certain groups, making them feel special (see how to do that in a video HERE)
  • You can the promote the videos, once more, back via your profile as well – and if you have a group working on the Page, you can all share and promote the brand
  • Setting up events and having life hangouts for the Page will also bring it attention BUT you will still need to find an audience so the information in the video is vital – don’t assume people will just find it, although…
  • With YouTube, if you set up the hangout well (once recorded) it could get indexed in Google Search i.e. this will get you more traffic. So, make sure you have a ‘keyword’ orientated title, use hashtags, keywords in text and think about getting captions or a transcript done where appropriate as well.

Promoting a Google Plus Page using Adwords Express

Also there is a very effective an easy method to promoting your Google+ Business Page called ‘Google  Express’. In essence, it is for companies with a physical location who want to promote people within a certain radius. Check out this brief video to learn how to get started:

 

Additional hints and tips for Pages and their content:

A lot of this process is ‘getting your ducks in a row’ and as such, I thought you may like to think about a few other things at the same time.

1. You can use the Page’s content on your website as well. You can do this by e.g. streaming the posts from a page back to a WordPress website using a plug in here: http://www.minimali.se/google+blog/ from +Daniel Treadwell I paid the $10 and it works very well on a WordPress site (but I should point out, I don’t use it right now.)

2. Sharing your Page’s content via your Profile (or members of staff’s profiles) could well help you with search engine listings if you build it into a broader strategy and people are set up with Google Authorship but you will need to have a decent image (head shot) on your Google+ Profile to be eligible.

3. Have a plan of engagement. On Google+ Pages, some people may well comment less on a post from a page than they do from profiles – people so often relate to ‘people’ unless the brand is already known. If you set aside e.g. 2 hours a day to build the Page, then you will can achieve a lot.

4. Some pages will take time to build so be patient!
Some will just fly straight away, of course, but this is a marathon not a sprint so keep it steady and they will build over time.

5. We don’t know what will happen next with custom URLs for Pages (this is when you have www.google.com/+yourbrand/company as an address) but it may well be worthwhile considering your branding as well. Afterall, you wouldn’t want someone else being able to ‘grab it’.

Also know that you can transfer ownership of pages. This could become very interesting for the future if you are looking to build a Brand page that could work well for someone else.

Ongoing Management of a Google+ Page – the 5 ‘M’s

Once you have set up your Google+ Page you will also want to have a think about having managers as well. This is a perfect way to spread the work load and enable people to engage with the process. If you have set up your processes well, management should be straightforward; if you haven’t well, you may well find yourself running around in circles, so to speak.
If the Google+ Page is for a larger company who is using the Page itself to distribute internal communications, then this will be very important to think through; smaller business and people who have set up brands will also benefit from having principles to follow.

1. Manager, or Owner?

There can only be one owner of a page but there can be up to fifty managers (at present.) The owner will have more rights e.g. to delete circles and even the whole page. You will want to consider who should have this responsibility.
Note: managers can delete communities that a Page owns, so be careful to whom you pass responsibility!

2. Message

Have you considered what will be the central purpose of the Google+ Page? If managers know what they are getting involved in, they will be better prepared for their role.
If you make it clear as to the purpose of the page, for instance in the About Us section of the Google+ page, you will find people will probably be better aligned when interacting within it. The ‘frames’ we set create the context, within which one can populate with content. So, consider ‘who is it for’, ‘what would make it a success’ i.e. what is the criteria – number of people who sign up? The engagement through +1s, shares, comments etc. What else?
Also consider the images in the top section of the page – they can often set the mood better than words alone.

For managers, however, you may like to give a verbal/visual brief such as using hangouts if people are not in the same building. This helps ‘lift the level of communication’ as you can screenshare the page whilst discussing responsibilities.

Note: in time, this content is likely to end up ‘on the web’ i.e. in Google Search and be accessible to whoever it was shared with originally (i.e. depending on the circles to which shared). As such, you may want to think through the longer term affects of content ‘hanging around’ once published.

3. Managers

I have been building various Google+ pages and there are many benefits of collaborative working with managers on some projects such as the community of Google +Commoogle page and +StarWarsTuesday as well!
To make this work well, however, you will need to consider good old fashioned delegation/responsibility and how to do it more effectively. As such, you may like to consider the following factors from the outset as it helps to agree on the parameters of their responsibility, for instance:

a) What should the managers be sharing?
Who specifically should they be sharing with e.g. public or certain circles?
Is it appropriate for them to reply to +1 or comments on a post i.e. as a manager the reply would appear to be coming from the ‘page’ itself?
If they do reply from as a manager should they draw attention to which one they happen to be by e.g. adding +name to the post?

b) How many posts should they send out during any given time frame?
You can schedule posts in the future using the Chrome App DoShare.

c) How should they deal with threads untangling into areas that are not appropriate to discuss?
see below

4. Managing circles

You will probably want to decide on a how ‘circles’ will fit into your overall strategy.
You may only be able to add 5000 people into circles, but you can have an enormous amount of differentiation within that 5000 i.e. you may have hundreds of circles relating to different audiences for messages.
This is a powerful tool but needs carefully thinking through as a tactic that feeds into the Google+ page strategy overall.
This is where circlecentric marketing will come in when dealing with people who could ‘buy’ from you. And you will need a more general circle strategy if you are using this Page for internal communication purposes e.g. how should you slice up the pie re: organisational structures and roles.

All in all, you may want to decide who takes on the responsibility of adding people to circles, but this could well be the role of the page owner not a manager. You wouldn’t want to delegate that role to someone who, if disgruntled deletes all the contacts.
Which leads us on…

5. Management not Mayhem

It could be an idea to know what to do when things go wrong.
Who will be, for instance, in charge of editing or deleting messages?
Just as there can be someone with the responsibility of managing circles, you can consider this role as well. Building it explicitly into job descriptions may well save issues later on.

I have worked with Human Resources departments when implementing training and education programs to thousands of people and I have learned one thing – they like ‘order’.
If you are a consultant or looking to implement a Google+ strategy into an organisation, I would suggest you think through as many of these issues prior to a pitch. You will prevent potential dissonance to a ‘new idea’.

Also, as I mentioned, there can be one owner of a page and multiple managers. If someone sets up the page as the owner but then leaves the company, taking their account with them, you could be left with a problem. The owner has far more rights to the page than any manager.
The same principle goes when people use their personal gmail account instead of a company specific gmail account; changing passwords could cause issues as well.

Conclusion.

Pages have such great potential on Google+. They are free, they are simple to set up, they can have great reach, they are flexible, and so on. Their success, by whatever standards you set, will come come to you and each brushstroke you make on the canvas. So, the first step (having read this and watched the videos!) is to step one up. If you already have, great. Next step: promote it, or simply get people from a business involved. From there you can put in place the systems of management. As I said at the title of this post, it is a ‘complete overview’ and as such, I’ve gone into far more depth than just ‘set one up’. This in turn should help you converse some paint as you create your masterpiece on the canvas.