This post is an excerpt from The Google+ Guide: A Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Success on Google+.
As of May 2013, 26 percent of worldwide Internet users used Google+ in the past month.
Let’s look at the best ways you can effectively find and attract customers on Google+, the second most popular social network after Facebook (51 percent).
Grow Your Circles
Business pages on Google+ can follow users (and users can follow businesses) by putting them into Circles.
Circling is not a two-way street. You can add someone and they don’t have to add you back. Customers can add you to their circles, but you don’t have to add them all back.
Circles help you organize what you see and what you share.
Use the Search built into Google+ to find people interested in topics relevant to your business. Google+ uses hashtags, so searching for people using hashtagged industry keywords is a good start.
Google+ power user, author and consultant to Motorola (a Google company) Guy Kawasaki suggests circling lots of people.
“Don’t think too much. Just circle people who post interesting things and who share your sensibilities. If they are not consistently good, uncircle them. It’s no big deal to add or subtract people. There is no pressure to circle people who have circled you – this isn’t junior high school anymore.”
Over 4.6 million people have Guy in one of their circles.
“My circle strategy is to initially place people your Page follows in a general Circle,” said Lynette Young, author of Google+ for Small Business. “As they promote themselves to active contributors, move them into other circles where you can keep a closer eye on them by viewing content from ONLY that circle.”
You may wish to create a circle for your Team Members or employees, one for customers and one for followers (people following you whom you wish to follow back.) NB: don’t name your circles things like “competition” or “bad customers.” Circle names are private, but someone might see them via a screenshot, or at your location.
If you’re using a website or blog to create content, claim authorship of that content via Google+.
The benefit is that your Google+ headshot will appear next to content you write online, helping it stand out in search results. Authorship is currently connected to a person, not a business, so this is done via your personal profile. Claim authorship by verifying your email address at the page provided by Google, or by customizing a little bit of script on your website (available in that same page.)
“The most important thing in Google+ is this concept of authorship,” states Copyblogger Media’s Brian Clark. “Being able to identify through your profile the content you publish on the open web, and saying ‘this is the same author (on Google+) who did this content over on the web that was shared and well received’ is important.
“It ties into something which no one can tell if it is reality yet: Google’s ‘Author Rank.’ That’s where Google’s decision on who you are factors into the algorithm, where you have a demonstrated expertise, and you’re expressing it in content.”
In other words, if you write a lot about your industry, and your ID is tied to that content online, and the content has good links and sharing, your content will be favored in searches on that topic and elsewhere that your authorship is verified.
Clark says that it is crucial to develop subject matter authority. Don’t just share and curate any old content; share things relevant to your business. Google will notice, in theory.
According to Google+ global marketing director Marvin Chow, Google is still working on how to handle “authorship for business” and how it will be related to verified business entities. They are considering the appropriate verification methods and how to handle different levels of verification and authorship.