The following is a guest article by Sharon Shapiro.
Social media is an essential marketing tool for any business these days, and as of recently a new Google-powered social network has entered the scene.
Google+, which recently became available to Google Apps users, allows businesses to create pages. Through this social network, your business can easily promote itself, share content with others, and track your social media progress. The ability to improve your communication and collaboration with customers sets Google+ apart as the premier social network for businesses.
There are a number of easy ways to promote your business, and have others do some promotion too, on Google+. The first of these promotional tools involves notifying visitors to your company website of your presence on Google+. You can accomplish this with one of two tools: the Google+ badge or Google+ icon. With the Google+ badge, people can add your business’ Google+ page to their circles without having to leave your website. On the other hand, when people click on the Google+ icon they will be taken directly to your Google+ page. And for those who are already aware of your presence on Google+, the new direct connect tool on Google makes finding your business’ page simple. Beyond these self promotional tools, Google+ has features in place that help customers do some marketing for you, as well. This mainly comes into play when people +1 your business. Now, you can connect all of the +1s your business receives for its Google+ page, website, and advertisements. This connection is an important promotional tool because when people do a Google search for your business they will be able to see all of your +1s, including exactly who and how many people have +1’d your business. This +1 presence is a great word-of-mouth promotional tool because it allows potential customers to see the number and type of people who support your business. Thus, the +1 visual serves as a recommendation for your business to potential customers.
Once you bring people into your business’ Google+ page, it’s important to keep them there. You can accomplish this through sharing with the stream, circles, and hangouts. The stream on Google+ enables your business to share a variety of content with your followers. This content, which can be videos, text, or photos, can be shared publicly or with designated circles. Circles is a feature that is unique to the Google+ social network. With circles, your business can group people into specific categories. Such grouping can be useful when you have a message you don’t want to share with everyone, but rather with only a certain demographic or type of customer. Examples of how businesses can use the circles tool is to group customers by location or by the products or services they have previously purchased. Yet another sharing tool on Google+ is hangouts. This feature will not only help your business communicate with others, but also improve on your collaboration capabilities. With hangouts, your business can hold a video chat with multiple people on Google+, share screens, and collaborate in real-time with Google Docs. This tool allows you to communicate with people remotely but gives the feeling as though you are all in the same room.
Another important part of marketing your business through a social media platform is tracking your progress. When your business has a Google+ page, this tracking can be done through ripples and analytics. Ripples is a tool that allows you to follow the progress of the information your business shares on Google+. Specifically, you can track where it is going and the impact it is making by viewing who is sharing this content and who is paying attention. This tool is useful in deciding how to best market your business through Google+. By keeping track of information on ripples, you can discern the best type of information to share with customers and with whom to share it to improve your business’ reach on the social network. In addition to ripples, your business can use analytics to keep track of the activity on your Google+ page and the +1s for your business.
The wide variety of promotional tools and sharing features, along with the ease of tracking the progress of your efforts, makes Google+ a key social media platform for any business looking to market itself on a social network.
This blog post was written by Sharon Shapiro from Cloud Sherpas. Cloud Sherpas is a leading Google Apps cloud service provider. As a Google Apps Authorized Reseller and Google Enterprise partner, we have migrated over one million users across all major industries from legacy, on-premise messaging systems to Google Apps, helping organizations adopt cloud computing to innovate and dramatically reduce their IT expenses. Get to know our company by checking out our Google+ page at cloudsherpas.com/plus.
Image by ChethStudios