Google+ For Businesses: Should You Hold Off Joining?
Last week I encouraged you to join in on Google+. If you have and dabbled in it a bit, you may be wondering how it can help you with business since the emphasis right now seems to be on personal connecting.
You aren’t mistaken. Google+ is, for the time being at least, discouraging businesses and brands from participating, but not for long. Although no date has been set, they promise they will start offering business profiles by year end.
The good news is that you aren’t currently prohibited from joining as a business even if it’s not designed for such use just yet. I still think there’s a definite benefit to checking what this platform is all about since I anticipate this will be a serious competitor to Facebook Pages.
Here’s what you can do now:
If you get an invitation from someone, don’t wait until Google officially rolls out branded profiles to create your detailed personal profile and start connecting. At the moment there are 20 million members on Google+ and it’s growing bigger every day.
As Chris Brogan, president of Human Business Works, an online education and community company for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, recommends in a recent interview, “If you do start participating now, you’ll have an advantage when it comes to “understanding the platform and how to interact with people.”
One of those ways is setting up and organizing your connections in your Circles.
Circles lets you sort your contacts into specific categories, i.e., your parents from your college friends, or business associates from your softball teammates. Then when you post, you can select who will see them.
These act like the Facebook newsfeed, with some features similar to Twitter. But unlike Twitter, you aren’t limited to 140 characters. Your comments are threaded under the original post, like in Facebook.
Fill In Your Details
Before you start using Google+, be sure to fill out your profile in detail. Go ahead and include your title with your company, contact information and a description of your business. You can also include details such as hours of operation and special promotions. You aren’t limited in space like in Twitter. Make sure you include information on why and how a potential client should work with you.
Start Connecting And Sharing
Once you set up your profile, start searching for people to connect with and who you feel will add value to your business. Look for prospects, vendors, current clients as well as thought leaders in your industry. Use a third-party site called FindPeopleOnPlus.com where you can look for contacts based on various demographic information that matches your business and the products or service you provide.
Once you connect with people you think are interesting or useful to your business needs, see who they are following in their “circles” By the way, this is a great idea to use on all social media sites.
Once you have some contacts in your circles, start sharing your content. Sparks is a wonderful Google+ feature that collects articles and videos that might be of interest to you and your business and is very easy to use. This feature also enables you to link up with others who share your interests so you can tailor posts and send them to specific groups.
Additional features to get to know that will be incredibly beneficial to businesses and entrepreneurs is Hangouts, where you can start on-screen gatherings and chat live with your contacts and for smartphone users, and Huddles, where you can stay in touch with contacts while on-the-go via group messaging.
So, will you use Google+ when it opens for business? Need an invitation to join? Leave a comment and let us know.
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