Getting Started with Google Plus
Get started with Google Plus by visiting plus.google.com, and sign in using your Gmail address or another email address. You need to create a personal profile page, which can be full of rich detail, so include links to your business, your business URL, your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and everything else.
When someone considers following you, this is the detail they'll see so it is vital that you provide it to establish your bona fides. You can add images to your profile -- you get space for one profile picture and either a larger photo or five smaller photos. It's important to showcase your brand by making use of this feature.
Once you have a personal profile, you can add a business page by clicking Pages on your home screen and add a page. You can add other owners and managers to your page to give them access for posting and working on the site. Unlike personal pages, posts on business pages will be sent only to those people who actually follow that business page.
Tips for Using Google Plus
When you start out, be selective about who you follow on Google Plus, and only follow people who really interest you or are relevant to you and your business. Organize people into Circles so that you can post to those groups when appropriate.
When interacting with people, use +mentions as a way of crediting people with comments and ideas. Write comments that show you're interested in what people say and do -- and always reply to someone who comments on your posts to help develop the conversation and to build relationships.
While it is still in its infancy – it went public in September 2011– Google Plus offers a lot of potential for your business. It is a tool you can use to expand your network and add value to the relationships you have with your customers. Its close ties with Google Search mean you really can't afford to ignore it, especially if you already get a significant amount of traffic via search.
Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site, HelenBradley.com
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