Have you started to explore Google+? Are you trying to figure out how you can market your business using this new platform?
Well Google+ promises to improve online user-experience by combining several innovative features such as video chats, conversation streams, customized search feeds and much more. However all these features may also be a little confusing when you first sign up.
I’ve been playing around on Google+ and have made some interesting discoveries which I’d like to share with you. If you’re just starting out, you may find them useful in marketing your business.
Create your Google+ Vanity URL
A vanity URL is much easier to remember when you want to send your friends an invitation to connect on Google+. Go to http://www.gplus.to/ and follow the 2-step instructions to grab your vanity URL.
All you have to do is enter the ‘nick name‘ or username that you want to go by. Then go back to Google+ and on the ‘Posts’ page grab the string of numbers associated with your profile. Copy and paste those numbers to the field that says, ‘Your Google+ ID’ as shown in the image below. (**double click to enlarge all images)
For example mine is www.gplus.to/predsicker (add me to your circles!). Just keep in mind that your username or ‘nickname’ is just a pointer – Once you’re on Google+ it will instantly redirect to the string of awkward numbers that were originally assigned to your profile.
Creative Profile Tag Line
Use the tag line to reveal something interesting about yourself. Of course you could say that you’re the CEO of XYZ Company – nothing wrong with that (boring!).
But for the purpose of engagement and relationship building, I think it’s more likely that people will add you to their circles if you have an interesting tag line such as this one by Chris Brogan:
To the right of your profile (on the ‘About’ page) there’s a column in which you can add as many links to your other social networks as you like.
What I discovered is that when you’re in edit mode, each link has a space above it where you can enter information to describe the link. Take a look:
I’m no SEO expert, but I suspect that you could use that space to optimize each link by adding relevant key words. So rather than just saying ‘my blog’ you could say “personal branding expert” or “wine expert” or something like that.
Use Google Sparks to Share Content
Google Sparks is a nifty resource that collects user-specific content and allows you to share it with others . It’s just like Google Reader – you select a subject that is interesting and relevant to you (e.g. wine) and then save it to your ‘Sparks’. Later on you can come back, review all the content within your chosen subject and share it with others in your circles.
Content curators (aren’t we all?) will enjoy this feature because it is a fun and easy way to organize and share relevant industry content from anywhere across the web.
Comment, Share and “+1” other people’s content
Building strong relationships within your circles is not just about publishing content that is interesting to you. It’s equally important to participate in other people’s conversations as well.
If someone in your cirlce posts an interesting article, go ahead and comment, give it a +1 (similar to Facebook’s ‘Like’) and/or share it with others. They will appreciate your interaction and will likely reciprocate when you post an interesting article! It’s all about being a good neighbor.
Open to Search
Be sure to open your profile to search. I can’t imagine what could be worse than having a Google-driven social platform, only to hide your profile (and your content) by making it invisible to search engines. So at the very bottom of your search profile where it says “Search Visibility”, be sure to check off “Help others find my profile in search results.”
Converse, Connect and Research
Google+ is like a brand new playground waiting to be explored. Even though this network is growing crazy fast (there are now 18 million users on Google+) I believe that the early adopters will reap the benefits of knowing what’s in there and sharing it with others (just like I’m doing in this blog post).
So be sure to connect with like-minded people, engage in interesting conversations and figure out what resourceful things you can do to promote your brand. For example take a look at how Rachel Happe is using ‘Hangouts’ to research, connect and create opportunities for others:
There’s much, much more to learn and discover about Google+. I will continue to explore and share my findings with you. In the meantime, if you’re still NOT on Google+ and would like to be, please leave a comment below stating as much and I’ll quickly send you an invite.
If you are on Google+, what other methods are you using to market your business?
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