As it’s from Google – and integrated with their other services like search, advertising and their old Google Places™ business listings – it has enormous potential for the future.
Here’s our guide to getting started with Google+ Local.
Step 1 – Setting up your page
First of all to get started, you need a Google+ account. You might already have Google log-in details – e.g. if you had an older Google Places™ listing. If not, visit https://plus.google.com and sign up.
To set up your Google+ Page, go to https://www.google.com/+/business/ and click ‘Create a Google+ page’.
(Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc,used with permission)
The process is very similar to setting up a Facebook Business page. Just follow the prompts on-screen.
Firstly, to create a new Local page, click on ‘Local business or place’ on the left-hand side. Next, enter your business phone number to find out if Google already has information on your business. If not, you can add it.
Finally, confirm your information, including your business name, telephone number and address, type of business and location on map.
That’s it! Your business page is created.
Step 2 – Filling in your profile
Next, you’ll be invited to create a basic profile with a photo, and to let people know about the page.
Once your page is complete, you can fill in more detail about the business, upload photos and videos, and create posts.
You’ll get a tour of the features the first time you sign in.
Step 3 – Talking to people
Google + makes it easy to invite people to follow your business page, while giving you a lot of control over who can follow your page or read your posts.
It also has extra features for getting in touch with followers:
- Hangouts, which let you video chat with a small group.
- Circles, which let you separate your followers into different groups. It makes it easy to segment your contacts and communicate with each one differently. For example, you could have one group for industry contacts, one for loyal customers and another for the general public.
Google Places™ and the future of Google+
Shortly after Google+ was launched, Google announced plans to integrate their Places™ service with it – giving businesses a one-stop shop for their Google presence.
If your business used to have a Google Places listing, you’ll notice it’s been converted into a Google+ branded page. In practice, all this means right now is a new look for that page – and you can still manage it through the old www.google.com/placesforbusiness dashboard.
(Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc,used with permission.)
You’ll also see that Google Places features user reviews and new Zagat ratings, which aren’t yet part of the Google+ offering when you sign up as per above – but doesn’t have the social features such as Hangouts and Circles.
In the short-term, if you have both types of Google+ pages, you’ll need to manage them both separately.
However, Google says the service will eventually be fully merged and all pages will have both the social features and the user reviews and ratings – so you’ll only have to manage one page.
Keep on top of future changes by checking the Google and Your Business forum at https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!forum/business.
Hints and Tips
- Do make sure your business information is accurate. Google+ lets you include contact information, opening hours and a map location.
- Don’t forget SEO – use keywords in your posts and tag your photos accurately.
- Promote your page – it’s no good having a Google+ page if nobody knows it’s there! Include the link on your website, other social media sites and anywhere else you post, like forums.
- Add different types of content to keep people interested. Google+ lets you upload photos and videos as well as text updates.
- Also use Google+ to promote your other online activities – you can link out to your website, YouTube channel, profile on Twitter and so on.
- Finally, don’t forget to keep your page up to date! Followers will soon lose interest if you don’t post regularly.
If you need even more detail click here to download Google’s own Getting Started Guide.