Your Brand and Google Plus

It was just a matter of time before Google finally took a a good stab at social media (buzz and wave were not anywhere close). Google Plus will probably be full of the technically savvy in the beginning and the majority of people will continue to connect via Facebook. Since Google rules the search engines (still #1), it may well be in your interest to setup a home on Google Plus. Here are 9 ways you can market using Google Plus. Keep in mind that Google Plus profiles do NOT yet exist for brands and businesses (and they have kicked a few out for trying). They are adding this soon, but for now, you, as an individual, can jump in and utilize the heck out it.

1. Setup a strong profile. Your entire Google Plus experience starts with the profile. Just like on Facebook, your profile is key, so spend some time building it correctly. Start with a good headshot. And, if you think the advice is commonplace, just look at some of the pictures on Google Plus now. When you show up in people’s steams, all they will see is a thumbnail. So, choose something where you really stand out. Craft your introduction well. Make it so that people would want to add you to their circles. And, Google Plus allows for live links in the introduction itself, so make the most of it. Add links to your website, blog, LinkedIn profile, etc.

2. Add relevant and remarkable images. The speculation is that Google will index the pictures you share (unless you’ve kept them private). So, use images you want found in the search engines. If you are a speaker, add pictures of you speaking. An author? Add pictures of you at your book signing. The idea is to convey the right brand image.

3. Make sure your profile is OPEN to search. This is key, since Google reigns supreme in the search world, the chances are that your profiles will be indexed VERY quickly. When you hit edit profile, the very last item on your profile is “Search Visibility.” Make sure you have checked the box that says “Help others find my profile in Search Results.”

4. Optimize the links to the right of the profile using keywords. Again, a great SEO feature. What are the chances that Google will value these links highly? Pretty good, I’d say. If only to encourage people to use Google plus. On the right hand side of your profile, you can add links and the text that goes with it. Make sure you use the RIGHT keywords to connect to your website.

5. Use “Circles” to communicate with clients, prospects, media, etc. This is perhaps the greatest Google+ selling point. Most people’s lives have layers – professional, personal, acquaintances, etc. Google Circles allow you to make the most of the layers. For example, you can create a circle for prospective clients. And, then cater specifically to them with industry news, a solid case study, etc. (Tip: While Google will inform a person that you have added them to a circle, it won’t tell them which circle.)

6. Use +, Comments, and Share to boost relationships. At the heart of all good social media marketing and networking lies the power of relationships. As you interact with others, show support for their ideas. The +1 on Google is akin to “Like” on Facebook. You can also +1 and comment when you see fit, and you can also SHARE within your own stream. Add the +1 to your blog / website as well.

7. Hangout with your team. Google Plus is a hot bed for market research right now. People are a LOT more engaged there right now because it is a new playground. It reminds me of Twitter in the early days. Google hangouts incorporates video chat with circles. Want to invite your team for a quick Monday morning meeting from your cabana at the beach?

8. Get a custom URL to share your Google Plus profile. Just like the early days of all social networks, there will be a huge rise initially as people try to fill up their circles. And, as time goes on, this will slow. Make it easy for people to follow you, get a custom URL. You can do so at http://www.gplus.to.

9. Google Plus goes mobile. Whether you are an Android junkie or one of the Apple-head iPhone fiends, Google Plus has an app for you. For Blackberry, Windows Mobile or Nokia/Symbian users you can utilize the Google Plus Mobile.

BTW: Find me on Google Plus at http://www.gplus.to/Swodeck and connect.

NOTE: Right now Google+ is in BETA and you can only get in if you have a public google profiles account or gmail. 

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