Google Plus officially launched business Pages this week, after several months of offering only personal Profiles on the social platform. Want to create and optimize a Google Plus Page for your local business? Here’s what you need to know, including the difference between Pages and Profiles, how to set up your Page, how to manage your Page, and how to manage your circles.
Setup Google Plus Local Business Pages
How Pages Differ from Profiles
First and foremost, Google Plus Pages are different from Profiles because they are specifically designed for non-human entities. You can create a Page in the following types of categories: Local Business or Place; Product or Brand; Company, Institution or Organization; Arts, Entertainment or Sports; Other.
Pages are marked by a distinct square-shaped, watermark both on the Page itself and in search results if you are looking for a Page directly. You will also notice on the sidebar of Pages the ability to +1 and share the Page, whereas in a personal Profile, these options aren’t available.
How to Set Up Your Local Business Page
To get started, go to: https://plus.google.com/pages/create. You will need a Google Plus Profile to complete this process. That’s because you will use your personal Profile to manage your Brand Page. Learn more about setting up a personal Profile to promote your local business.
Next, from Create a Page on Google+, you will select your business type. If you are marketing your business to local customers online, you’ll want to select “Local Business or Place” rather than the Product, Brand, or Company options, because those options do not have specific data formats to let you share localized information like your business phone number, address, and hours of operation.
1) Select Your Phone Number: If you’re like many businesses, you may have several phone numbers. The one you want to add here is whichever phone number you have associated with your business’ Google Place Page. This will help increase your number of citations to your Page and is also important for the next step.
2) Select Your Business Place: If your phone number is affiliated with your claimed Google Places Page, your business should show up in the next step, including business address. If it isn’t, you’ll need to add your business to Google, following the dialog boxes provided under the “Not found?” section.
3) Identify Your Business Category: Next, you will select the category for you Page. Make sure to select the best fit for your business type here, because this also tells Google important information about your business.
4) Create Your Page: Once you’ve finalized all this information, you’ll need to agree to the terms and conditions and click “Create.” This will generate your Google Plus Page.
5) Upload Your Page Image: Next, you will want to upload a business profile image. This will require you to crop your image into a square shape, so you may want to request a designer to optimize your image to display in a square area if it is not already.
6) Get the Word Out. At this point, you can share with your personal account’s followers that you have created a Google Plus Page. However, if you choose not to share right now, you will be able to go back in and share your Page from your personal Profile at a later time.
7) Customize Your Page: To customize your business Page, select from top left hand side of your navigation bar the “Profile” icon, which is in the shape of a silhouette surrounded by a circle. Then, click the “About” tab of your profile and select “Edit Profile.” When in edit mode, you will notice a red bar on your profile instructing you to click on different parts of your profile to edit them. Currently, you have the option to optimize the following fields on your Google Plus Page About tab: introduction, hours, website, contact info, and recommended links. Here’s how top optimize these elements of your Page:
A) Add 5 Pictures to Your Page: Start at top of the page and click the section “Add some photos here,” and then upload five photos that best showcase the life of your brand. These will remain on the photo strip of your page until you remove them, so select photos and images that will best showcase the life of your business, like product, location and employee photos or even logos of awards your business has won.
B) Optimize Your Introduction: Start by creating an optimized introduction about your business. Make sure to write it so it best describes your business to readers, and also use your most important local keywords in this copy, hyperlinking one or two important keywords to your business website.
C) Add Business Hours: Next, add in your business hours. Make sure these are consistent with your actual hours of operation, and check that this is updated on your Google Places Page as well.
D) List Your Website: Your business may have a website, as well as a blog, social profiles, and local listings. So, what should you pick for your website listing? For now, your best bet is to be consistent with whatever is listed on your Google Places Page.
E) Link to Relevant Profiles and Sites: On the sidebar of this page, you can add “Recommended Links.” This is where you will want to add your business blog, social profiles, local listings and review sites you want to promote. To optimize each of these, use the following format: “Business Name + Site Name” For example, to link to your business Facebook Page, in the Label section, write “Business Name Twitter,” and then in the next box, list your Page’s unique URL.
Once you are finished, click “Done editing,” which will allow you to use Google Plus as your Page.
How to Manage Your Page
To get to your personal Profile, click on the Google+ icon in the top left corner. You will notice the profile picture and icon of your business Page is displayed at the top of the left sidebar. To toggle to your personal account, click the down arrow and select your personal Profile avatar. Now you are managing Google Plus as your personal account. To toggle back to business, select the down arrow and choose your business Page icon.
How to Manage Your Circles
One big difference between a personal Profile and a business Page on Google Plus is that as a business, you can only add people to your circles if they add you first. So, here are a few tips for managing circles as a business:
1) Promote Your Account Publicly: It’s important to promote your new business Page to all the contacts you have in your personal Profile. Additionally, it’s a great idea to write a blog post about your new Page and share about it on Twitter and Facebook to build a diversified network across all spaces. You can also send an email to customers, clients, and social fans and followers to let them know about your new presence.
2) Circle Back: In order to share your content, you need to have people in your circles. So, it’s a good idea to “circle back” anyone who adds your business on Google Plus. To do this, go to your Circles tab, then click “people who have added you” to discover who you can add.
3) Circle Strategically: In order to get the most out of Google Plus, you want to create specific circles of connections, because you can share content directly with those circles, in addition to posting public updates. You can also view your streams by circles, meaning that you can filter the content that’s shared with you based on who is in different circles. So, consider creating circles that highlight what is important to you, such as: Current Customers, Employees, Fellow Business Owners, Community Pages, Other Followers, etc.
4) Share Circles Wisely: Once you’ve amassed enough people in each of your circles, you can share who is in certain circles with anyone you like, to encourage others to follow those accounts.
Now that you’ve set up and optimized your Google Plus Page, you can start sharing! Stay tuned for part two of our series on Google Plus for Local Business to learn more tips and tricks on sharing content specifically on Google Plus. And, don’t miss our resources on how to use a personal Google Plus Profile to learn more about Google’s new social platform.Have a comment or a question? Let us know! And, make sure to circle us on Google+ to stay up to date with us!