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6 Essential Google+ Features for Marketing Your Business Online [with useful Infographic]

Use Circles (point #3) to segment your customers based on demographics.

Editor’s note: My favorite description about Google+ was at SEOmoz‘s 2011 MOZcon conference, where Kristy Bolsinger referred to it as a 3rd sock. “I already have 2 good socks (Twitter and Facebook) – I don’t need another one!”. I’m starting to come around though and see that it’s going to finally be the Google app that helps shape the social web’s future. So listen up and get on board. Quickly.

The Infographic is at the bottom…

When Google unveiled brand pages on its Google+ social network, detractors argued that Google+ will never compete with Facebook, but it’s showing that it can offer a serious alternative social channel to share content, build links and connect with customers.

Here are a 6 tips to jump start your Google+ business marketing campaigns…

« Favour: Before you leave – click that wee Google +1 button on the left – it’ll be like art imitating life :)

1. Google+ Brand Pages

Mashable offers a useful step-by-step tutorial for creating a Google+ brand page if you haven’t already done so. And speaking of Mashable, they’ve wasted no time getting their sharp-looking brand page published:

Mashable’s roundup of the top ten Google+ brand pages is a good place to search for inspiration. If you’re not convinced of the importance of early adoption, the article points out that Coca-Cola, a brand with one of the largest Facebook followings, was slow to create its Google+ brand page. America’s favorite cola has since stepped up with its own brand page, but it lagged behind competitors in building an audience on Google+.

Google+ is offering some cool analytics features that allow brands to quickly see how viral their content is. For example, you can check out the “Ripple” effect to view who is sharing your content, how influential they are and who is in their network. Once you’ve identified influencers who are sharing your stuff, you can add them to your own circles and start communicating with them.

Other Google+ brand page features:

  • Quickly share your brand page with anyone in your network (including email contacts), even if they don’t have a Google+ account.
  • Code (to embed in your website) that connects your business website to your Google+ brand page, even including analytics illustrating the relationship between the two.
  • Creative kit to help you move photos and images from your profile to your brand page, so you can easily spice up your page.


  • Pages can’t add people until a person adds a page first.
  • Pages can’t share to extended circles.

2. The Google +1 Button

The plus-one button appears on brand pages automatically, and it’s a quick and painless way for customers and prospects to recommend your business. How much easier can it get than a simple click? To maximize your results, encourage customers to plus-one your page or your website. You can go so far as to offer them a discount or free product if they do so. Even better: If you’ve written an extremely popular blog post that earns hundreds of +1s, Google search users can quickly see the popularity of the article and are more apt to click on your link.

The +1 button also appears in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), meaning that any internet user can immediately give your website, blog or social profile a thumbs-up with a single click. SEODesk.org reports that Google has confirmed that the plus-one button will affect search rankings. How, exactly, is up for interpretation. According to the article, Google execs will be analyzing plus-one usage and how it’s impacting website rankings, but it’s safe to assume that the more plus-ones your website has, the more your readers are indicating that your content is useful: A key indicator for Google as it seeks to show the most relevant and helpful results.

Finally, you’ll want to add the plus-one button alongside your other social sharing buttons that appear on static web pages and blog posts. You can do this easily using a free service such as AddThis, or you can get the code directly from Google and insert it into a WordPress widget area or anywhere on your site you want it to appear.

3. Google+ Circles

Circles are a convenient way to organize contacts by interest or other segment. For marketers, this is a highly effective way to target messages that are geared to specific consumer groups. For example, if your business offers multiple products or services, you can send a message or announcement to those contacts who have expressed an interest in a certain area, without alienating those that are interested in other aspects of your service.

4. Sharing Photos, Graphs and Charts for Visual Appeal

Any search on Google+ will reveal that images are extremely popular. Images, such as infographics, are user-friendly because they convey complex information in an easy-to-understand format. Who wants to read 2,000 words when a quick glance at a graphic will provide the same level of understanding?

5. The Recommended Links Feature

One useful feature that makes Google+ stand out from the social competition is the recommended links feature. This component, available under the “About” section on a Google+ brand page, allows you to add important links directing users to relevant pages on your website. It’s a useful way to encourage click-throughs to landing pages or helpful articles.

6. Google+ Hangouts

Yet another standout feature of Google+ is the hangouts option. This is a powerful tool for videoconferencing, holding meetings, solving customer service concerns and even hosting group chats or workshops. Another plus: You can see who was present after the event, so you can provide targeted follow-ups to current or prospective customers.

The Challenge

Nearly all good things come with a catch, and Google+ is no exception. Similar to Facebook, the biggest challenge users encounter is building a network of followers. That said, finding your audience can be tough because Pages can’t add individuals to circles without the individual user adding the page first. In other words, the individual audience members must find you first, before you can engage them.

The solution? Promote your Google+ page as often as you can on your other social networks and through your website and blog. And make sure current followers in your network are sharing your content. Add other relevant pages to your circles. Invite current business contacts to add your brand page. Offer an exclusive deal to new prospects who add your page. There’s no turn-key solution to develop an audience on any social network, but those who leverage their other marketing expertise and channels will have the greatest success on Google+.

The best thing about Google+ is its connection to the Google search engine. Google, which has long been the holy grail of SEO, is using information and statistics obtained from Google+ to affect search results. So using the platform to the fullest advantage will absolutely benefit your SEO campaign.

BONUS – Google+ Infographic: Who’s Using Google Plus?

Infographic by TopRank – How do these stats align with your target demographic?

Let us know in the comments how you’re using Google+ and if you think it’s a 3rd sock or not…

And remember to click the Google +1 button at the top, It’ll be a great test of it’s effectiveness – and Oli will give you a free hug if you meet him :)

What to read next: 7 Google+ Tricks That I Know and You Don’t…

Angela Stringfellow

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About Angela Stringfellow
Angela Stringfellow has spent the last few years of corporate life working in marketing management in the healthcare industry before transitioning her real-world marketing experience to the web. For the past several years, Angela has worked as a consultant with businesses small and large to build comprehensive social media campaigns, blogging and editorial strategies and enhance overall brand reputation and media presence, with a primary focus on Web 2.0 technologies and content marketing.
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  1. web designer meath

    Hey Angela,
    I added google plus pages for the businesses I do work for as a given but haven’t given it close to as much attention as I should based on your article. Tks.

  2. Anthony

    I’ve signed up to Google+ only yesterday and I can see myself struggling to find my friends. I know that the majority of my friends use and love Facebook/Twitter. I can’t see Google+ growing anywhere near as big as Facebook with regards to networking with friends so I think it’s a 3rd sock in that respect.
    I can however see it growing pretty swiftly for businesses. With the +1 appearing in the SERPS I think businesses should definitely consider creating a Google+ page and taking advantage of this social metric. Like you say though, pages can’t add people until a person adds a page first. I can imagine it taking a long time to build up a following even with promoting the page through other social media profiles.
    On the whole, I do like the look, feel and usability of Google+, so I for one will be looking to utilise it :)
    Great post Angela. Really easy to read and it has definitely gave me a better understanding about Google+

    • Angela Stringfellow

      Hey Anthony,

      I’ve definitely found that finding friends on Google+ is more of a challenge than it is on comparable social sites like Facebook. I think the issue here is the wide adoption of G+ (out of necessity) by brands, but not so much by individual users. However, I do think G+ has tremendous potential with a few great tools that FB doesn’t offer. Friend me! https://plus.google.com/103286496633770933906/posts and we’ll get the party started! :)

  3. web designer meath

    and I like your plug for +1’ing this page – I did so!

  4. Well researched content, very useful tips and tricks. | NevilleHobson.eu

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  9. Kannan

    Awesome information!

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  12. Plumber in Malton

    I’ve started today to build my Google+ but decided I better get some tips and have found this article to be really useful. Have bookmarked it. Thank you.

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  14. Julian Deverell

    Google+ may have suffered stuff competition from Facebook and Twitter when it started, but that did not stop it from becoming popular amongst some people and businesses. Social media and video content are two ways that businesses are leveraging on online content to boost sales. Google+ has the Hangout, which is great for companies to interact directly with customers to provide support and collect feedback.

    • Angela Stringfellow

      Google capitalized on its search prowess…and rightfully so! While Google Buzz was a flop, they played their cards right this time around. And you’re right, video content is essential today, and G+ provides an optimal platform for doing so easily, especially with its YouTube integration.

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  16. Tanya Smith Lorenz

    Great article – thanks for demystifying some of the Google+ features. I agree that the biggest challenge for businesses is going to be encouraging the normal man/woman on the street to adopt another social network, in order to build their followers. Let’s hope Google itself gives us help to do this (advertising the social side of it more to regular consumers perhaps) because the search benefits for businesses are certainly massive!

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