Early November brought many changes to small business marketing — most notably the introduction of Google + Brand pages.
These pages are incredibly important for a number of reasons. First, it has become increasingly evident that such pages will impact a site’s search engine optimization efforts. That is to say that, when users are logged in, the brands that they follow on Google + will likely show up higher in the search engine results they receive.
This allows small businesses to compete with the big guys, as they can attract and maintain a loyal following on Google + and forever alter the way their sites rank when their followers are signed into Google +.
Further, Google + Brand pages provide an important platform for deeper engagement — and small businesses need this to rise above the competition. +Hangouts allow businesses — from the companies’ creative minds to their CEOs — to hold video conferences with customers, potential customers and others. This way, Google + provides an opportunity for high- level transparency and engagement, and, when used correctly, can mean the difference between success as a small business and lackluster sales and customer appreciation in an economy that already leaves us smaller companies at a slight disadvantage.
Since many of the top brands will have Google + Brand pages (a recent report showed that a little over 60 percent already have them), small businesses would be wise to do so, not only in an effort to compete but also in an effort to solidify their own branding and provide value for their customers.
How do businesses accomplish this?
First, by getting the entire company on board: Most, if not all, employees should have active accounts, should syndicate a link to the business’s Google + page as well as any content that is produced, and generally get involved in the effort.
Further, the language you use to promote your brand on your actual Google + page should be consistent with the language you use on your Web site — which should, in turn, be consistent with the language you use across all other social media platforms.
Where should you use this language? In the “tagline” of your page, create a concise, creative and descriptive one-liner about your company (highlighting what makes your small business different from others) that will draw people in. Once you have people on your Google + page, keep them there by sharing photos and videos with them that reflect your company’s personality and core values.
All of these are extremely important steps toward maximizing the potential that Google + brand pages hold for any business, especially the smaller ones.
Despite initial lackluster usage, with the backing of a powerful company and all-powerful search engine like Google, this new social network isn’t going anywhere except up. That’s why it’s important for businesses of all sizes to get involved while it’s still growing and tag along for the ride to the top.
Jason Hennessey is chief executive of Everspark Interactive, an interactive marketing agency based in Atlanta.