One of the most challenging things about getting started on Google+ is deciding which type of account is right for your business.
You might be wondering what the differences are between a Google+ profile, a Google+ Local business page, and a brand page. You might also need help deciding which one makes the most sense for your business.
My mother-in-law, who is a mortgage loan officer, had the same questions. She wanted to use Google+ to get a leg up on her competition in the area, but she wasn’t sure where to begin.
Once I explained all of the options to her, she became incredibly excited at the opportunity Google+ offered her business, and I hope you feel the same by the time you’re finished reading.
When getting started on Google Plus, you first need to create a Google Plus profile.
If you have an existing Gmail account, you already have a Google+ page! By signing in to plus.google.com with your Gmail address and password, you will find a blank profile page that you can begin adding your information to.
When populating your new Google+ page, make sure you focus on the following aspects of your profile:
Profile Picture: You want it to be recognizable to your audience and match your other online presences.
Tagline: Let people know who you are with your short elevator pitch.
About: Filling out the about section will ensure that your profile can easily get found in a Google search
Contact information: Don’t forget to include your contact information so your potential customers can easily reach out to you for more information
Similar to Facebook, you must create a Google+ profile to create a business page of any kind. Once you create a business page, it will be linked to your Google+ profile page for ease of operation.
How do I know if I should create a Google Plus local business page?
If your business has a physical location or you service your customers in a specific location area and you would like your business to be found through Google Maps, Google Search, Google Earth and other Google properties, then a local business page is the right page for your business.
Even your hours of operation will appear in a Google search for your business once you’ve set up a Google+ local business page.
When creating a Google+ local business page you have two options to choose from:
Storefront business: Choose this option if you have a business that your customers can visit.
Service area business: Choose this option if you serve customers at their location within a specific service area (this is the option that worked best for my mother-in-law and would work for anyone who offers services to a specific area).
This is a page specifically for your customers or potential customers to find your business. It does not require ongoing community management, but you will want to update your page if you have any changes at your business (new business hours, relocation, new services, etc.)
Get started on your Google+ local business page!
What about a Google Plus brand page, is that right for my business?
A Google Plus brand page is similar to a Facebook business page, in that your page allows you to reach out to your followers (both customers and prospects).
The difference between a Google+ brand page and a Facebook business page is, Google LOVES Google.
Why is this important?
Google (the search engine) indexes both your Google+ profile information (meaning people can easily find you) and the content in your post (meaning people can find the information in your social post through Google Search). In comparison, Google (the search engine) only indexes Facebook’s profile information, not the content of individual posts.
To sum it up, if your social content directs people back to your business properties (i.e. website, blog, email newsletters) you want to create a Google+ brand page. Even without engagement on your posts, your content will have the potential to be found through the Google search engine, which can help you get found by your next great customer.
A Google+ brand page does require community management, so it will take up more of your time than a Google+ local business page, but the SEO benefits alone will make it worth your while.
Get started on your Google+ brand page!
Do I need to choose between a Google Plus local page and a Google Plus brand page?
No. In fact, if you own a local business or offer local services and you want to drive people back to your business’s online properties, then setting up both a Google+ local business page and a Google+ brand page is your best option.
Setting up both a local business page and a brand page for your business will allow your business to not only get found though Google Maps and Google Search, but you will also improve your search rankings and get more eyes on the content you share on your new Google+ brand page.
Hopefully this has provided some of the answers you were looking for.
As for my mother-in-law, she’s now set up a Google+ page, her Google+ local business page, and is working on a brand page. The local business page alone has already brought her 3 new clients — who can argue with that?
So what are my next steps?
If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for a Google+ profile. If you need additional help, we have a step-by-step resource to help you get started.
Once you’ve filled out all your information, choose at least one of the two options for business pages.
Don’t walk away from your desk until you’ve completely fill out the information necessary. You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity for your business any longer.
By : Kristen Curtiss