“What? What’s that you say? I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.” That may have been what Google+ users were saying before, but not now. When Google allowed businesses to create business profiles on their shiny new social network, called Google+ Pages, business owners and marketers were excited to get started and many jumped at the chance. Many more, though, were disappointed to find out that, unlike personal accounts, Pages cannot circle other users unless they’ve been circled first. On both Twitter and Google+, the only time you see content from someone else is when you follow or circle them. On Twitter, an easy way to gain more followers is to “follow first” in the hope that they will follow you back and you will be able to engage them. Businesses on Google+ could not circle people first, making fan growth slow and far more challenging.
Now, however, all that has changed. Google has quietly allowed businesses with a Google+ Page to begin engaging other users even if they haven’t been circled first.
If you have a Google+ Page for your business, you can now log in, use Google+ as your page, and not only circle users, but also +1 and comment on other posts! This represents a tremendous opportunity for businesses to engage and interact with ALL Google+ users. When coupled with the recent addition of Google+ Communities, this update makes Google+ poised to rival LinkedIn as the unquestionable King of social networks for businesses in 2013.
How To Leverage Google+ Pages
So, what should you do now? The best place to start is in the new Communities. If you haven’t yet joined any communities with your Google+ Page, do so now. Look for communities that focus on your industry and/or target market. There are several communities specifically for small businesses like Content Marketing for Small Business or Growing a Company, for instance, that might be applicable to most B2B businesses. You can go to the Communities page and see some recommendations and search for more as well.
Once you’ve joined a number of communities, it’s time to participate. Participate does NOT mean spam your greatest products or services. You should introduce yourself, and then watch for posts and questions from other members where you can contribute a meaningful response. Include links to your own website only if appropriate.
As part of your content marketing strategy, share content you’ve written on your website in an appropriate community, but try to include some additional commentary or information to help introduce the link. Ask questions. Also, be sure to note that some Google+ Communities have sub-groups for specific discussions, so file your posts and comments accordingly.
Be sure to +1 great comments and posts, and circle other users that you wish to engage further.
Unfortunately, at this time, Google still has not yet updated their iPhone app to support easily switching back and forth between your personal account and your business page, so I have gotten into the habit of using my iPad for my business page most of the time.
How do you like this update? Do you think it will be great for businesses, or just create more noise and distractions for other users?