Google recently released access to their Google+ Page system and this post will document my experience with it, offering up tips as I go along.
The Create a Google+ Page page can be found at https://plus.google.com/u/0/pages/create but there was a notice that appeared when I went to Google+ telling me about the new Google+ Page feature. There are 5 choices, but for companies there are really 3 choices – Local business, Company/Institution/Organization, or brand/product pages. The Local business Google+ Page asks you for a phone number and the other choices do not, so this differentiates the local business page from all the others (otherwise if you look at the company pages vs arts/entertainment pages they are almost the same – just different categories). But it looks as if they are encouraging businesses to create more than one page, thus revealing a tacit strategy by Google to get users to create more content – any given business could have at 3 pages (local,company,product/service). There isn’t any sub-categories, which I think Google had an opportunity here, but they wanted it to be simple and easy to sign-up I suppose.
Next the Google+ page is created and you can make a Tagline which is the title of your page (make it catchy and include 2-3 keywords here). You can also add a profile photo which could be a way to attract people as well – if your page doesn’t normally have photos you could include something like a funny picture or even a marketing slogan to call attention to your page. The last page is the share page and that’s it, you are finished creating a new Google+ Page.
Now the interesting part comes in because you can post as your page. Your posts, comments, and notifications will be from the page you just created and you can change your post author / location by clicking on the box that now appears under your name on the left hand side at the top of the sidebar. It will tell you how many pages you have, so click on this and a drop-down menu appears with your pages.
It is really easy to manage multiple pages this way and they did a great job building it into the user experience without crowding things or confusing people. Your page also has its own separate circles and Google creates some for you to start with such as Customers, VIPs, and Team Members.
Another great feature is a great opportunity for small and medium sized businesses is the Hangout feature. Tell your customers to come hang out with you! You could set up certain times during the day or during business hours to have a video chat with a potential customer. If you can’t sell them on the fact you are legitimate, good local business with a video chat you need to at some of the other Ps in your marketing mix and a Google+ Page won’t save you.
You can do more Google+ Page Optimization by going to your profile page after switching to the newly created Page’s profile. Fill in the introduction with some key text and keywords to keep them on the page more than a half second. On the right hand side you get recommended links, so put any other links to important pages you’d like to highlight, there didn’t seem to be any restrictions on this so add as many as you’d like to internal pages on your website (or your other Google+ Pages). The links will appears in the Recommended Links section on your About page. The links appear to be do-follow, public links so use them to your advantage if Google gives you the opportunity. They will still be less valuable than a post that gets 10 +1s, for example so while they may help a little, don’t expect a huge benefit from these (or any) easy to get links.
Don’t forget to +1 your new Google+ Page from your profile (if appropriate) and let some people know about it by posting to the appropriate Google+ Circle. If you are really ambitious you can try to add some links to your Google+ Page – from your website or from another website or another Google property. Start posting about the specific Google+ Page content you created and using Google+ to promote your business, products or services, and organizations.