Introduction to Google+

Google+ (pronounced Google Plus) is a social networking service, owned and operated by Google Inc. It was launched on June 28, 2011 and now has a total of 500 million registered users, of whom 235 million are active on a monthly basis.

Google+ delivers functionality and many features similar to those of Facebook. Features in Google+ include “Posts” for posting status updates, “Circles” for sharing information with different groups of people (like Facebook Groups), “Sparks” for offering videos and articles users might like, and “Hangouts” and “Huddles” for video chatting with a friend or group of friends.

Unlike other conventional social networks, which are generally accessed through a single website, Google has described Google+ as a “social layer” consisting of not just a single site, but rather an overarching “layer” which covers many of its online properties.

Statistics:

  • Google Plus has 500 million registered users
  • 235 million are active on a monthly basis
  • 1 Million business and brand pages created in the first 6 months.

Google Plus for beginners

Google+ Pages in Search

Think of your Google+ page as your brand hub. Your page, along with your profile image and recent posts, is eligible to show on the right-hand side of google search results when relevant to a persons search. Relevant posts can also show up within search results for your page’s followers.

Why do this?

Now, when people search for your brand on Google, they can get the latest info straight from your Google+ page, on the right hand side of their search results. And when your followers search for information relevant to your brand, content you’ve shared may appear in search.

Note: Google have started to add a social filter to their search results, and activities done in Google Plus is taken into consideration. Google has a very high market share, and having good visibility in Google`s search result is a very important factor within online marketing. Brands which have made Google Plus profiles is already starting to benefit of increased visibility.

How to build a Google+ page

Get started - Create a new Page!

Google Plus Pages require a personal profile to act as the owner of a business page. But don’t worry, the owner will remain anonymous to those interacting with your Google+ page. You can also add additional managers to your page later. And as on Facebook you can be an administrator for several pages from the same personal profile.

The easiest way to sign up for Google plus is by visiting www.google.com and hit the “+You” button in the top menu bar.

You will then be redirected to the Google plus login page. Hit the “Sign Up” button or log in if you already have an account.

After making a Google plus account, you can make a new page by visiting the following page: https://plus.google.com/pages/create

In this example we will make a Page for a Band. Start by selecting the “Arts, Entertainment and Sport” Category.

Then choose the sub category “Music Band” from the drop down menu.

Fill in information about your band and click “Continue“.

You will then be redirected to your new page where you can add cover photo and profile picture.

After uploading pictures your Page is ready.

Navigation between personal account and Page

After you have made your new page, you can navigate between your personal account and your pages by hitting the small down arrow in your top right corner.

There is several ways to navigate on Google Plus. Have a look at the following video:

Add Photos to your Profile

1) Click the Profile icon on the navigation ribbon to the left.

2) Next, click the blue ‘Edit profile’ button at the top of your page—a blue banner will appear to let you know you are in ‘edit mode’. This is also how you can edit your page in the future.

3) Click the long rectangular image at the top of your page to ‘Change cover photo’. Click ‘upload’ on the left, then ‘Select a photo from your computer’. Once you have uploaded a photo, click and drag the image to position it the way you like

Create an easy memorable URL

As mentioned before when covering the other channels: When doing online marketing it is important to have a short and simple web address. The perfect web address is ”easy to guess, easy to remember, easy to share“!

While Facebook allows page owners to create vanity URLs of the structure facebook.com/YourBand, Google does not currently do the same.

By default, Google+ page URLs look like this: https://plus.google.com/103145815507039304597/posts. It seems likely that at some point Google will allow for personalized page URLs, but until they do, there is a service that can help.

At http://www.gplus.to/, you can create a custom URL like http://www.gplus.to/ArtistName which will redirect a user to your page. This link is more user-friendly and branded for your business or organization.

Optimize the About Area

1) Next fill out the “About” section. Click ‘About’ below your cover photo. Click ‘Introduction’ and add additional details about your business. Include anything that will be useful to people visiting your page. Enter ‘Contact info’ and a link to your Website if you have one.

2) Add link to all places where your band/artist is present on the web – such as your website, YouTube channel or other social media platforms. Click ‘Links, ‘Add custom link’, and enter an explanatory label (e.g. “King Arthur Flower Blog”), then

add the URL in the field below (e.g. kingarthurflour.com/blog ) and save.

3) Once your ‘About’ section is filled out completely, click ‘Done editing’ on the blue banner at the top of the page.

4) Make your page even better by adding photos and videos. Click the ‘Photos’ tab, and upload photo albums. Click the ‘Videos’ tab and upload videos. The more engaging the content on your page, the more likely you are to get followers and ultimately new customers!

Customize Your Settings

Your settings let you control who you hear from through Google+. Decide who can chat with you, who can send you notifications, and whose photo tags you automatically approve.

How to build a fan base on Google+

Connect your profile to your domain

If you’ve created a Google+ page, we strongly recommend linking from that page to your website and vice versa. Linking your Google+ page and your site like this, not only helps you build relationships with friends and followers, but also gives Google information they can use to determine the relevancy of your site, to a user query in Google Web Search. It also makes your site eligible for Google+ Direct Connect.

Link your Google+ page and your website

  1. Make sure that your site’s home page is available to appear in Google’s search results and isn’t blocked by a meta noindex tag or by your robots.txt file. (Verify by doing a site:search for your domain, like this: [site:example.com]. You can also use the Fetch As Google tool to see your page exactly as Google sees it.)
  2. Update your site’s home page by adding a link to your Google+ page, like this:
    <a href="https://plus.google.com/[yourpageID]"
     rel="publisher">Find us on Google+</a>

    To find your page URL, open your page and copy the web address from the browser address bar.

    It’s best to add the link to your most significant page. Usually but not always this is your home page; for example, if you’ve created a page for a product, you can add the link to the product description page.

  3. Link to your website from your Google+ page’s profile.To edit your page profile:
    1. Make sure you’re on the Google+ page you’d like to edit.
    2. Click the profile icon .
    3. Click Edit Profile.
    4. Click Website. You’ll know it’s editable when the color of the section changes to blue.
    5. Type your homepage URL. This should match exactly the URL of the page to which you added your Google+ page link in step 1.
    6. Click Save.
  4. (Optional) Verify your business or brand with Google.
  5. Use the rich snippets testing tool to check your markup and make sure that Google can extract your page information from your content. This tool will display the markup found on a specific web page, as well as a preview of how that page might appear in Google search results. Learn more.

Start posting updates

1) Click posts or the ‘Home’ icon at the top of the navigation panel. Click ‘Share what’s new…’ and start typing your post.

2) Add a picture, video or link by clicking the icons on the right of the share box.

3) Make sure to share your post publicly so everyone can see it.

4) Use tools like Hootsuite to schedule future post. This will help you plan and save time.

Stand out in the crowd.

Share publicly

Posting fresh, public content regularly gives people more opportunities to interact when they want to engage with you. The more your followers engage with your posts, the stronger and wider your following will become.

Post beautiful content

People love visual media. That’s why Google+ makes it easy to add images and videos to your posts in a big, beautiful way. We aren’t talking tiny thumbnails, your followers will see your photos and videos easily, even on smartphones. So don’t hesitate to drag and drop images and videos for easy sharing and greater engagement.

Respond to posts

The best way to get your followers to engage with you? Engage with them, too! Think of your Google+ posts as a dialogue, not a monologue. Be sure to respond to followers’ comments, follow them back, and reshare relevant posts.

Tag / mention people and brands

If you want to grab someone’s attention when you share in Google+, try mentioning them using the ‘+’ or ‘@’ signs. When you do this, the person may receive a notification that you mentioned them in a post (depending on their notification settings.) They’ll also be able to see the entirety of the post, on which they were mentioned, even if the post wasn’t originally shared with them.

Note: You won’t be able to mention someone in a comment, if the original poster locks the post.

To mention someone in a post or comment:

  1. Type +[person’s name] or @[person’s name]. (You can also type their email address instead of their name.)
  2. As you type, an autocomplete list of people will appear.
  3. Select the person you want to mention.
Note: You can only mention people who are on Google+. But you can share with people who aren’t members yet by entering their email after the ‘+’ or ‘@’ signs.

Promote your Google+ Page on your website

Do you want to convert your website traffic to followers and increase brand engagement across Google? Add the free Google+ badge or the +1 button to your site so visitors can +1 or share your content, and follow your Google+ page right from your site. People trust recommendations from people they know, and adding the +1 button to your site makes it easy for visitors to show their support and share what they like about your content.

Why use the Google+ badge?

One of the easiest ways to promote your page is to add the badge to your website so visitors can engage with you on your Google+ page. How well does it work? Top publishers have seen an average follower increase of 38 percent after adding the Google+ badge to their sites.

How to add the badge to your site

You can add the Google+ badge to any of your pages simply by adding a short snippet of code to the page’s HTML. Visit the Google+ badge configuration tool to customize your badge size and generate the code snippet to add to your page.

Why use the +1 button?

Encouraging others to share your Google+ and site content expands your reach. Drive greater engagement with your company and your content, by letting people see recommendations from friends and colleagues.

How to add the +1 button to your site

Just place a short snippet of code to your site’s HTML where you want to display the button. Visit Google`s +1 tool to customize your button size and and generate the code snippet.

Upload images / increase visibility in Google`s image search

Pictures posted on Google Plus gets a very good visibility in Google`s search engine for images. By posting pictures linking back to your page you will get more traffic. Use the picture information caption field to post link back to page. Remember to use “www” to make the link click-able.

Connect face-to-face with Google+ Hangouts

From customer appreciation events to feedback sessions, distributed team gatherings to concerts, Hangouts make it easy to reach out and talk with people around the world. With one click, you can set up video conversations with customers and colleagues alike — all over high-quality, easy-to-use video chat. You can make the conversation even bigger by hosting a Hangout on Air, allowing you to live-stream and record your Hangout so the whole world can watch.

Start a video chat with up to 9 people with Hangouts on Google+.

Click the Hangouts icon Start a hangout button on the right and invite your friends on Google+ to video chat with you.

Hangouts On Air

Hangouts On Air lets you:

  • Broadcast a hangout: Invite circles or individual people to join you in a hangout, then broadcast it to the world. A live player of your hangout will be posted to your Google+ Home page and YouTube channel.
  • Edit and share the recorded hangout: Your hangout will be recorded as a public video and will be available on your Home page once your hangout has ended. You’ll also be able to edit the recording when the hangout is over. If you edit your video, your post (including the video URL) will automatically be updated to show the edited version.

Watch the video below to learn more:

How do I get started?

To get started simply:

  1. Go to hangouts.google.com.
  2. Give your hangout a name and invite the people you want to join you in the hangout.
  3. Select the option to Enable Hangouts On Air.
  4. Once everyone’s in the hangout and you’re ready to go live, click Start broadcast at the top of the screen.

Once you click Start broadcast, you’re officially “On Air” and the public will be able to watch your live hangout.

Watch the video below to learn more:

Read more about Hangouts

Search for your brand on Google+

Search on Google+ can help you as much as it helps your customers. Search keywords, names, or anything else, and use your search results to better understand what people are saying about your brand. Reward superfans with rebate coupons or even jump in to help resolve customer service issues. It’s like listening in on a conversation that’s all about you!

Save your searches

Search Google+ for mentions of your brand and industry-related keywords. Save your searches and they will appear on your left sidebar for quick reference. Monitor your saved searches daily and respond to mentions, comment on threads and reshare people’s posts.

Even if you have nothing to say, a +1 lets them know that you’re paying attention, as a great social brand should be.

Create events and invite others

Events are a relatively new addition to Google+. To create an event, click the Events tab on the left menu of your G+ page. Then press the red Create Event button at the top.

Cycle through pre-selected themes at the top to choose one that matches your event.

Enter a title and time for your art event. An end time can also be entered here.

Choose the place: Enter the location of your event. A popup appears with a listing of places. Select the one which matches where yours will be. Clicking on this link will reveal Wikipedia info. about the location, along with a map from Google maps.

Details: Attach additional helpful details about the event.

Invite people: Invite them individually by name, by circles, or by email address.

Event Options: Check whether you want guests to invite others, and if they can add photos. Click the Advanced link here to find options for Google+ Hangout  and event on air. Click Show Additional Fields to display fields on your event invite for website URL, Youtube URL, and more.

The G+ Events feature is a very robust application, and used properly will be an asset to you art promotion efforts.