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Alexandra Wasiuk
Alexandra Wasiuk 23 October 2015
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The Essential Guide To Using G+ For Business

An essential guide that will walk you through all the features Google+ and why your business should be using it.

Google+ has been around since June 2011, but it remains one of the social media platforms that not many of us know how to use or why we should use it; we just know that Google owns it so we ought to use it.



In this article we will endeavour to answer all your questions and provide you with an essential guide that will walk you through all the features Google+ and why your business should be using it. We will show you what G+ has to offer and what the benefits are for using this platform.

Before we begin, many of us will have a G+ account without even knowing it. A basic Google Plus account is opened automatically with you set up a Gmail account.  You should be able to log into your G+ account using the same username and password as your mail account.  If you don’t have a Google account set up yet, head over to Google Mail now.

This Essential Guide to G+ for business will cover:

  • Newsfeeds
  • Circles
  • Profile Pages
  • Collections
  • Postings
  • Communities
  • Hangouts
  • Business Pages


The Newsfeed

The first thing you will see when you log into your G+ account at plus.google.com is your Newsfeed.  Just like Facebook and Twitter this is the page where you will see the stream of activity, updates and shared content from the people and communities (we will go into more detail on communities further on in the piece) that you follow on G+.  You can return to this page from any page you are on by clicking the “Home” button at the top left of the screen.

Julie DeNeen from Fabulous Blogging explains the Google+ menu bar and what each feature means. She gives the following snapshot:

  • HOME = Your newsfeed (i.e. what people are posting)
  • PROFILE =  What people see when they are coming to check you out
  • PEOPLE = Where you can see people that are on G+ to follow as well as those who follow you
  • PHOTOS = All the photos you’ve uploaded (either through your phone or into status updates)
  • COMMUNITIES = This is where you gather to chat with people about a specific topic.
  • HANGOUTS = These are live video on-air broadcasts or private video hangouts. More later.
  • PAGES = If you have a business or a brand, you can create a page and access it from here. It is also where you can find other pages to connect and follow.
  • LOCAL = This is connected to your location and shows you relevant businesses that you can check out and/or review.
  • SETTINGS = Where you manage your notifications, privacy, circles, etc.


Circles

Circles are a great little feature on Google+, they allow you organise your contacts into different groups A.K.A circles. This means that from your Newsfeed you can choose to filter the news stories by different circles and only see posts from individual circles, e.g. Family.

Circles are fluid, which means that you can create as many circles as you like, merge them, delete them and add people to multiple groups.

Circles are also a great way to segment your followers when it comes to posting content and updates. G+ will give you the option to send your post to your circles (you can choose as many as you like) or share it publicly to all of your contacts.  If we take a company created piece of content as an example and share it on G+ we might choose to send it to the people in our “Social Media” Circle rather than sending it publicly, as this may not be something that your friends and family will want to read.

Circles are a real plus point for using Google Plus, and definitely a tip we advice businesses to use, as you are able to target your content to specific groups of people that you know will be interested in your piece. i.e. customers, suppliers, prospects.

To get to your circles click on the menu bar on the top left of the screen and click on “People” and then “Your Circles”. Here you can move people to different circles, create new circles, and see who you currently have in your circles.

Learn more about the advantages of your Circles to segment your contacts by watching this how-to video from Google.

 

 

 Profile

Just like all the other social media platforms, you have your own profile page on Google+ too. This is much like the profile you create on Facebook and Twitter with a profile picture and a cover image. There are also a bunch of different tabs on your profile like, Posts, Collections, Photos, +1s (things you’ve liked), YouTube and Google Reviews.

If you have a YouTube channel the videos that you post on your channel will be shown on the YouTube tab on your profile.

Find out the other neat features that are available on your profile page, from setting up your profile to restricting who sees your personal information.

 

 


Collections

Collections are the newest feature to be added to your G+ profile.  Collections allow you to group your posts into specific topics. It is a way of organising your posts into themes that you can then share publicly, privately or to a custom set of people.  By clicking on the “Collections” tab people can view your collections and follow them and you can see what collections you are following. We think this new feature is really neat as it brings people that are looking for specific information and themes together.

This post from Plus Your Business has written a step-by-step guide showing you exactly how to set up collections and search for new collections for business use.

Posting on G+

Posting on G+ is relatively straightforward and very similar to posting on other social platforms.  You can create a new post from your Newsfeed or from the “Post” tab on your profile.

To create a new post simply type the post you wish to send. As mentioned earlier you can decide who you want to send your post to, by choosing specific circles, communities, collections, individuals or posting it publicly.  Once you’re happy with the post, click share and your post will be sent.

If you would like to mention someone in your post, all you need to do is type “+” and start writing their name and Google will find the person you are looking for i.e. +toinfinity. You can include a hashtag just like you do on Twitter to enable users to search for a topic. If you want to include a link, video, photo, event or poll to your status, simply click on the relevant tab.

Many people use the G+ page as a blog platform, and will post articles directly into the status bar.  Every G+ post is in essence a webpage with its own URL, so it is completely acceptable to post you blog, news story or article directly as a post, rather than linking to it.  Once the post has been shared you are able to copy the link and share it through other platforms if you wish. To do this hover over the post and click on the little arrow in the top right hand corner and select “Link to post”. This is a major advantage of Google+ compared with some of the other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter where shorter posts are favoured.

Once you have posted something to G+ people have the option to +1 it,  (this is the same as liking a post on Facebook) comment or share it with their groups and followers. The option to promote a post appear at the end of the post; simply click the +1 button to like it, click the forward arrow to share it (it will then give you the option to choose who you want to share it with) or click into the comment box to leave a comment.

G+ Communities

G+ communities are similar to Facebook groups and are one of the things that we love about G+. You can join as many open communities as you like and request invites for the closed ones. You can create you own communities if you wish and invite people to join them.  One of the great things about communities is that there are different categories that you can post content to, rather than posting everything as one to the communities.  This helps users find what they are looking for quicker rather than having to scroll through hundreds of irrelevant posts to find what they are looking for.

To find communities click on the menu bar on the top left and select Communities”.  You can search for different types of communities (there are ones for virtually everything) and each community will tell you how many members it has. Once you’ve found a community you would like to join, simply click on the community and on the top right corner it will give you the option to become part of it.  Communities are great to use because they help you find a targeted audience and connect you to new people.

If you are posting on a lot of different communities, you may not necessarily want these posts to show up on your profile, as they are targeted at specific groups of people, rather than everyone.  You can choose to hide your posts from your profile in your settings.  To do this this, click on “Settings” from the menu bar on the top left of the screen and scroll down to profile then un-tick “Show your Google+ communities posts on the Posts tab of your Google+ profile”

Here is great video showing you how to use communities and how they can help you communicate with likeminded people.

 

 
Hangouts

One question we get asked a lot is “what are hangouts all about on Google+?” Think of hangouts as Google’s version of Skype.  They are a way of connecting people and bringing them together to message, chat, share documents, images and YouTube videos.  You can use hangout to chat one-on-one or with groups with up to 10 people, which is one the main benefits.

One of the great features of G+ hangouts is “Hangouts on Air” where you can broadcast live video conversations directly to the web through your YouTube channel, all for free.  Before starting a Hangout on Air make sure that your YouTube channel is linked to your G+ account. To find out more about carrying out a Hangout on Air watch this video.

This how-to video from Google, shows you the power of hangouts and how you can connect with people.

 

 
Business Pages

As well as having a Google+ personal account, you can set up a Google+ business page. A business page has all the same features as a personal account, such as communities, collections and hangouts but comes from the business as a whole not an individual user.   You must have an existing personal account, which can be linked to a business page, before a business page can be opened.

Google+ is a must have social media platform for all businesses because it works hand in hand with Google Search.  Having a Google+ business account can help your business rank more highly in search results, integrate your business with useful Google for Business services and draw in potential customers by providing significant business information directly on the search engine.  Google+ allows you to promote your posts to a wide range of people from those in your Google+ Circles to people generally searching for your business on Google. This is deal for networking and brand awareness.

The Advantages Of Using Google+ For Business

  • Google+ is seamlessly integrated with YouTube and Gmail.
  • You can target specific groups of people using circles and send them information you know they will be interested in.
  • Google+ posts have no character restrictions, so they can be as long as you need them to be.
  • You can join communities to help you find people with a common goal or interest as you and start communicating with them.
  • Hangouts allow you to chat directly with groups of as many as ten people.
  • Hangouts On Air will broadcast live video chats directly to the web through your YouTube channel.
  • Regular engagement on G+ will help your website rank on the search engine.
  • Each G+ post has its own unique URL, which mean you can share and link directly to a specific post.


If you want to improve your visibility online and want to join the world of Google+, we hope this G+ for business guide has given you a starting point. For more information on the importance of Google+ contact our digital team at hello@toinfinity.co.uk.

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