Adventures in Google Plus

We’ve been working with some clients to improve their presence at Google Plus. In case you want to do this yourself, here are some of the things you’ll want to look at.

First, find all of your pages and make sure you have access to all of them. Most companies seem to have more than one page, and sometimes more that they realize. In our case, we had our longstanding company page plus the new local page Google made for us from our Places page, and we’re seeing a lot of that. We also often see multiple pages built by different people in the company at different times, each one not realizing that the other pages had been created.

Sometimes tracking down that intern from 2012 who is the only manager is a challenge. In one case, we found the person who made the page but he had deleted the Google account it was associated with. I’m happy to say that Google stepped in and helped on that one (we used the Feedback button). Sometimes you just can’t get into the page either to update it or delete it, and you just have to build your new page on the ashes of the former page and trust Google to catch on and show visitors the right page.

When you get in to manage your page, this is what you will see:

Google Plus

 

Let’s look more closely. In the top left corner you can choose whether to see the page as Yourself (so you can edit it) or as a member of the Public, so you’ll know what your visitors see. It’s easy to toggle back and forth.

 

google +

Hover over either of the images and you’ll be offered the chance to change them. Obviously, we’ve already changed ours. However, even the most cursory tour of Google Plus will show you that most business pages still have Google’s default images. You’ll want to fix that ASAP.

google plus

Make sure your images are the right size and that they are PNG files for best results. Then make sure you place them correctly. Google + is responsive, so you’ll need to set the cover image as shown below to have it show up correctly on all devices.

google plus image placement

Once your cover and profile images are set, make sure your business information is correct.

google plus local

You can make any needed changes by clicking “About.” While you’re on that page, you can set the visibility of your Circles. Click on the Circles button and you’ll get this form to fill out:

google plus circles

You can show the folks you’ve put into your circles but not the ones who’ve added you to theirs or vice versa. This page is brand new and we don’t have many followers yet. If you’re in the same position, you might want to hide that information to avoid seeming unpopular. However, you have some other options at Google Plus, which you don’t get at other social media platforms.

You can create circles that your visitors might want to know about, such as all the alternative health care providers in your community or all the experts on a given subject. This can provide added value to visitors. We also read the interesting suggestion to put a few famous people in your circles and show them, but not the people who have you in their circles. Plenty of your visitors will be unaware of the distinction and will think, “Wow! They know the Dalai Lama!” and be all impressed. We haven’t tried this, but we believe that it would work.

Click on “Posts,” to the right of “About,” and you’ll see a form for producing posts. Click on the type of post you want to create, and Google will guide you through the process.

gplus-anatomy4

Click on “Photos” and “Videos” to add some of each of these types of content. Make sure to fill up your page before you invite the world in.

Once you have a good looking page, grab Google + badges for your website. You can see ours on our Contact page. The badge maker gives you lots of options and will generate the code you need. Then you just drop it into your website’s code (you can use a widget if you have a WordPress site) and Bob’s your uncle.

While you’re in there, set up your Author and Publisher links.

Google rewards you for participation, and especially for original content. However, G+ is not like Twitter, where having an inactive page is worse than no page at all. Make your G+ Local page look good, whether you want to keep it active or not. This is what shows up in local search, so it’s very important for local businesses.

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