The fact is, not every business needs to be on every social networking platform. If you deal primarily with white collar professionals, you’re probably not missing out by lacking a Tumblr page. In fact, it’s possible to project an off-putting air of desperation by clogging up your business’s web presence with a dozen or more social media badges — and you may overtax your resources by trying to make regular updates to Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare — well, the list goes on.
The first step, then, is understanding both your target audience and the user base of the social network in question. Rather than desperation, you want to project the cool, professional certainty that you understand both yourself and your market.
The user base of Google Plus is generally tech-oriented and professional. Bloggers, coders, folks who spend a lot of time thinking about SEO. Many Google Plus users migrated there out of frustration with Facebook, unsatisfied with Facebook’s privacy practice or UI consistency but still desiring the sort of large-scale social media infrastructure that a large company like Google can provide. It’s a generally urban crowd, typically aged between their mid-twenties and forties.
If this sounds like your target audience — or part of that audience — then a Google Plus presence could make sense for your business. So what’s next?
Head to the Google Plus for Business page and either sign in with your existing Google account or create a new one.
Select your category
Next, Google will ask you to choose a Category. If you’re a small or place-based business — a restaurant, winery, or bookstore — choose “Local Business or Place.” If you’re promoting a chain, brand, agency, or widely distributed product, select “Product or Brand.”
Pick a good image
You’ll be prompted to enter a Page name, website, business sub-category (“food,” for example), and a 10-word-or-less tagline. You’ll also have the option to upload a profile photo, which you should absolutely do. Take care with your choice of picture, though — this is going to be the defining visual element of your Google Plus presence, and like a book’s cover, it will instantly inform your viewers’ perception of the business.
Add people to Circles
Google Plus organizes your contacts according to “Circles,” which may overlap or stand separately. As an individual, you might have separate Circles for friends and family, so you can post only the most relevant updates to each. As a business owner, the default Circles are “Customers,” “VIPs,” and “Team members” (and of course, you’re free to create new Circles). Go ahead and start adding friends, employees, and close associates — people who will expect the invitation and help you spread the word.
Your social media presence needs to demonstrate that you’re actively engaged with your audience — if you barely use it, viewers may find you passive or apathetic. Post regular updates on your products, services, or specials. Consider ways you can use unique features of Google Plus like Hangouts — a group video-chatting platform. Answer questions and respond to feedback.And of course, when people follow your updates, make sure to add them to your Circles!
About the author: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at GoCollege.com, where recently she’s been researching writing scholarships and subsidized loans. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing and hogging her boyfriend’s PlayStation 3. To keep her sanity she enjoys practicing martial arts and bringing home abandon animals.