Google’s venture into social media, Google+, is proving an increasingly successful tool for companies to promote their products and services. Largely visual based, the site offers a number of interactive features to help you interact and engage with your customers and clients. This simple guide will tell you how to use Google+ to grow your business, whatever its size or interests.
How to use Google+
Firstly, it’s important to understand how Google+ works so you can utilize its tools to promote your business. Google+ works on the concept of adding friends, family and areas of interest (fashion, celebrities, brands, etc) into circles. You can create as many circles as you like and fit your contacts in to the corresponding circles you have created. For example, if you are interested in cooking you can add applicable contacts into circles you might have created, such as Food or Recipe ideas. The great feature of Google+ is that you can share things that interest you with all your contacts or just those in a certain circle. Therefore, you’re only sharing things with others who also share your interests. Like other social media sites you can also comment on posts and +1 them (Google’s version of “liking”) and these features can be shared with your circles or the public.
As mentioned, Google+ offers many engaging features which help you interact with other users. One of its most popular tools is Hangouts in which users can participate in group chats with a maximum of 10 people. Hangouts are invite only although those participating in the Hangout can also invite others. You can also watch old Hangout videos and post your Hangout to your YouTube channel and website. Google recently added a new element to Google+ with the Communities feature. Promoted as somewhere to create ongoing communication about certain topics, it’s an opportunity for like-minded people to come together to discuss about a particular area.
How you can promote your business
Now that you know a bit more about how Google+ works, it’s time to start using it to promote your business. In its most basic form, Google+ provides an ideal platform to promote your products and services. Because of its focus on visual posts, Google+ users generally post images alongside a brief amount of text, making it an ideal platform to post images related to your business. Ensure you make your posts interesting and engaging so that users will want to +1 your image, increasing your presence and creating a dialogue with your customers.
The Hangout feature takes your interaction with your customers and clients to the next level. Invite your most active followers on Google+ to join you on a Hangout. You could offer giveaways and run competitions or simply just host feedback sessions. Even if you don’t want to interact with your customers in this way, Hangouts are a useful (and free!) tool for client meetings and internal conference calls.
If you’re feeling more savvy with Google+ and want to stretch your social media muscles, then you should consider starting a community. It probably isn’t advisable to start a community based on discussions about your company or brand, because unless your brand has mass global appeal which promotes active conversation, such as Apple or Google itself, as you won’t get many people joining and the conversation is likely to run dry. Instead, create a community which is related to your business but has mass appeal. For example, if you own an Italian restaurant you could create a community in which people discuss Italian food.
Have fun using Google+ and remember to engage and interact with your customers and clients to help grow your business.
Author bio:Sarah Murray works at Appliances Online. When she’s not hanging out on Google+ she enjoys shopping online and exploring historical sites. Follow her life on Twitter.