Part 2: Want to know why sales are down? Fifty-Six Reasons for Sales Leakage!
Part 3: Want to know why sales are down? The Last of the Fifty-Six Reasons for Sales Leakage!

Growing Your Biz Presence on #GooglePlus, aka Google+

This is a recap of a Hangout on Air featuring Those4Girls, Stephan Hovnanian, owner of Shovi Websites and SLMA Online Marketing Director, Susan Finch. The discussion covered these points:

  • Why is it important to have a presence specifically on G+?
  • What are the most efficient best practices for your Business Page?
  • What resources are out there to help me build a solid reputation on G+?
  • How do I set myself apart from the crowd in a busy, content filled platform?

NINJA TIP: On all social media venues that have taglines, statements - if you are preparing to attend an event - mention it there, if you are speaking, have a booth - mention it so that when people connect with you ahead of time they know they have the right "YOU."

Stephan has a weekly show: Google+ Business Spotlight - how businesses are using Google+. He's written a couple of books on various topics on Google. Time to make it a bigger part of your web footprint.

 Google+ is one more tool to increase your reach, your authority, your reputation through true engagement. This is a more collaborative environment.

Why is a presence on Google+ important?

Search landscape is changing. What we did 3-5 years ago doesn't work any more. Some industries are heavy with those other practices and thinking, but as the new style of search marketing catches up you'll be ahead of your competitors. This is the initial motivation for many businesses to get on to Google+.  The real benefitis themarketing component to this. The platform really lends itself to telling your story and telling other people. Stephan likens it to silt in a riverbed where the layers steadily build on top of each other for a solid foundation of credibility and authority.

Those fmailiar with PPC, Twitter, FB and other ads - you have to continually feed the beast and start over each day. Each day you make a post on G+, you get indexed, the next day, you have more posts that get indexed. You are creating a lot of extra content that gets indexed in search. It's all done on a subdomain of google.com so the likelihood it will get shot down or penalized is pretty low, compared to other venues. 

This enviroment gives us access to more people and their true thoughts and feelings and methods. We can gather up an entire profile of someone's posts, comments throughout and get a true feeling as to the type of person they are, their needs, their beliefs. It's similar to when you used to visit someone's office. You look around and see their photos, their awards, watch them interact with others - it's a more intimite introduction. You can do the same with their companies. See what the company is saying, how others are interacting with the company. You can see if there is a potential connection or a potential referral. It's distrubing for some people that are used to the facades and masks of traditional online networking. This is a way to build your business through improvement, collaboration - even with competitors - in a more inviting format.

Before the Internet, how did we do it? How did we build that trust and authority? We did it through having a great business, great product and knowing what we are talking about. The past decade or two, it's been difficult to display that knowledge effectively without paying. If you can speak on your topic of expterise, you have an amazing opportunity here to reach people you would have never been able to reach.

Stephan acknowledged that you can feel like a labrat on Google+ sometimes as they are still refining tools and features. It still feels collaborative, we still feel heard because we seem to all be participating in the growth and evolution of the platform.

Here come some valuable tips:

Use your profile and company about pages to provide credible links to evergreen materials. Review them monthly to make sure they continue to be relative to your focus and evolving methods.

"EVERYDAY YOU CREATE CONTENT, YOU GET INDEXED."
- Stephan Hovnanian

Your page is there for subject matter authority. Your personal ties into all of that and that's how you tie into your business.  Don't worry about duplicate content if you post to your business page that you keep topical to your industry - including sharing other people's content. You are creating a lot of semantic authority.

When you are a solo - how much of your content differs on your profile from your page? We build our profiles, segmented by circles and more. My business page doens't have a lot of followers is that you can share your circles from your profile - circles are GROUPS you create with any name you want.  So why have a page? You can get help by adding managers to your page to expand the content and variety of content while maintaining a consistent message for the company.

Some of you may be wondering, how is this different from the Facebook of a couple of years ago - profile - page, build an audience.... WELL, GOOGLE owns Google+ - GOOGLE indexes their content very well. It's not about puppies and kittens, what you drank or over drank last night. This is a perfect place to revisit our manners and interacting and connecting to NEW people, not hunting for the people you knew from elementary school, college and church. This is a place to expand - GROW.

Stephan suggests that you post as YOUR PAGE, then share the post as you to your circles with a more personal spin. 

Here's a common question, "Do you have to have a profile to create a page?" The answer is, "Yes!"

You have to create a page under a profile. You can add managers, transfer ownership as needed. There is also the option to login only as the page to avoid confused or criss-crossed posts - avoid the "oops, wrong profile" moments. The generic page login is VERY handy and as the owner, you can change the password as needed. This allows you to keep things locked down to your team without requiring them to have a Google+ profile, without logging in as themselves or giving out your profile information. 

If you are a B2C, brick and mortar business - it's just as important to be the local resource focusing on that service area. When you also connect and share information without boundaries as it relates to your industry/business, you become a respected resource rather than a miopic small business person that is cut off from the rest of the world and your topic. This is how you become more authoratative. Connections happen everywhere. A CA business may share a wonderful tip that affects someone in MA, and yet they know someone in CA and they tell that friend about your helpful tip and they both begin to follow you and possible do business with you.

How about interviewing, using Hangouts on Air - your strategic partners? Your local favorite businesses. They will share your event, others wll share and seek it out. 

Don't get overwhelmed, start with small pieces - start where you can and then add on as you can.

Those relying on Facebook - it is eroding each week - you are losing your ability to reach and connect with those who follow you and have interest in your business. How about LinkedIn - how do you get to know the overall values, opinions of your potential customers, connections? You cannot without a lot of effort. More and more it's becoming a media venue - a news venue.

Google+ is a long term play. It's not advertising. Relationships are long-term. The landscape is changing. If you are on now, you can start slow, but if you wait two years, you'll be desperately playing catch up and may not be successful.

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