Over the past two weeks, one might notice that I haven’t been as active on Google+1. For me, this really bums me out because I absolutely love being involved in the social networking aspect of my life. In fact, I love reading and sharing the little nuggets of content I find throughout the web because I know that it’s helping someone else out in the end.
Nevertheless, my absence is definitely a good thing considering I have been consulting small business owners in Phoenix on how to use Google+. The small number of individuals that I consult know they have to be on the network but can’t figure out why. But as I peel back the curtain of what the network can do for them, they see more reason to include the network into their marketing strategy.
With time and education, I can only be optimistic that they will see an increase in traffic to their website and hope their phones start ringing!
Today I want to start my Frequently Asked Google Plus Question series as these are real queries that have come from my clients over the course of last two weeks. As I continue to consult with small businesses, I will make hard-earned efforts to note their questions and answer them here in this blog.
For those who are already on Google Plus and reading this blog, you can compare notes with me and even assist in the comment section below. I welcome enhanced answers that can help anyone trying to wrap their mind around the network.
Step 1: Start With a Google Plus Profile
Before setting up a Google Plus Page for business, you will need to create some type of personalized Profile in order to manage a Page. This isn’t a foreign concept if you’re using Facebook for the same purposes. However, there seems to be some confusion over which entity is being used at the time of networking. For instance: if you’re a lone wolf entrepreneur, you have probably been using the same head shot for each one of your profiles/pages. As much as you might think the rest of the world will love seeing your dazzling face on each of of these social networking pages, you can definitely create confusion when your customers are searching you out.
To alleviate any problems, I recommend that your PROFILE photo is of a head shot that shows your entire face. This means your head shot should:
- NOT have your hair covering half your face.
- NOT be artistic in nature. In other words, sideways head shots or cat ears super imposed on your head will not work.
- NOT be blurry by any means.
If you are a small business owner and looking to create content on your website, likely you will want to have Google Authorship tied to any blog post that you are producing. Therefore, if someone chooses to click on your article from Google’s SERP, they will see your fancy head shot appended next to the blog post that you have created. As I have mentioned in the past, you will want to build up your authority through your website when you write about your expertise. So, make sure you have a head shot that you want the world to see and believe when you’re socializing on Google Plus.
Lastly, if you don’t have a clean head shot on your PROFILE page, you could run into issues with your picture not showing up in the SERP. You’ll then run into an issue where you’re going to have to search for the reason why your image won’t show up. The process could take a few days to a few weeks if you don’t have a nice head shot. So please heed this warning.
Step 2: Utilize a Company Logo For Branding and Differentiation
While many brand marketers will tell you that you need to show some form of consistency all across the board, I’m telling you it shouldn’t be the case when it comes to your company’s Page. In fact, your company is exactly what it should be: a company. What I mean is that you should have a company logo associated with your Google Plus page to show that you are some form of entity. Choosing to use the same head shot that is pulled from your profile can prove to be confusing for the user who is viewing your information. So, I recommend that all Pages have a company logo as their main Page picture.
Not only does it look cleaner but it:
- Eliminates confusion.
- Creates further professional image.
Differentiating a Google Plus Profile and Page
When using Google products, you are always prompted to log in using your primary Gmail address. Naturally, the same goes for Google Plus. Just know that you will never need to use an alternate email address to log onto a Google Plus Page. All of your brand pages are managed through your Profile:
Selecting a Page From Your Profile
From your back end profile picture, you can click on it and select the pages that you manage. Once you click on the Page you want to manage, another window will populate next to your current Profile tab. This process is very similar to how you manage your pages on Facebook:
Differentiating By Your Page’s “Front End”
Once you select a Page’s “profile”, you will be taken to your main Page’s “front end”.2 For the sake of this example, you will notice the brand logo is in the place where my Profile photo was located. This is one way you can differentiate your Profile from your Page. Another way to differentiate your Page is by creating a cover photo that identifies your brand’s name, logo, and contact information. In fact, this is the biggest billboard you could possibly have on the internet, so make good use of this space.
One thing to note when creating your cover photo is that you don’t have limitations as to how much text is within the image. Remember, this isn’t Facebook, so you are free to make your cover photo image as stunning as possible with any amount of text.
Side Note: Optimize Your Google Plus Cover Photo SEO (MORE JUICE!)
Once you have created a stunning cover photo for your Page, consider going in and optimizing the photo for a little extra SEO juice. Check out this video by Stephan Hovnanian:
Differentiating By Your Page’s “Back End”
One way to tell if you are using a Profile or Page is by clicking the Home menu inside of the network and noticing that you have a “Dashboard” option:
When you click on the “Dashboard” you will be taken to an administration page that allows you to view insights to your page as well as any insights from your website if you have tied your Google Plus Business Page. Other cool features include:
- Google Analytics data.
- Company YouTube analytics.
- Requests for directions to your location (only available if you have verified your brick and mortar business location).
- Other Google Plus users who can manage the page.
- How many +1s you have received up to this point.
- Your follower count.
- Tools for your website that include badges and code to insert for mobile recommendations.3
When setting up your Profile and Page, you should make a conscious effort to differentiate each profile/page with the appropriate images. Remember to have a great head shot of yourself on your Profile so that it can show up in search results when you link Google Authorship to your business website.
Include an eye-catching cover photo for your Page and make sure to include the company logo as your “profile/page” photo. This way you will know which profiles you are managing. Also, play around with the back end toys. The analytics alone are reason for you to make attempts to see the numbers grow in your Page and website.
If you are already using a Page, what are some of the other ways you are differentiating a profile from a page?
- Only if you’re involved on Google Plus [↩]
- A new web browser tab should open up when you select your Page. [↩]
- This is something I highly recommend business owners implement in order to have more eyes view your content. Should you implement this, it’s recommended you talk with your webmaster on how to set this up. [↩]