WonderHowTo welcomes guest contributor, +Ryan Crowe - formerly the man behind GPlusTips. Crowe will be providing tips and tricks on how to use Google+ in interesting and innovative ways, and the self-proclaimed Google+ User Experience Enthusiast is nearly ready to launch a website examining social interaction on Google+ called SocioloG+.
For a long time now, I've had business owners, recruiters, HR department reps, and heads of marketing departments asking me to write a series of tips for businesses who are currently working to prepare for an additional social network in their social media strategies. Here's the catch:
This fact has been well established and well documented for some time now. However, I guarantee you that there are marketing managers and CEOs who are enlisting their employees to figure out how to use this platform, so that they'll have some idea of how to utilize it for business purposes.
While some entrepreneurial spirits have waded into the G+ waters to figure it out for themselves, I have a few suggestions for those wary of getting themselves in over their heads. So, whether you are the CEO, the VP of Marketing and Advertising or just a regular ole Customer Service Representative - the following suggestions are to help you make the most out of the current business opportunities that do exist on G+.
Right now, besides IBM, Google is the most represented company on Google+.
By following some of their more active employees, you'll start to notice that not only are these Googlers well-followed, but deeply embedded in the community and culture. They not only field questions (when possible, many of them have Follower numbers well past the 20k mark), but also comment on regular users' posts and are actively involved in non-company related discussions.
This platform allows for an extraordinary chance to connect with customers/clients/potential customers/employees in a way that Twitter simply cannot match (140 characters) and that Facebook can't even begin to think about (can't reach out to individuals as a Page).
How do Google employees do this? Funny you should ask...
Yep, you guessed it, this is going to take time. So, if you own a business and you think that Google+ is going to be the next big thing: realize that you're going to have to devote some time to getting to know the current culture. Google+ is largely made up of tech-savvy males at this point, but there are people to follow no matter where your interests lie, so:
- Use sites like www.recommendedusers.com, group.as, findpeopleonplus.com or pluserati.alltop.com to find people who have similar interests to you.
- Add them to your Circles.
- Try to engage and interact with their posts.
- Once you get the feel for how a post should look, start your own conversations.
You'll start to notice the more people that you interact with, the more involved you'll be in the community.
This isn't necessarily different than the previous tip, but requires a bit of conscious effort to separate your personal life from your professional life and how you curate your public presence. You also have a chance to curate your Profile page as well.
- In your employment tab, make sure you list your company name and position; people WILL look. (From Googler, +Natalie Villalobos' profile page)
- Leverage the Links section in your profile page and provide your company's LinkedIn profile page, but also your own. Having both indicates and invites professional interaction.
This may be a way for you to generate potential leads, recruit, start industry-specific conversations, or even make personal connections for your professional network.
People like to see the person behind the company. While you're out there being yourself and having conversations, people also love to get a "sneak peek" at what's going on behind the scenes. This gives you a change to talk about and promote your company without being obnoxious about it.
Make some good judgment calls here - don't talk about how someone left dirty undergarments in the mens bathroom, which gave everyone in the office a chuckle. Rather, talk about a cool new piece of equipment you have (that is industry specific), or how you had a really inspiring motivational speaker come to the office, or share a piece of complimentary mail you received from a satisfied customer.
Yup, lost a couple of you when you got to this one, didn't I? "Work isn't supposed to be fun, kid. Now get outta here, yer botherin' me." Don't look at this as a chore. Find something that you like about Google+ and let that be your motivation to get on!
This is by no means even close to a comprehensive guide to all of the opportunities or possibilities available for businesses right now on G+. This is, at the very least, a nice starting point. Don't stop now - and don't wait for business profiles to be introduced. Get a leg up!